peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 10 23 BlazingSaddles

Blazing Saddles (1974)

/noise/movies | Link

Mel Brooks's big panto-Western. Crass as all get out and completely beyond the pale now. A Richard Pryor jag from Blue Collar — he got a writing credit here. Also for Slim Pickens who was one of the weaker performers. Lead Cleavon Little is as skilfully comedic as he needs to be to carry the racially-charged material. I was disappointed to find that, according to IMDB, his feature-film career was pretty much just this and Vanishing Point. Little's knowing partnership with Gene Wilder moderates the harsh humour. Madeline Kahn got an Oscar nom for playing a tired German burlesque performer, as did the title song. David Huddleston later reached greater heights as The Big Lebowski. Harvey Korman as a classic panto villain.

Most of the gags are visual, often blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. Some are predictable, some homage (one segment is pure Looney Tunes), others inventive. There's something here to offend everyone, maybe.

Roger Ebert: four stars. Vincent Canby: a bunch of skits. Both observe Kahn is taking off Marlene Dietrich.