Anthony's Film Review

Blazing Saddles (1974)

A Mel Brooks classic featuring a politically incorrect and cleverly funny Wild West...

I finally got around to see Blazing Saddles since there were several Mel Brooks comedies I had yet to watch. I was introduced to Mel Brooks through his later films. I knew I had to go back to his earlier films because that was when people began noticing his comic talent. One cannot truly appreciate a filmmaker without seeing everything he created. Plus, Blazing Saddles is listed in the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Laughs list of greatest comedies. Surely, I cannot miss a film like this one.

The backside of the DVD case for Blazing Saddles has a picture of horses and characters in some sort of frantic chaos, which looked like a giant fistfight. Seeing that picture was an indication that this movie would be funny. Let's put that aside for the minute. I'll get back to it real soon.

The premise of the plot is a good one. It's the kind that could work as a drama story, but it's definitely more for the genre of comedy. Hedley Lamarr, an evil politician, looks forward to the wealth he could gain from local land once a cross-country railroad passes through it. The problem: the town of Rock Ridge sits on this land. If he wants the dough, he has to drive the people out of town so he can claim the land.

At first, he gets some of his cowboys to attack the town, killing the sheriff in the process. When the town demands a new sheriff, Lamarr has an idea. He saves a black man, Bart (Cleavon Little), from execution and makes him sheriff of the town. What could drive the townsfolk out than a slave with a badge? Well, it doesn't actually work at first since the town stays where it is and lets Bart do his job. Bart also meets the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder). As time goes on, further plans by Lamarr to get rid of the townsfolk keep going wrong.

Regarding the humor, it's the kind you know from Mel Brooks. There are gags involving anachronisms, political incorrectness, and physical comedy. The political incorrectness includes some racial jokes that appear in the film plus a funny reference to homosexuals in the film's first scene. There is also a very funny scene that involves cowboys eating beans around a campfire along with 20 seconds of flatulent noises.

You know that picture on the back of the DVD case I was telling you about? Well, that's the start of the climactic scene. And let me tell you. It really is indeed funny. The climax is so silly, so outrageous, so hilarious, so over-the-top, so characteristic of Mel Brooks, so painfully funny that I'm bumping my rating for this film from 7 stars to 8 stars. In fact, even if the rest of the movie doesn't make you laugh, this scene is definitely worth the price of admission.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Blazing Saddles, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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