‘Blazing Saddles’ used to he held up as the example of a movie that couldn’t be made today because it met every criterion for canceling it, but couldn’t be canceled. In reality, hardly anyone wanted to cancel it. It wore its politics all too obviously on the sleeve, at least for a Mel Brooks movie, and was taking shots at all the right sorts of people. And while no one would dream of making it today, the era got a huge pass for many of its films.
Even while everything from Gone With the Wind to Silence of the Lambs were getting slapped with content warnings about racism and transphobia, accompanied by mandatory lectures about cinematic wrongthink, Blazing Saddles appeared to be immune and above all that.
Just in time for its 50th anniversary, Blazing Saddles now joins the club of movies with mandatory trigger warnings and extended lectures about political incorrectness.
Max, the platform that once yanked “Gone With the Wind” from its cyber-shelves, just slapped a video trigger warning on Brooks’ vision.
Anyone who wants to watch “Blazing Saddles” must endure an introduction by TCM’s Jacqueline Stewart, who joined the company in 2019 as a host and expert on film preservation and “representation.”
The worst offenders of the past require sitting through these videos and this one runs 3 minutes and apparently ruins the plot.
You’re about to watch a movie from 1974 that many consider one of the greatest comedies of all time […] 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 explicitly portrayed here as narrow-minded, ignorant bigots. The film’s real and much more enlightened perspective is represented by the two main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.
The presumption here is that the audience is too stupid to understand any of this without having it pointed out to them. And since we’re talking about people who are offended by everything from Disney rides to 90s sitcoms, the need probably does exist. And it won’t stop them from being offended anyway.
We live in an age where classic books are rewritten and movies have mandatory trigger warnings all to appease the same crowd that claims conservatives are the humorless censors.