Sunday, June 26, 2011

586. Blazing Saddles (1974)

Running Time: 93 minutes
Directed By: Mel Brooks
Written By: Andrew Bergman, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, Alan Uger
Main Cast: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn


Damn did I used to love me some Mel Brooks. I remember seeing "Blazing Saddles" many years ago on the insistence of a friend and I was hooked, raiding stores for films like "Young Frankenstein" and "Spaceballs". Fast forward to Jun
e 26, 2011 and I think my infatuation with Brooks is finally dead, as "Blazing Saddles" didn't hold up well AT ALL.

While supervising the building of a railroad, Hedley Lamarr (Korman) realizes that he's about to cross through some quicksand and that he'll have no other choice but to detour his railroad through the small town of Rock Ridge. The town of Rock Ridge is a small one, but it is populated and Lamarr will have to think of an idea to empty
the town so that he can proceed with is plans. Enter recently jailed, African American, ex-railroad worker Bart (Little), who is pardoned from an execution at the last minute by Lamarr and appointed as the new sheriff of Rock Ridge. The idea is that the townspeople of Rock Ridge won't put up with a black sheriff and surely skip town. Bart takes on the job seriously, strolling into town despite wandering eyes and racist remarks and upholding his duty as the new lawman in Rock Ridge. Bart does find solace in the company of one man, The Waco Kid (Wilder). The Waco Kid used to be the fastest hands in the west, but lately he finds comfort at the bottom of a Whiskey Bottle. Bart, along with help from "the Kid" will do their best to clean up the town of Rock Ridge and fend off Lamarr and his hired henchmen...and women.

Yeah, like I said, this just doesn't hold up for me. Call me a man who's lost his sense of humor, but I don't think I laughed out loud once during this and the most it was really able to coax out of me was a chuckle here and there, thanks to Gene Wilder. "Blazing Saddles" is incredibly racist, but I'll give them credit, as Brooks really makes the entire concept of racism look ludicrous, turning the white racists into bumbling morons. Apparently there was a time when Richard Pryor was attached to play Bart, but they ended up picking Little due to Pryor's drug problem. I'm not even sure if the presence of Richard Pryor could have saved this utterly stupid movie.

Yeah, it's actually pretty stupid. The jokes just don't hold up anymore and are very un-funny. Consider this - In the past 24 hours I've watched three comedies. One from 1942, one from 1974 and one from 2005 and Brooks' comedy was, far and away, the least funny and least appealing of the trio. People always praise Brooks' for being a comic genius, but it seems like a lot of his repertoire is just retakes on Marx Brothers material. Mel Brooks, with the making of "Blazing Saddles", would set the stage for a countless number of parody films to come down the pike over the next thirty years, including stinkers from the Zucker Brothers and the Wayans Brothers. Was Brooks really a genius of comedy or did he set an annoying film trend that won't seem to go away?

RATING: 3/10 Maybe I skipped around the film itself to make some bold assumptions, but suffice it to say that I just don't find Brooks brand of humor that humorous anymore. Nuff' said.


June 26, 2011 6:22pm

1 comment:

  1. Very fair. Yet more dissapointment from Mel Brooks, who I keep thinking SHOULD be good - some great ideas that never quite work.
    Yes, I'm older than 13, so Im afraid I do not fall about laughing at fart gags - the supposed high spot of this film.


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...