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post #1 of 11 Old 12-16-2009, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

79






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. - 1970, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1993
MPAA Rating: G, PG, PG-13, R
Feature running time: 871 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50, BD-25 (Blazing saddles)
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4), VC-1 (Blazing saddles)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1, 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Mono (select titles), English/Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (select titles), English/Spanish/French Dolby Surround (select titles)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish/Mandarin/Cantonese, Portuguese/Korean (select titles)
Starring: Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder, Sid Caesar, Ron Carey, Harvey Korman, Cleavon Little, Cloris Leachman, Gregory Hines, Cary Elwes
Directed by: Mel Brooks, Alan Johnson (To be or not to be)
Music by: John Morris
Written by: Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca, Barry Levinson, Evan Chandler, J. David Shapiro, Alan Uger, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Thomas Meehan, Ronny Graham
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 15, 2009







"It's good to be the king"



Film Synopsis:

Best known as a creator of broad film farces and uproarious parodies, jack-of-all-trades Mel Brooks has been entertaining audiences for years with his wacky and absurdist humor. Now just in time for the holidays, the king of comedy's brilliant work is available for the first time in high definition in The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray Disc, debuting December 15 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Embark on a hilarious adventure over and over again as the ultimate gift set debuts with some of Brooks' best films.

Twelve Chairs: Set in Russia in 1927, this much-loved, hilarious Mel Brooks comedy classic is the tale of a former aristocrat (Ron Moody) who is now a Russian clerk under the new Soviet regime. When he learns that his dying mother-in-law sewed a fortune of family jewels into one of the twelve dining room chairs, he sets off across Russia to find itwith an opportunist (Frank Langella), a priest (Dom DeLuise) and his former
servant (Mel Brooks) all in equal pursuit.

Blazing saddles: Filmmaker, star and paddleball wiz Mel Brooks goes way out west and way out of his mind with a hilarious spoof set in an 1874 Old West where 1974 Hollywood is one soundstage away - and where good-old fun blast prejudices to the high comedy heavens. Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn and more join for horseplay and horselaughs, making the #6 choice on the American Film Institute's Top-100 Comedies.

Silent Movie: Only Mel Brooks would tell his laugh-packed tale about a silent movieas a silent moviewith one word of dialogue. Joining him in his outrageous, nonstop parade of sight gags are Marty Feldman, Dom Deluise, Sid Caesar, Harold Gould, Bernadette Peters and Ron Carey. As the ruthless conglomerate Engulf and Devour targets a floundering movie studio, has-been director Mel Funn (Brooks) convinces the paranoid studio chief (Caesar) to make a star-studded silent picture. Aided by his sidekicks (DeLuise and Feldman), the devious Funn actually manages to sign some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Paul Newman, Liza Minelli, Burt Reynolds, Anne Bancroft and James Caan. Filled with hilarious spoofs of just about everything that happens in tinseltown, Silent movie is one of Brooks' funniest, most original films.

Young Frankenstein: Mel Brooks' hilarious tribute to Mary Shelley's classic makes fun of not just the legend, but also every other Frankenstein movie! Summoned by his late grandfather's will to a castle in Transylvania, young Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) discovers a step-by-step manual on how to bring a corpse to life. With help from Igor (Marty Feldman), the hunchback who gets upset when people mispronounce his name, and sweet, curvaceous Inga (Teri Garr), Frankenstein makes a creature (Peter Boyle) with a monstrous lust for life - and love! Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars and Gene Hackman co-star in this inspired vision of lunacy.

High anxiety: In this outrageous homage to the Hitchcock thriller, Mel Brooks plays renowned Harvard psychiatrist
Dr. Richard Thorndyke, a nut-job with a paralyzing fear of heights, who's just become head of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very Very Nervous. After the jittery doc learns that his predecessor died under suspicious circumstances, he looks for help from his resentful associate (Harvey Korman) and his evil head nurse (Cloris Leachman) - who, not surprisingly, offer no help. To make matters worse, events take a murderous turn, and Thorndyke is accused of the crime. Co-starring Madeline Kahn, High anxiety is considered one of Brooks' best.

History of the world part 1: Mel Brooks gives new meaning to the term revisionist history with this laugh-filled version of the story of mankind. This far-from-accurate romp teaches the real truth behind the Roman Empire (in which Brooks plays a stand-up philosopher at Caesar's Palace), the French Revolution (where he pops up as King Louis XVI), and the Spanish Inquisition (in which monks and nuns participate in a splashy songand-
dance number). Featuring an all-star cast including Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Gregory Hines and Sid Caesar, History of the world part 1 proves that nothing, including history, is sacred.

To be or not to be: Mel Brooks lets the Nazis have it with both barrels in this hilarious remake of Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy. Brooks stars as Frederick Bronski, the great Polish actor an amazing amount of people have never heard of. Anne Bancroft co-stars as his actress wife, with whom he fights an eternal tug-of-war for center stage. He should only know about her backstage meetings with a handsome fighter pilot...But all that is put aside when the Nazis invade Poland and the entire troupe gets involved in a frenzy of murder, mistaken identities and maniacal improvising to thwart the Gestapo and save the Polish underground.
Co-starring Charles Durning as the SS colonel who stands in their way, To be or not to be will have you on your feet, yelling encore!

Spaceballs: The farce is with you in this uproarious salute to science fiction (The Hollywood Reporter) that teams comedy legend Mel Brooks with an all-star cast of cutups including John Candy, Rick Moranis and Bill Pullman. When the evil Dark Helmet (Moranis) attempts to steal all the air from planet Druidia, a determined Druish Princess (Daphne Zuniga), a clueless rogue (Pullman) and a half-man/half-dog
creature who's his own best friend (Candy) set out to stop him! But with the forces of darkness closing in on them at ludicrous speed, they'll need the help of a wise imp named Yogurt (Brooks) and the mystical power of The Schwatrz to bring peace - and merchandising rights - to the entire galaxy!

Robin hood: Men in tights: The master of comedy, Mel Brooks, pulls off another serious spoof on a classic with Robin hood: Men in tights. The all-star cast includes: Cary Elwes as the head of the merry men, Roger Rees as the evil dyslexic Sheriff of Rottingham, Richard Lewis as the seriously neurotic Prince John, Amy Yasbeck as the put-upon Maid Marian, Patrick Stewart as ultrrrra-Scottish King Richard, Tracey Ullman as a muchsought-after soothsayer named Latrine and Dave Chappelle and Isaac Hayes as hilarious characters named
Achchoo and Asneeze.



My Take:

Mel Brooks is a genius and one of the most beloved comics to grace the silver screen. There is no denying his ability to make us laugh through use of eye brown raising social commentary and cleverly composed and memorable parodies that poke fun at popular/classic films as well historical and societal issues. I grew up watching his films and prior to receiving set for review had seen all of them with the exception of Twelve chairs. Everyone has a favorite (s), for me it would be safe to say that I like them all for differing reasons. His multifaceted comedic narratives are decidedly original and my reasons for liking each varies. I like Blazing Saddles for its direct and open stabs at racism and prejudice. Some may find it offensive but its message clearly isn't meant to be, not to mention it is supremely funny. History of the world - part 1 is similarly rewarding in its take on the Romans. His ode to classic films is readily apparent in Young Frankenstein and Silent movie and his innovative spin on popular films in Spaceballs and Robin hood: Men in tights is multifarious and wonderfully over the top. He developed a stable of actors that consistently appeared in his films and the combination worked extremely well. I think it would be safe to say that he and his works have made a profound influence on American Cinema. In addition to having three of his films ranked in the Top 20 on the American Film Institute's list of the Top 100 comedy films of all-time, Brooks is also a member of a short list of creative artists with the distinction of earning multiple award categories, including an Emmy®, Oscar®, Grammy® and Tony®*. Adding to that list, it was recently announced that Brooks will be receive a Kennedy Center Honor 2009 at the 32nd annual national celebration of the arts on Dec. 29. Fans are sure to be thrilled with This 9 disc Blu-ray collection of his most popular works which also features an exclusive book created in conjunction with Mel Brooks highlighting his remarkable life and unforgettable films. Kudos to Fox for bringing this superb collection of classic Mel Brooks films to Blu-ray Disc in such an attractive and thoughtful package that makes for a perfect holiday gift for the film fan in your life.



Parental Guide:

These films vary and can contain language (some graphic), thematic material, and sexual references that are inappropriate for young audiences.




AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 74



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

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  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction:



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692
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The Mel Brooks Collection comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3.4 mbps. It should be noted that Blazing Saddles is a Warner Blu-ray release and is VC-1 encoded with an average bitrate of 24 mbps and features lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio that has a constant bitrate of 640 kbps.

These high definition presentations offer image quality that surpasses any previous home video release and has never seen these films looking better. Overall fidelity remains intact and while some look better than others the variations aren't such that it makes for a marked difference that negatively impacts the quality of the collection as a whole. In examining the quality of the source prints these are primarily in excellent condition with the exception of Twelve chairs which contains noticeable white speckles/flecks on the print however their presence is relatively minor. Grain is intact throughout and appears to be undisturbed. Rendering is occasionally inconsistent however this isn't attributable to the encoding and rarely rose to an objectionable level. I was impressed with the reproduction of fleshtones as complexions have good tonal depth, delineated highlights and lifelike texture. Color balance is excellent as both primary and secondary appear warm and natural. Colors aren't overly vibrant but are cleanly rendered with a pleasing level of saturation and depth.

Blacks appear punchy with appreciable dynamic range that makes them pop while onscreen with both light and dark elements. Resolution and clarity is estimable although sharpness can be a bit inconsistent, this especially notable in Robin hood: Men in tights, To be or not to be and High anxiety. In most instances this appears innate and rarely infringes upon the perceivable fidelity of these presentations which make it less glaring. Shadow detail isn't always definitive but depth of field and low level transitions are generally perceivable which supplements dimension. I didn't see any signs of the application of unwanted noise reduction or excessive manipulation. Images are well resolved with discernible definition and fair rendering of fine detail during close up and mid level camera pans. I noticed some low level background noise here and there but otherwise saw no obvious signs of video related artifacts. In looking at these I would have to say that History of the world - Part 1, Blazing Saddles and Silent movie offer the best image quality, which quite frankly belies their age. Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs aren't far behind, and To be or not to be, High anxiety, Twelve chairs, and Robin hood: Men in tights (in that order) follow. Regardless of any shortcomings all of these films translate well to high definition which allows fans the opportunity to see them in a whole new light.

With the exception of Blazing saddles each of the films includes a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel surround mix. I found the overall sound quality to be consistent, with the lone exception being Spaceballs which sounds appreciably different (in a good way) so I will comment on that separately. As for the other eight films the audio mix had no trouble conveying the elements present in each soundtrack. Dialogue sounded great as it had ample weight and clarity which allowed voices to have good articulation and prominence within the front soundstage. All offer a primarily front oriented presentation with most of the discrete portions of the audio being generated by the main channels with dialogue planted firmly in the center channel. The soundfield isn't the broadest and the dynamic range doesn't provide impressive sonic impact and defining sound quality however audio reproduction sounds just fine. John Morris' music has appreciable warmth and presence that is viably rich amid the other elements contained in the recordings. The surrounds are used sparingly (at best) for environmental ambience. This offered a bit more atmospheric extension while still maintaining the films front reliant presentation which is more in keeping with how it probably sounded originally.

I reviewed Spaceballs when it was previously released on Blu-ray and this is the same disc/encoding. I rated it an 84 for audio and my opinion remains the same. Here are my comments from that review :

The lossless DTS-HD MA audio presentation sounded great. I found the level audible detail to be impressive. The recording's elements have a somewhat dated quality however sounds are reproduced with defining clarity and good dynamic range. The front soundstage has excellent dimension with discernible channel separation and crisp, descriptive dialogue that is always intelligible. Surround activity is frequent and offers good front to rear balance that integrates panning sequences and provides an open aural environment. The result is a stable and fairly enveloping soundfield that allows the blend of music and sound effects to be clearly articulated. Bass response added good solidity and palpable presence that enhanced the soundtrack without sounded bloated or pumped up. I was very happy with the quality of the sound mix.

Bonus Features:


  • Twelve chairs:


  • No bonus supplements included

  • Blazing saddles:


  • Additional scenes

  • Scene specific commentary by Mel Brooks

  • Back in the saddle - Documentary

  • Intimate portrait: Madeline Kahn

  • Black Bart: 1975 pilot episode of the proposed TV series spin off

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Silent Movie:


  • Silent laughter: The Reel inspirations of Silent Movie

  • Speak up! Historical Hollywood - Trivia track

  • Young Frankenstein:


  • Commentary by Mel Brooks

  • Inside the lab: Secret formulas in the making of Young Frankenstein - Bonus view PiP feature

  • 17 Deleted scenes offered in HD or SD resolutions

  • (HD) It's Alive! - Creating a monster classic featurette

  • Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein featurette

  • (HD) Transylvanian lullaby: The music of John Morris featurette

  • The Franken-Track: A monstrous conglomeration of trivia

  • Blucher Button - press it and here the infamous whinnying of the horse

  • Outtakes - Five minutes of fun bloopers

  • Isolated music score track

  • Mexican interviews: Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder/Cloris Leachman

  • 3 TV Spots

  • Production photos

  • 5 trailers

  • High anxiety:


  • Hitchcock and Mel: Spoofing the Master of suspense

  • The Am I very very nervous? Test

    1. Dr. Thorndyke's ink blot test
    2. How anxious am I?

  • Don't get Anxious! The trivia of Hitchcock - Trivia track

  • Isolated score track

  • History of the world part 1:


  • Musical Mel: Inventing The Inquisition

  • Making History: Mel Brooks on creating the world

  • The real history of the world - Trivia track

  • Isolated score track

  • To be or not to be:


  • Brooks and Bancroft: A perfect pair

  • How serious can Mel Brooks really get?

  • Profiles of Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning

  • To be or not to be: That is the trivia! - Trivia track

  • Isolated score track

  • Spaceballs:


  • Commentary by Mel Brooks

  • Spaceballs: the documentary - 30 minutes

  • In conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan - 20 minutes

  • John Candy: Comic spirit - 10 minutes

  • Watch the movie in ludicrous speed

  • Still galleries

  • Trailers - Exhibitor trailer with Mel Brooks Intro and Theatrical trailer

  • Film flubs - 6 outtakes

  • Storyboard to film comparison

  • Robin hood: Men in tights:


  • Funny men in tights: Three generations of comedy

  • HBO Special: Robin hood: Men in tights - The legend had it coming

  • LaserDisc commentary by Mel Brooks

  • Isolated score track




Final Thoughts:

The Mel Brooks Collection is simply a must have and belongs in the library of everyone who enjoys his wonderful and multifaceted take on the comedy film genre. This nine disc set comes in a beautifully styled keep case and includes an exclusive 119 page hardcover book about Mel Brooks' extraordinary life. Fox brings these classic films to Blu-ray Disc featuring excellent high definition video quality that easily surpasses any previous home video release. Each disc contain their own bonus supplements and while not all offer in depth production material there are enough fun trivia tracks, worthwhile audio commentaries, cast interviews and behind the scenes footage to entertain fans for hours. This collection will make a superb and treasured gift for the Mel Brooks fan in your life and comes highly recommended.









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post #2 of 11 Old 12-16-2009, 01:23 PM
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How on earth can someone put a Mel Brooks collection together and not include "The Producers" ?
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-16-2009, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post

How on earth can someone put a Mel Brooks collection together and not include "The Producers" ?

That's a good point. Try as I might, I can't think of a reason why the original The Producers (1968) would have been left out. The issue becomes even more puzzling when one considers that The Twelve Chairs and History of the World Part I, both lesser works than The Producers in the opinion of most, were included.

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post #4 of 11 Old 12-16-2009, 02:50 PM
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It is an MGM release
I think we all know the state of MGM these days.
Also, since everyone knows that "The Producers" is his most classic work, it should--and will-- will get its own deluxe treatment.
one day.
like after the MGM holdings are all sold at auction.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-17-2009, 08:02 AM
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Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein (with History of the World Part 1 rounding the distant third) are the pinnacle of Brooks' talent. Everything else is pretty much meh.

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post #6 of 11 Old 12-17-2009, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gridbug View Post

Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein (with History of the World Part 1 rounding the distant third) are the pinnacle of Brooks' talent. Everything else is pretty much meh.

I agree. Young Frankenstein is a comic masterpiece, just as funny today as it was when it was released. Although Blazing Saddles is showing its age in places, it is still an iconic comedy and Madeleine Kahn's sendup of Marlene Dietrich, including the lisp and the bad singing, are still as funny as anything ever laid down on film. I liked some of Brooks' other movies, too, but none of them were in a class with his two masterpieces.

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post #7 of 11 Old 12-17-2009, 09:16 AM
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Maybe "The Producers" will include the Comedy and the Musical.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-17-2009, 10:41 AM
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Blazing Saddles will always be a classic in my book. It seems that people today still get the whole point of the movie and don't get caught up in the racial slurs. Which is something you never know in the PC environment we live in, where everyone is offended by something.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-20-2009, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I agree. Young Frankenstein is a comic masterpiece, just as funny today as it was when it was released. Although Blazing Saddles is showing its age in places, it is still an iconic comedy and Madeleine Kahn's sendup of Marlene Dietrich, including the lisp and the bad singing, are still as funny as anything ever laid down on film. I liked some of Brooks' other movies, too, but none of them were in a class with his two masterpieces.

I agree that Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstien are amongst his best films. Possilbly because as well as being acerbic sendups of each genre they are also carefully crafted homages: even going so far as to use some of the original props from the "Whale" Frankenstein films.

I do have a soft spot for "High Anxiety" and "Silent Movie" but I still think "The Producers" is his funniest film.

I hate "Space Balls" ( most of the cast are dire and the jokes are seriously lacking in the usual Brooks wit). There are far better Star Wars spoofs (Gremloids springs to mind).

"Men in Tights" is simply not worth watching in my humble opinion.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-15-2016, 07:00 PM
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With the passing of Gene Wilder, I've taken the time to watch Blazing Saddles in the theatre again. I was hoping to see a perfect digital replica of the original negative; or at least a digital replica from the best surviving film elements. What I ended up seeing has me puzzled.


I saw it yesterday at a AMC theatre in north Phoenix. The worst part of this viewing is what I think looked like a silver screen as opposed to seeing it on a matt white screen. Because of that, the whole movie looked like one hot spot with colors close to what they should be, but not fully accurate. With restorations being as incredible in many cases; I was surprised to see what ended up being a mishmash of varying image quality. Some distant scenes looked soft; while some close-ups looked sharp with surprisingly good color. On the other hand; the opening titles looked a bit pixilated in the curved areas of the letters...yet I saw what amounted to no edge enhancement that I could see.


Of course with Gene Wilder's death, and the distributor quickly getting copies to some theatres; I'm unsure of it's source. My biggest fear was the theatre simply using a Blu-ray copy; though I'm pretty sure that was not the case because the fanfare was of the modern variety then it cut to the movie, but that may not mean anything. Still; I think 2K theatrical showings (2048×1080) are different than 2K Blu-ray sources (1920x1080.)


When it comes to sources, I'm not sure of what I saw.


Would anyone here have a clue about this?


Unrelated: I also saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at a Harkins theatre today. That movie looked pretty darn fantastic. Lots of grain (just like in Blazing Saddles,) but way cleaner from what looked like a better source. Still, I don't think the resolution could have been as high if I was actually watching a film copy of that movie. Even so, this presentation was on a matt white screen, colors looked very accurate and very close to being film like. At least that digital showing of Willy Wonka was superior to Blazing Saddles.


Soon I'll be seeing "Young Frankenstein" at the theatre. This will be the one with the live introduction by Mel Brooks. I learned this was not a last minute deal like "Blazing Saddles," and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." It's been in the works for at about six months, and the passing of Gene Wilder was a coincidence. It will be great to see Gene one more time in the theatre again; though I'm hoping with more time to spare...the time will be taken to have a prime digital copy of "Young Frankenstein" distributed.
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Has anyone in this forum within this past year bought The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray? Does this boxed set now include the Blazing Saddles (40th Anniversary edition) or does it still include the original Blu-ray release of Blazing Saddles?
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