BLAZING SADDLES (15)
D: Mel Brooks
Warner Bros./Crossbow (Michael Herzberg)
USA 🇺🇸 1974
W: Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Alan Unger & Richard Pryor
DP: Joseph Biroc
Ed: John C. Howard & Danford B. Greene
Mus: John Morris
PD: Peter Wooley
Cos: Vittorio Nino Novarese
Cleavon Little (Bart), Gene Wilder (Jim), Slim Pickens (Taggart), Harvey Korman (Hedley Lamarr), Mel Brooks (Governer Lepetomane/Indian Chief), Madeliene Kahn (Lili Von Shtupp)
Contrary to popular belief, Blazing Saddles isn't just a parody of the western genre, but of Hollywood in general.
The plot sees a crooked politician appoint a black sheriff in a town which stands in the way of his railroad plans, hoping that a man of colour in a position of seniority will drive out the townsfolk and the buildings can be demolished without fuss. With the help of his alcoholic deputy, the sheriff foils the dastardly plan and (quite literally) rides off into the sunset.
1974 was a spectacular year for Mel Brooks, who also poked fun at classic horror genre with Young Frankenstein (qv). Blazing Saddles isn't quite the peak of his talents, but his zany, slapstick style, along with a pinch of surrealism and vulgarity make this an original piece of 1970's comedy with several hilarious and iconic moments. It certainly couldn't be made in the modern era, and some looking back may accuse it of racism... but they'd be completely missing the point of the movie.
Did You Know:
Mel Brooks never told Frankie Laine that the theme song "Blazing Saddles" was for a comedy. Laine thought it was a dramatic western. Brooks was worried that Laine wouldn't sing it with conviction if he knew the truth.