Blazing Saddles Reviews
Let's take a look at some of the bits in this film. First, the bad guys want to discredit the sheriff, so they employ a prostitute to seduce him. She does, but because black men have large penises, she is grateful for their night of love-making and doesn't threaten his honor. Second, the sheriff outwits the bad guys by dressing up as a bellboy, who goes unnoticed because black people are meant to be in servile roles.
There's no doubt that there's a lot of satire here, but the film nonetheless commerces in racial stereotypes in ways that I find uncomfortable. Rather than finding the film funny, I found its social critique pedestrian, and while making fun of racism is good, repeating racial stereotypes can be dangerous even under the glass of satire. Perhaps if I had seen this film when it was first released, I would have found it valuable, but now I find it difficult to recommend.
Overall, with uncomfortable racial politics, i don't think this film hits the mark.
"Blazing Saddles" nods to the zany comedy of the Marx Brothers and the slapstick parody of The Three Stooges,but owes a great deal to the deranged, parodic, reference-obsessed humor of MAD magazine,Brooks's film takes on that tradition-sight gags where Klansmen and Nazis wait in line to join an 1870's lynch mob, oxen with YES or NO painted on them, verbal references to other movies ("You'd do it for Randolph Scott!")-and puts it into the cinema for the first time. In doing so, not only it did spoof on Randolph Scott,but it spoof other Western greats like Gary Cooper and John Wayne,not to even mention it spoof Clint Eastwood and James Stewart. "Blazing Saddles" influnced the Zucker Brothers, the Wayans ,and other imitators,and hence invented a genre that still holds up today. The film was an extended riff of Gary Cooper's "High Noon",but its genius lies in being more than just a parody,"Blazing Saddles" adds additional layers to the comedic plot,most notable of which is the twist that the new sheriff is black played by Cleavon Little(whose career peaked with this film)who beat out Richard Pryor for the role of Sheriff Bart,and who is supported by an almost restrained Gene Wilder(whose career took off after this movie,and won the starring role in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein"). "Blazing Saddles" had a hilarious cast ensemble that included comedy greats Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Dom DeLuise, and former NFL-great Alex Karras not to mention putting in actors that were known for starring in various Westerns like Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor,David Huddleston, Claude Starr Ennis, Jr., and Jack Elam. And has a cameo appearance by Count Basie. The movie upon its general release is laced with the usuge of racial words,not to mention vulgar sexual references throughout(the scene where Cleavon Little's sheriff Bart tells Madeline Kahn, "Excuse me while I pull this out!" is hilarious as it gets)not to mention the film's scene of cowboys eating beans around the campfire is the funniest ever. The phenomenal success of "Blazing Saddles" started a revolution in what was to be comedy,and set the tone for what was to come. That success almost produced a sequel which Warner Brothers was set to do two years after its release,but it did not come true. However, Mel Brooks went on to do "High Anxiety", "Silent Movie", the hilariously funny as hell "History of the World: Part 1",and his spoof on Star Wars "Spaceballs"........
After its general release, "Blazing Saddles" became a HUGE cult following as it became part of special midnight showings throughout the country for late show viewing,and to this day it still continues to be seen in theatres as part of that(it is second to 1975's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" as the longest running theatrical showing of a film in existence).
From the local ad: "The movie Clint Eastwood and John Wayne REFUSED to make!"
It's a send up of westerns, and a vulgar, race based satire that, to this day, still has the power to shock and raise eyebrows. The plot follows the exploits of the first black sheriff of a stunned western town set to be demolished by an encroaching railroad.
It's raw, crude, and quite hilarious. It is also highly unconventional, and earns tons of points for being ballsy and being the sort of thing that couldn't be made today, at least not without some major (and unfortunate) changes.
All in all, a must see film that is big on laughs, has a lot of brains, and gets in some good satire and subtext.
I got this on Blu-Ray for a bargain and it looks the bloody same as DVD!! Anyway it is still a funny flick to watch and honestly, it is very childish at times in humor, it's probably why I enjoyed it more as a kid however, there are scenes where I just keep rewinding to laugh at cause I don't want to stop laughing... cause its good for my abs.
I love these "'Mel Brooks' flicks, they are tremendous in entertainment and
the fun is consistent. I like westerns and I like comedy so its a pretty gun-blazing fusion for me with laughing and looting, horses and humor and only now I noticed the suggestive themes that, believe it or not, I missed as a youngster, anyhow, I finally got it.
It's still got it! Not as funny as I remembered but it will leave you gutted from laughing the first time you experience a ride on one of these Blazing Saddles!
i love gene wilder and this is a good movie to watch!
And of course, perhaps his most well known film (though sometimes tied with the aforementioned Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs), which pulled off quite a few feats.
The plot? Well... a black man becomes sheriff of a town. Yep, simple as that. Well, OK, there is a little more to it but hey, it's a spoof on the western. That right there is pretty much all you need to know.
Said black man is Bart, played by Cleavon Little and, to quote the movie, is so talented. The character is clever, bold, gentlemanly to a point and noble, again, to a point. He and The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder, who shares an actor/director relationship with Mel Brooks on par with that of Depp and Burton) make a great combination, two good natured gentlemen just trying to keep the peace.
And who is disrupting that peace? Glad you asked! And if you didn't ask well... I'm still telling you. That would be our lead villain, Hedy Lamarr (that's HEDLEY!) played by Harvey Korman.
At this point, I would like to express that Hedy (HEDLEY!) is one of my absolute favourite screen villains of all time. Utterly charismatic, highly intelligent, complex and, just like the thespian portraying him, a great actor, able to convince most people of just about anything. Though I wonder if that's all him or just in part due to Korman's incredible talent and wonderful voice.
One of the more unusual moments involves what is often known as a "pet the dog" moment (though doesn't quite qualify since that's usually reserved for anti-heroes or gruff protagonists. Gran Torino's lead is a better example) which involves Hedy (HEDLEY, damnit!) in the bath. After divulging yet another evil scheme, he suddenly looks concerned. Why? He's wondering where his "fwoggy" is. After shouting at his hapless evil minion to find it, he's happy again and even says "Daddy loves Fwoggy. Does Fwoggy love Daddy?" to which he squeaks the frog and then looks content. Bizarre? Yes. Out of place? Not so much in a spoof but still odd. Kind of sweet? You bet.
One other aspect that makes him a villain to watch intently is that he has hints of being genre savvy and he breaks the fourth wall quite a bit (like when he's pondering about how he's going to find a new sheriff for Rock Ridge and then wonders why he's asking us, the audience) and this makes for some outrageous laughs towards the end (more on that later), especially with his line to the gang of villains he enlists in one last attempt to claim Rock Ridge as his own about how while they're risking his lives, he's risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Now, if he had won that, not only would that have been well deserved but immensely funny too.
When it comes to a spoof/parody, the most important thing a person needs to know is if it's funny or not. To me, this is how a spoof should conduct itself (or failing that, they should follow almost anything involving the Zuckers, Leslie Neilson or some of Brooks' other work). Besides breaking the fourth wall and spouting anachronisms, mostly dealing with pop culture and technology, there are clever ideas, lampshade hanging on cliches (Hedy, *hears from offscreen again "That's HEDLEY!"* has disdain for "cutting off at the pass") and yes, even a farting scene. I must point out, that's the weak spot of the film for me. OK, beans cause gas. We get it, please move on. Supposedly, it's the first major film to include flatulence.
Scenes I do enjoy include Bart's way of handing Mongo (Alex Karras) Looney Tunes style (complete with music from said franchise); the aforementioned Mongo punching out a horse; the townspeople discovering the new sheriff is black; and one of the greatest things ever, Bart getting away from that hostile crowd by holding HIMSELF hostage!
Here's an excerpt from when he's pretending to be the hostage: "Oh, Lawdy-Lawd, he's desp'at! Do what he say, do what he saaaayyyy... do what he saaaayyyy..." putting on a gruffer voice when he's the madman taking himself hostage.
Without giving too many specifics of the ending, it's just mad! The characters from the movie break out onto another set, start a fight there and continue their brawling all around the movie lot and then Hedy (HEDLEY! *Cocks gun*)... whoa, take it easy! Anyway, Hedley (happy now? Put the gun down!) actually walks into a movie theatre and sits down to watch this film! Anyone thinking that's familiar will probably know that from a later Mel Brooks work, Spaceballs.
Also, I want to mention that the theme song is just wonderful. And the story behind it is quite amusing, too. Mel once put out an ad saying he wanted a Frankie Lane-type singer to do the song for the film. Frankie himself showed up and just wowed Mel over. Mel didn't have the heart to tell him it was a parody and kept the song anyway. Good thing, too. I do wonder if Frankie ever found out...
Throw in all that AND Madeline Kahn and you have yet another golden effort from Brooks. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a tollbooth that's mysteriously appeared here in this open land and I gotta get me a shitload of dimes.