Movie Review: Blazing Saddles

Movie Review: Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles is one of those movies with a great reputation and a glowing reviews everywhere and every-time someone talks about funniest movies of all time. I myself am a huge fan of Spaceballs, the Producers and most especially the history of the World Part 1. (not as big a fan of the Producers remake, but still) So how is this Mel Brooks comedy? Called by many his best, and normally on the short list for best ever comedy.? Lets find out.

Blazing Saddles kormanWe start off with the railroad being built in the Old West ™ and two black men are sent off to scout ahead. No idea how they are scouting ahead for tracks when they are on the rails, but end up in quicksand. As the white men save the cart, they let the two men sink into the quicksand, when they get out, one smacks the white man with a shovel, earning a death sentence from Hedley Lamarr – played by Harvey Korman, being Harvey Korman. If you have seen Harvey Korman do anything, you have seen him in this role. Of course, being Harvey Korman is like a batter who can’t do anything but hit fastballs out of the park. Brooks does few things better than take his cast of players and lob them fastballs over and over. The Railroad is having to go through the town of Rock Ridge, populated by a whole bunch of people named Johnson. I’m sure there is a joke on the cutting room floor that I missed. Long story short. Korman wants to wipe out the town, so he can buy it cheap.

Blazing Saddles heroThe town demands a sheriff, and Korman convinces the governor, played by Mel Brooks, and Korman gives him the suggestion of sending a black sheriff, to antagonize the town long enough for his band of thugs to wipe it out. Promising the governor that it would make him famous and possibly President, Brooks agrees.

When the Sheriff arrives, he meets up with Gene Wilder, who is the Waco Kid- the fastest gunslinger in the West. Wilder sobers up and they become fast friends. Korman resorts to using our last major player the always fun Madeline Kahn with her Bond Girl name of Lili von Shtupp, to seduce the Sheriff, but he is able to convert her to his side. Korman also sends Alex Karras to beat up the Sherriff but he is outwitted as well. Korman’s last resort is to send every thug in the West to Rock Ridge to attack, and that sets up our showdown.

So How is Blazing Saddles?

Blazing Saddles quoteNot exactly holding your stomach rolling laughter, but if you enjoy watching a movie where the jokes make you smirk, some you can see coming but you are just kind of happy to be here, just like most of the cast. Mel Brooks has a certain way to keep you happy and the story moving, and you couldn’t think of the joke that was made 20 minutes ago, its almost like standup in ensemble form.

As always in Brooks movies there are some jokes that will have you laughing, and jokes and even scenes you will be able to quote word for word.

Blazing Saddles khanBrooks hits all the notes here, yes I know this was an early one of his, but again, I’m watching this movie in 2015. Had this been the first or second movie I might not be so used to Korman from all his work playing Korman and Madeline Kahn being Madeline F’N Kahn. Holy Cripe I love me some Madeline Kahn.

The only part of this movie I don’t like is the ending. I get that Mel Brooks tends to end things in a goofy manner- but the whole ending really doesn’t fit. Just kinda comes to an end.

All in All, this is a worthy movie to watch, if you are a Mel Brooks fan, I don’t like it as much as his other work, but it is easily worth picking up the DVD. Mel Brooks commentary track ads little to the movie, but as a standalone track discusBlazing Saddles genesing movies? Not bad a listen. So yeah, it a second-tier Brooks movie, but thats more memorable than almost any other comedy from the 70s, and it holds up more than most. I’m giving this one a 6. Probably a bit higher than it deserves in a vacuum, but a stellar comedic cast, a solid piece of work and the legacy for an early 70s comedy makes it a must watch.

I do wish the studio had let this be a Pryor movie, since he did help write it.

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  1. David,

    I would not call this film satire for the most part (even though it does have some). Perhaps parody and/or burlesque describes much of it better. It does take some potent, blatant, and powerful jabs at racism in a time when this topic was frowned upon as a subject (or even object) of films.

    I first saw this film in a theater when it first came out. My date was so upset at some of the opening scenes that we walked out, but I sneaked back later in the week to see it on my own.

    I agree that the ending is disconnected to the rest of the film and hope that you (or someone) can remake the ending so that it fits better.

    BTW, have you ever seen “Rustler’s Rhapsody”? Not a social commentary at all, but asks (metaphorically) “What if a classic ‘good guy’ cowboy were to be in a modern ‘real’ western?”

  2. One of my favorite comedies of all time. Mel Brooks is a genius.

    on a five star scale this gets 4 stars from me

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