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! (Gary Reber)
Using Warner's preferred pop-up menu system, the supplements on the Blu-ray Disc™ are the same as the HD DVD and include 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 and 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 40th Anniversary edition has been remastered with the AVC codec and exhibits a noticeably sharper and more detailed image than its VC-1-encoded predecessor. Differences between the VC-1-encoded 2.35:1 Blu-ray Disc picture reviewed in Issue 114 and the HD DVD's picture reviewed in Issue 110 were negligible at worst. The picture on both formats was slightly soft and there was very little film grain, which leads to assumption that some noise reduction was performed before encoding. This new edition exhibits improvements in closeups and long shots, where the additional sharpness enhances the sense of dimensionality in the western landscapes and the City of Rock Ridge. Additional sharpness also is evident during the wild finale scene when the action spills out into Burbank Studios to invade adjoining soundstages and the Warner cafeteria. The color palette is even more vibrant than the previous editions. Primaries are strong and warmly rich in hue. At an even higher average bitrate of 24.99 Mbps (vs. the previous version's 23.93), this new edition is without question the reference standard for this classic comedy. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack has its foundation rooted in the remastered DVD release and the Dolby® Digital Plus encoding, which 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). Initially released in mono, this version is not offered on this release. The soundtrack was later remixed for Dolby Digital 5.1. for the 30th Anniversary DVD in 2004, and the same track was presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 on the initial Blu-ray release reviewed in Issue 114. Fidelity and dynamic range are still 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 DTS-HD Master Audio codec are generally only noticeable in the music (which was recorded and preserved much better than the rest of the audio, especially the Count Basie segment). The Dolby Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack was slightly less dynamic than the HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding, but both, as well as the new DTS encoding, are limited by the age of the recording. Still, the overall sonic experience is satisfying throughout. (Gary Reber)