Blazing Saddles (1974)

I think it got it's name from the number of times I got up to turn it off.
I think it got it's name from the number of times I got up to turn it off.

Genre: Comedy Western

Starring: Cleavon Little (Vanishing PointFletch Lives), Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryThe Producers)

Directed By: Mel Brooks (Young FrankensteinSpaceballs)

Overview: When a corrupt industrialist sends a posse of outlaws to run the people out of a town to make way for the rail, the town asks the equally corrupt governor for a sheriff. What he sends them is the blackest sheriff that ever sported a silver star.

I hate Mel Brooks. If I had to sum up what I think of the man in one word it would be 'goof', and I don't mean it in a nice way. Yet, somehow, somewhere, after all the pros and cons are added up, I can't help but reluctantly say, "Yeah yeah fine. Blazing Saddles is stupid, but not that stupid." And, much to my surprise, if it's one question I never thought I needed asking, this film answered it: "How many times do you have to hear the word 'Nigger' in one sitting before it turns hilarious?" Turns out he number is somewhere around 19.

There's a scene where a little old lady gets punched repeatedly in the gut, a scene with a horse gets punched out in the face, repeated moments of absolutely retarded writing and idiotic racism, constant breaking of the fourth wall, not to mention a comic disregard for historical accuracy and as you'd expect, a fart joke scene that is, at least, appropriate for a Western given that cowboys are sitting around a fire eating beans.

Then again there's Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, and Cleavon Little to even out Mel Brooks' moronic performance (not to mention this hot momma below). But surprisingly, above all things, there's a solid plot that delivers, entertains and makes us laugh enough to give kudos to the makers of this little slice of film history. I'm sure this film had had it's share of hate, given the frequent racism, but it's all tongue-in-cheek deconstructivism that somehow helps us see the stupidity of it all in the long run.

You know. I was looking for a picture of our dark hero, but I could only think of one of his lines, "Where the white women at?"
You know. I was looking for a picture of our dark hero, but I could only think of one of his lines, "Where the white women at?"

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 8 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 7

Overall Rating: 76% (Hurts The Tuchus, But A Good Hurt)

Just goes to show you, no matter what you've thought of a man's work in the past, you can still be surprised by the odd gem in his pants.

Cheers to that.

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What? No mention of Madeleine Khan and her amazing Dietrich parody role?  She was imitating Marlene Dietrich (Elmer Fudd accent and all) from "Destry Rides Again". That's, like, one of my favorite things about this movie!

You want a mention of Madeleine Khan? Ok:

Anyone who's seen any of Marlene Dietrich's works (and apparently, specifically Destry Rides Again) will immediate note her attire, attitude and lispy accent mocked by Madeleine Khan, who does such an amazing job of making Dietrich seem boringly annoying that I found those parts to be the most tedious to watch, especially her completely uninspired musical number that takes place entirely on a shallow saloon stage. What that means is that on top of everything else, thre's very little to look at leaving us to focus all too much on listening to the droning.

I've always found that Marlene Dietrich was the type of woman who was so over the top that she was the only one who could make it work. Mel Brooks making fun of her is utterly redundant. It's like making fun of Jaws for being a huge shark.

It's a gimmick that ran on for way too long, and took away from the characters that actually advanced the plot.

Of course, once I SEE Destry Rides Again, I might have a different opinion, but I sincerely doubt that.

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