Only Mel Brooks could pull off something this controversial while making us laugh at the same time
"Excuse me while I whip this out." Yes, Mel Brooks puts together one of the most controversial yet funniest parodies ever created. The film is about a small town named Rock Ridge that's terrorized by a bunch of gunslinging bandits, so they send aid to Governor Lepotomane's office requesting for a new sheriff. However, the Lepotomane's aid, Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman), wants to build a rail road through Rock Ridge and needs all the inhabitants to move out for his own financial gain, so he stages to have an African America ex-railroad worker, Bart (Cleavon Little), to become their new sheriff. As one might expect, Bart isn't treated to the warmest of welcomes as the town folk are ready to shoot him on sight when he arrives. Fortunately, in a Mel Brooks way, Bart uses his gun and takes himself hostage causing the town folk to become concerned after they were going to shoot him. I couldn't stop laughing when Bart did that. I mean it's like he said to himself afterwards, "Baby, you are so talented, and they are so...dumb." Along the way, Bart teams up with an ex-outlaw, Jim the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder), whom is supposed to be the fastest gunslinger in the west, and Mongo (Alex Karras) a man of limitless strength. As Bart manages to thwart all of Hedley Lammar's attempts to terrorize the people out of their homes, Hedley arranges for an army of bad guys from Klans men, Arabian terrorists, gunslingers, bikers and many others to take on Bart in one more classic western showdown. This film is just too histarical at times. I mean who else than Mel Brooks would show his own characters, in a parody, leave the film and have an epic show down between the antogonist and protagonist in front of the theatre, where "Blazing Saddles" is premiering. Hell, even the candy gram idea, where Bart gives a box of chocolate explosives to Mongo, to take him out, is almost reminiscent to a cartoon. Or how about when Lili Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn) tries to seduce Bart, only to end up making fun of the stereo type of all African Americans having big equipment. That's not to say that this film is for everyone. For those who might get offended by racial terms and stereo types, then I would stay away from this one as this film mocks many racial stereo types. However, it's important to know that Mel Brooks' comedy isn't trying to slander Indians, African Americans or Homosexuals; it's just trying to poke fun at something that would ordinarily be taken too seriously. I'm not trying to say racism isn't a important issue, but it can be taken too far at times. Like the R. Kelly trial where there was solid evidence showing he had sex with a minor, yet he cried it was a racial charge. As it seems in a un-political correct society at the time, this film merely tried to make us laugh at some of our racial stereo types. Indeed, it does a great job. "Blazing Saddles" may come off as offensive to some, but it's pretty good once you give it a shot.
Mel Brooks uses a campy and raunchy humor that only he can bring to this film. Displaying several scenes like a bunch of gay dancers fighting like girls against a bunch of savage villains was just too funny. Or how about when Taggart (Slim Pickens), Hedley's wing man, punches Dom Dela Luis, after saying he worked for Mel Brooks. I especially liked the scene where Bart and Jim impersonate Ku Klux Klan members to spy on Hedley. I mean talk about comedy. This film is just a riot of a comedy. From the begining to the end, my sides were just spliting as I couldn't stop chuckling at this film.
As for the acting performances, they were superb. Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder were hillarious together. Mocking traditional gunslinger heroes in western films by using a light campy touch. In one scene, audiences will be laughing as the heroes, Jim and Bart, walk into a movie theatre to see how "Blazing Saddles" ends while watching themselves ride off in a limo. Harvey Korman was also brilliant in his role as he play a insecure yet shrude businessman. Making fun of his character's name as everyone mispronounces it as Henley Lamarr, and he corrects them by saying, "That's Hedley!" Another great scene with Korman was when he said, "You will be only risking your lives while I will most certainly be risking a Academy Award nomination, for "Best Supporting Actor." "Blazing Saddles" is just one fun ride.
Mel Brooks' western spoof may be offensive to some but if you give it a shot, then you won't be disappointed. Like I said earlier, Brooks isn't trying to slander any race, but to take something that seems so serious to talk about into something we can laugh at, and even ourselves for believing in those stereo types. Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder were great together. Overall, "Blazing Saddles" is just a damn funny movie.
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