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Saturday May 18th 2024

Blazing Saddles | 1974

Blazing Saddles filming location: Bradbury Building, South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
Blade Runner location: Blazing Saddles location: Hedley Lamarr commands allegiance: Vasquez Rocks, southern California | Photograph: Erik Hollander

The most raucously sidesplitting Mel Brooks movie, graced with a message of anti-racism.

The climax, with Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) commanding allegiance from his assorted bad guys, is at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road, near Agua Dulce Springs, southern California. The striking formation can be seen in lots of other films, including The Flintstones, Star Trek (2009), Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, Werewolf Of London and Apache.

But the starring role in the big fight scene goes to the backlot at Warner Bros. It was the old 'Laramie Street' Western set, which you might recognise from the original 1973 film of Westworld. A downturn in the popularity in Westerns and lack of space saw the set being demolished in 2003.

You can see the rest of the lot, though, on the excellent Warner Bros VIP Studio Tour, 3400 West Riverside Drive, Burbank.

Blazing Saddles location: Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Blazing Saddles location: Hedley Lamarr gets a cab to the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Lamarr gets a cab at the studio entrance: “Drive me off this picture!”, to the fabulous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. Rebranded for several years as Mann's Theatre, the theatre reverted to its original 1927 name for a while, and is currently known as TLC Chinese Theatre. I’ll carry on calling it by the name most people know it by.

The theatre opened in 1929 with the premiere of Cecil B DeMille’s King of Kings and you’ll hardly need reminding of the 180 or so hand-, foot-, nose- and whatever-prints of the famous gracing its forecourt, the tradition begun accidentally (oh yeah), by Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford or Douglas Fairbanks Sr, according to which version of the legend you choose to believe.

You can see the theatre’s famous frontage again in Speed, and its interior in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.