“Blazing Saddles” (1974) directed by Mel Brooks, starring Cleavon Little & Gene Wilder / Z-View

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Director: Mel Brooks

Screenplay: Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew aBergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger story by Andrew Bergman

Stars: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Mel Brooks, Burton Gilliam, Alex Karras, David Huddleston, Liam Dunn, John Hillerman, George Furth, Jack Starrett, Richard Collier, Dom DeLuise, Richard Farnsworth, Sally Kirkland, Hal Needham, Rodney Allen Rippy  and Count Basie.

Tagline:  Mel Brooks and the West! Together for the last time!

The Plot…

Quicksand forces the new railroad to change its route.  When the dastardly Hedley Lamarr (Korman) learns the railroad will have to go through the town of Rock Ridge, he sees an opportunity to get rich.  If Lamarr can get the town’s citizens to leave, he will become owner of all the land.

Lamarr sends his thugs to scare the people into leaving.  Instead, they wire the Governor that they need a Sheriff to protect them.  Lamarr tricks the Governor into sending an African American who was about to be hung.  Lamarr figures that a black Sheriff won’t be much protection and will upset some town folk enough to leave.

Boy, was Lamarr wrong.

Let the fun begin!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Blazing Saddles was nominated for six Academy Awards:
Nominated for
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Madeline Kahn)
Best Film Editing (John C. Howard, Danford B. Greene)
Best Music, Original Song (John Morris – music, Mel Brooks – lyrics, for the song “Blazing Saddles”)

Blazing Saddles wouldn’t be made today.  It almost wasn’t in 1973.  John Wayne turned down the Waco Kid role.  Wayne thought it would tarnish his image.  Gig Young was hired but collapsed during the first scene.  It was later discovered Young suffered from alcohol withdrawal.  Gene Wilder was brought in to replace Young.  Richard Pryor was the first choice to play Bart.  The studio wouldn’t hire Pryor due to previous drug arrests.  Cleavon Little got the role.

The film makes fun of classic western troupes, breaks the fourth wall, features sight and verbal gags.  It is all over the place.  Everything is fair game.  Blazing Saddles isn’t for those easily offended.  Everyone else is in for a comedy guaranteed to entertain.

Blazing Saddles (1974) rates 5 of 5 stars.