Saturday, November 27, 2010

#113. Blazing Saddles (1974)

DVD Synopsis: Filmmaker, star and paddle-ball wiz Mel Brooks goes way out West and way out of his mind with a spiffy spoof set in an 1874 Old West where 1974 Hollywood is one soundstage away – and where nonstop fun blasts prejudices to the high comedy heavens. Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn and more join for horseplay and horselaughs, making Blazing Saddles the #6 choice among the American Film Institute's Top-100 Comedies.










I'm a big Mel brooks fan, and for me, Blazing Saddles is his masterpiece. Irreverent, tasteless, and very, very funny, Blazing Saddles is both a send-up of the Hollywood Western and a bold statement on racial prejudice. It's also completely, even brilliantly, chaotic, with moments that veer as far from the film's central story as they possibly can. 

Aside from the now-famous ending, where a street fight between outlaws and townsfolk spills onto a neighboring sound stage, disrupting a Busby-Berkeley-style musical, several other examples of inspired lunacy can be found throughout Blazing Saddles. In the town of Rock Ridge, everyone's last name is Johnson (there's even a Howard Johnson, who owns the local Ice Cream Parlor that bears a sign boasting “1 Flavor”). At a gathering of outlaws, who've been recruited to attack Rock Ridge, we find, mixed in with the usual array of western toughs, some Nazis, Klansmen and even a gang of bikers, and when it comes time to send these assorted criminals off to destroy Rock Ridge, their leader, Hedley Lamaar (Harvey Korman), gives a pep talk in which he declares, “You will only be risking your lives, whereas I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor”. 

Whatever his ultimate goal was, whether it be to plunge a dagger into the heart of Western mythos, shine a light on the insanity of racial prejudice, or simply shake up the world, with Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks has crafted a singular comedy classic.


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6 comments:

DHorowitz107 said...

Agreed, such a good film!

Dave B. said...

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment. BLAZING SADDLES is one of my favorite comedies of all-time. It's a movie they wouldn't make today, but the humor still works perfectly.

Larry said...

I guess the most recent attempt at something like this was TROPIC THUNDER, but that wasn't nearly as daring or gut-bustingly funny. Great blog by the way.

Dave B. said...

Larry: Thanks for stopping by!

I'm a fan of TROPIC THUNDER, but as you say, it doesn't come close to the irreverent levels achieved in BLAZING SADDLES.

And I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. Thanks so much for the kind words!

Tan said...

Best thing ever is Madeline Kahn as Lily von Shtupp!

Dave B. said...

Tan: Thganks for stopping by, and for the comment.

She was great, wasn't she? I also liked her role in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and she was superb as Empress Nympho in HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Kahn was a great comedic actress in general, but was especially "on" when working with Mel Brooks.

Thanks again!