Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blazing Saddles

There are two rules in my world that apply to comedies: 1 – there are very few genuinely good comedies & 2 – no one does comedy like Mel Brooks. I think Blazing Saddles is a perfect comedy, one of Mel Brooks best. By any other filmmaker this film would be an insanely racist film, yet because Brooks doesn’t make fun of one race, he makes fun of everyone – Jew, African, Chinese, Irish, American – Brooks doesn’t care.

Blazing Saddles is one of the only movies I can recite almost word for word; when I watch the film it is practically a sing-along. The entire concept of the film is funny to me; the pioneer town of Rock Ridge gets the first black sheriff because the lt. governor wants to piss off the residents and drive them out so the rail road can go through the town, this sparks madness in all the best comic forms.

My favorite character in Blazing Saddles has always been The Waco Kid (aka Jim) played by Gene Wilder. Wilder starred in several of Mel Brooks films and his style of comedy perfectly blends with Books; Wilder has a sense of understated exaggeration in Blazing Saddles that makes him the perfect partner for Cleavon Little’s Sheriff Bart.

I challenge anyone to watch Blazing Saddles and not laugh hysterically at the end of the film. Brooks somehow manages to make breaking the fourth wall logical to his world, carry on the comedy in a way you didn’t expect and then push you back into the original film world without skipping a beat. It all works because of how much Brooks commits to it; it’s perfectly summe dup by Slim Pickens when his character tells another actor “Screw you, I work for Mel Brooks!”

Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor & Alan Uger
Bart: Cleavon Little
Jim: Gene Wiler
Taggart: Slim Pickens
Hedley Lamarr: Harvey Korman
Lili Von Shtupp: Madeline Kahn
Gov. Lepetomane: Mel Brooks
Mongo: Alex Karras

Bart: Are we awake?
Jim: We're not sure. Are we... black?
Bart: Yes, we are.
Jim: Then we're awake... but we're very puzzled.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Still haven't seen this movie.