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Remember the days when humanity could laugh at itself? Blazing Saddles
is a film that takes us all back to a more innocent era. An era where
PC was just a couple of letters stuck together. I'll get this out of
the way first: To all of you pc commies out there... the racism in this
film is there to MAKE THE WHITE PEOPLE THE BUTT OF THE JOKES!!!! There
is not a single person of color in this film who plays a negative
character. The rednecks are what this film is really making fun of. I
think most people realize this (hence the 7.7), but there are still a
few who don't.
This is such a funny film. From the opening scene along the railroad tracks to the shot of Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little riding off into the sunset in a limo, the film provides an endless stream of laughs. Every time a person views this film, they can notice something truly hilarious that they may have missed the last time. Mel Brooks doesn't always hit the mark with his comedy, but this film was by far his best effort.
Cleavon Little and Harvey Korman give the best performances in my opinion. I think Cleavon Little stole every scene in every film I saw him in. He died way too young, and I wish he could have acted in more films. Korman's Hedley Lamar character is a real hoot. By the end of my most stressful days at work, I often find myself talking to everyone in his voice. So evil, and so calculating! He and Slim Pickens played off each other flawlessly.
Good luck catching an un-edited version of this classic anywhere but on the DVD. Forget about any kind of an effective remake, either. Not in this day and age.
Don't miss this film! 10 of 10 stars.
So sayeth the Hound.
A few years ago, Broadway producers decided to adapt a Mel Brooks
comedy and made a bundle. Could it happen again with 'Blazing Saddles?'
The movie already has four great songs; a half-dozen more of similar
caliber would make for a strong score. 'Blazing Saddles' has a
ready-made cast of over-the-top characters, strong audience
identification, and some minor problems for a theatrical production
(like blowing up the phony Rock Ridge) which are easily overcome.
But 'The Producers' was a cult film that never made it to Main Street and needed the second act of a Broadway musical to give it a place in popular culture. 'Blazing Saddles' could never open again as big as it did in 1974. In the summer of Watergate and Patty Hearst, here was one bit of madness people could enjoy. And it wasn't just random kookiness, but a film that broke barriers and courted controversy like no other major-release film of its time. No other movie had characters that were basically likable if stupid throwing around the 'N' word before. In fact, it hasn't happened since (and I doubt it would on Broadway today.) The whole notion of white people and black people living together was not new, but the approach of 'Blazing Saddles' was certainly new. In order to live together, we have to laugh together first. The only way this film was not a trailblazer was in that it blazed trails untaken by any film that came after.
Was Cleavon Little then a civil rights pioneer for the 1970s, in a way Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were the decade before? He's very good, bringing a lightness to the role that's equal parts Shaft and Bugs Bunny. Richard Pryor was one of the film's writers and Brooks' first choice for Sheriff Bart, but Pryor wouldn't have played the role in the same smooth way. Little is an amiable actor, one step ahead but never cocky about it. He makes for a sympathetic center, and he is flash in those corduroy threads.
Little didn't work much after 'Blazing Saddles,' which makes no sense. It was only the highest-grossing Western of all time, and Little was the lead actor in it. Maybe institutional racism wasn't the sole cause. After all, he had a distractingly rock-solid cast around him, particularly Harvey Korman as Attorney General Hedley Lamarr. Growing up in the '70s, it was a shock the first time I saw the unedited 'Blazing Saddles' with all the casual vulgarity spewing from the mouth of Tim Conway's slapstick buddy on the ultra G-rated 'Carol Burnett Show.' 'You will be only risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor,' he tells his gang before they ride off to pillage Rock Ridge. If only the Academy didn't penalize comedies so, that might have been true.
Madeline Kahn did get nominated for Lili Von Shtupp, and deserved her Laurel and Hardy handshake for sure. Her Baba Wawa meets Marlene Dietrich performance is a comic masterpiece, and it takes guts to wear that dead-weed lingerie in which she performs 'I'm So Tired.' Slim Pickens (Taggart), Burton Gilliam (Lyle), Dom DeLuise (Buddy), and Brooks himself as 'the Gov' all shine, and the level of comic acting remains high all the way to the smallest roles, like the guy playing Hitler ('They lose me right after the bunker scene') and the cowboy who chews gum in line ('I didn't know there was gonna be so many people!')
Gene Wilder is a little young and ironic for the bitter ex-gunslinger known as the Waco Kid, but he grows into the role well enough. Certainly he was in tune with what Brooks was doing more than Gig Young or Dan Dailey would have been (Brooks' earlier choices for the part, with Young making it all the way to the first day's shooting before it was discovered he wasn't just acting the part of a hopeless drunk.)
'Blazing Saddles' doesn't make the IMDb top 250, but it's still one of the most significant video titles because it rewards repeat viewings so well. The wholeness of the film's comic spectacle is too dense to be absorbed in one viewing, especially when you are laughing too hard. It's a cultural landmark, yes, but it's even funnier now than it was 30 years ago, one of the funniest comedies that exist today. Making it into a musical now would almost be demeaning, but I suspect it will happen anyway.
Blazing Saddles is one of the funniest movies to not only to come from Mel Brooks, but from cinema itself. Film stars Cleavon Little as a regular black laborer, but then a villain (Heldey Lamarr is perfectly played by Harvey Korman) wants to move a community out of the town Rockridge. So, he brings Cleavon in to make the people leave (the people in town are racist including the line: "The sherrif is a nig! "What'd he say?" "He said the sherrif's a near). Funny story, funny jokes (the farting sequence is ahead of it's time for 1974) and 2 breakthroughs- Madedline Kahn in a Oscar nominated performance as Von Shtupp and shines through. The other is Richard Pryor, who co-writes the script with Brooks and Andrew Bergman. Hilarious, forever. A+
Whenever I look at this film I laugh so hard that somtimes tears come to my
eyes. Brooks manages to do with this film what Young Frankenstien did to
classic horror films. The thing that really works is all the in jokes laced
throughout the film. This shows that the cast and crew were really having
fun in writing and producing this film. But the main credit should go to
the late Cleavon Little. He was perfect as Bart. He took the role when
many thought it should have gone to Richard Pryor (who was a co-writer on
the film). However, I think Pryor might have been a little too over the top
for the role. Little played it more low key and not as militant as Pryor
Also, this film was rated R when it was first released back in 1974. Today it probably would get either a P.G. or, at most, a P.G.-13 rating.
Mel Brooks found a way in 1974 to direct two of the greatest comedies of all time. And in that one year, he found a way to cram as many movie parodies, and not have any overlap, as any director can in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. What Young Frankenstein was to the 1930s horror movies Blazing Saddles was to the Westerns of the 1960s. And add in there the oppression of blacks during the same time, and you have a biting satire on the role of blacks in society, if not in 1974, at least the way it was in 1874. Cleavon Little (by the way, he's black) plays Bart, a slave laborer for Hedley Lamarr's (Harvey Korman in a GREAT performance as a scheming government employee) railroad who needs to cut through the town of Rock Ridge for completion. The townspeople won't sell their land, so Lamarr has the sheriff killed and replaced with Bart. He's not really welcomed into the town, but with help from Jim, the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) he is able to earn's the town's trust. Standard plot, and a plot that does not really matter. The humor is so scatological, from so many periods of time, that we know it's a movie, and the characters in the movie know they are in a movie. Take Slim Pickens when he cries out "What in the wide world of sports is going on here?" And the final 10 minutes of the movie is just odd in any other movie, but somehow works in Blazing Saddles. So much humor is cut out of the TV versions, so don't waste your time with it. It has to be seen with the language and "sexually suggestive" scenes to be fully appreciated.
1974 was a very good year for the team of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder;
their "Young Frankenstein" (which came out in 1974) is one of the
funniest movies ever made, and "Blazing Saddles" (same year) is almost
just behind it. It's a bit overrated (but just a bit); I know a lot of
people look on this as the funniest movie of all time, but I can't go
THAT far. But it is ONE of the funniest movies of all time, and for two
such movies by the same director, with the same star, to come out the
same year, to be on that list is quite an achievement.
The residents of Rock Ridge (all named Johnson) need a new sheriff. They get one... Bart, played by Cleavon Little, who happens to be black. It's all planned out by Hedley Lamarr (don't call him Heddy!), an employee of the governor (Mel Brooks), in a plot to run the residents out of town so he can have a railroad run through it. At first, the townsfolk aren't happy about this development, but when Bart endeavors to save them from the evil Lamarr, who's played to slimy perfection by Harvey Korman, they warm up to him. Also thrown into the mix is Wilder as "The Waco Kid", a gunslinger who's lost his knack for shooting, Alex Karras as a huge idiot named Mongo , and Madeline Khan as Lily von Schtupp, a parody of Marlene Dietrich, complete with ridiculous German accent. She stands out heads and shoulders above everybody else in this movie, I think, and her song "I'm Tired" ("I'm not a wabbit! I need some west!") is possibly the funniest song ever to appear in a film. This is no doubt the funniest part Madeline Khan has ever had (and she ALSO appeared in "Young Frankenstein"!). It's also a kick to see a pre-"Magnum PI" John Hillerman as Howard Johnson, with an ice cream shop with a sign that screams "1 Flavor"; and Slim Pickens (Taggart, another bad guy) is always a hoot.
The plot is just an excuse to make fun of westerns, racism, and movie-making in general, as demonstrated in the extremely wacky, fourth-wall breaking finale (Watch for Dom DeLuise in these scenes). None of this is really supposed to make sense or be realistic, it's just supposed to be funny, and for the most part it is. It's one of the crassest and crudest mainstream movies in history, and that's it's strength; it often plays just like a Mad movie parody. One example of this that really sticks out is the famous farting scene, which somehow manages to be one of the funniest scenes in the movie, and probably the funniest fart scene ever. But the focus is on the way blacks were treated in the post-Civil War old west, and the movie is merciless in the way it has its ignorant white characters treat the black characters, throwing the n-word around without abandon and giving them the dirty work (at one point, a character says "We can't afford to lose any horses! Send a couple of n****rs!"). The movie finds its heart in the way the initially racist townspeople of Rock Ridge become fond of their black sheriff.
Its spirit, however, is in the hilarious and crude jokes that are thrown all through. This is one funny movie, and with Mel Brooks, that's what's really important.
Mel Brooks made several very popular and memorable films in the '70s
but I doubt any was more popular than this one. Made just several years
after the morals' code had been lifted in Hollywood, it was able to
provide humor in a new and shocking way. People could fart, swear, have
old ladies use the n- word, men could punch horses in the face, make
fun of any religion, creed, race or whatever was there to make fun of
...in other words, no holds barred when it came to trying to get a
laugh. Nothing was sacred at this time in Hollywood history and few
capitalized on this as well as Brooks, especially with this film.
The film doesn't have much shock value anymore but it's still fun to watch and probably always will be, thanks to the outrageous characterizations in here.
On the negative side, especially if don't know Brooks does whatever he can to get a laugh and isn't all that political, this film might be too politically-correct with its reverse racism, bias against religion and overly crude situations.
But - a big but - there are so many funny lines in here, so many funny scenes you never forget and never fail to laugh no matter how many times you see it (the campfire scene alone has made men cry in laughter for 30 years) that you can overlook about anything in here.
In summary, a true "classic" guaranteed to entertain for many more years to come.
Howling comedy from Mel Brooks about the Old West with a script that keeps you laughing all the way through and a cast of characters right up there with the Marx Brothers. Kahn is especially tempting as a Marlene Dietrich-like performer, while director Brooks has a fine little cameo as a befuddled and distracted governor. The skits and sight gags are constant. One of the funniest films ever made!
I can only imagine the laughter in the room when Brooks and Pryor combined their heads to create this one. A Jew making fun of Jews, a Black making fun of Blacks, two Western Americans making fun of the West, movie makers making fun of the movies. The childish fart-level humor and utter cornball gags keep you rolling of the floor unable to breathe. This movie doesn't pretend to be anything more than cornball humor, but it's the all-time best at that. Let's not pretend to be intelligent adults, let's just watch this gem and laugh our heads off like the kids we are inside. Downsides are the overuse of swear words, which were funny in the early 70's because of their shock value during those censored times, but today are just annoying and unnecessary. Another annoying scene is the sexual perversion when Hedley makes love to the statue, though it's funny that the creep gets horny over the thought of money, it creeps me out. But the strength of the movie is its originality for its day, long before the Zuckors. The jokes come so fast and so unexpectedly that you can watch this movie many times before you catch them all.
No doubt pseudo-intellectuals ( Ie People who only think they`re clever )
will claim that BLAZING SADDLES deconstructs the traditional western by
pointing out how fundamentally racist the genre is . I`ve no idea how much
truth there is in that because I was too busy laughing at what was happening
on screen . Yeah the N word figures a lot but let`s not forget one of the
screenwriters is a famous black stand up comedian and that everyone be they
black , white or Jewish are targets for the outrageous events in this movie
so I fail to see what`s racist about it . It is of course politically
incorrect but hands up anyone who`s seen a politically correct comedy that
made them laugh ?
I won`t bother to go into any detail as to how funny BLAZING SADDLES is except to say I remember seeing it years ago and watched it again at the weekend . Unlike a great number of movies I have fond memories of this is one film that didn`t disappoint me after a long absence
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