Blazing Saddles is currently streaming on HBO Max, along with a new introduction that automatically plays before the Mel Brooks classic begins.
It is unclear exactly when the intro was added to the 1974 comedy classic starring the late Cleavon Little and the late Gene Wilder, but it was sometime after the film premiered on the streaming service in July.
“The intro was added to ensure that the film was put into the proper social context,” an HBO Max spokeswoman told The Hollywood Reporter.
The situation is similar to that of Gone with the Wind, which was pulled from HBO Max not long after the streaming service was introduced due to outcry over its outdated and racist story and themes. The 1939 war classic returned in June with additional context and a disclaimer attached.
TCM host and University of Chicago cinema and media studies professor Jacqueline Stewart provides the intro to Blazing Saddles. She also did the intro for Gone With the Wind.
A little more than three-minutes long, Stewart’s intro puts the bigotry and racist language in context, the host saying, “as the storyline implies the issue of race is front and center in Blazing Saddles. And racist language and attitudes pervade the film. But those attitudes are espoused by characters who are portrayed here as explicitly small-minded, ignorant bigots. The real, and much more enlightened perspective, is provided by the main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.”
Stewart also shares some behind the scenes tidbits about the film, such as Richard Pryor was under consideration for the lead role, but Warner Bros. refused due to his substance abuse issues and controversial stand-up routines. However, he is still a credited screenwriter.