Blazing Saddles

Featured In Issue 110, July 2006

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Single Side, Dual Layer (HD-30)
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Mel Brooks
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Dolby Digital+ 5.1
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In a hilarious assault on good taste, "Blazing Saddles" stars Cleavon Little as an unlikely sheriff and Gene Wilder as the wacko Waco Kid fighting for land in the sleepy town of Rock Ridge. Cleavon's efforts to tame the town overflows with sight gags and something to offend almost anyone! No doubt, Brooks had loads of fun creating this politically incorrect film!

Reincarnating the 30th Anniversary DVD features into this new fantastic HD DVD format with Warner's preferred menu system, the HD DVD includes a Mel Brooks commentary track that runs about half the length of the film. Also included is the 30-minute Back In The Saddle documentary featuring cast and crew interviews, the Intimate Portrait: Madeline Kahn featurette originally produced for Lifetime Television, 10 minutes of additional & deleted scenes (added to some TV airings), the Black Bart (one of the movie's original titles) TV pilot from 1975, and the theatrical trailer.

The high-definition 2.40:1 DVD picture is certainly dated, but looks quite fantastic overall. For instance, the opening shot of the town in Chapter 5 has a slightly smoother look with improved definition into the background. Color fidelity is actually quite natural and well balanced. Hues are nicely saturated with accurate fleshtones and generally deep blacks. There are some minor anomalies noticed in the source element, but nothing that is overly perceptible. Rarely does the picture have the soft, blurry problems that are noticed on the standard DVD. There are rarely any detectable VC-1 compression problems, and no obtrusive edge enhancement is apparent. (Suzanne Hodges)

Stealing the mix from the remastered DVD release, the Dolby® Digital•Plus encoding spreads dialogue across the front three screen channels, often directionalizing it with respect to the subject's on-screen location (with varying levels of effectiveness). Fidelity is limited, as should be expected from the original recording's age. Surrounds are not incorporated with much frequency or effectiveness. In general, the entire mix is reminiscent of a Dolby Surround encoding, and the benefits of the Digital•Plus advanced codec are generally only noticeable in the music (which was recorded and preserved much better than the rest of the audio). (Danny Richelieu)