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Blazing Saddles

July 3rd, 2019   |   Updated on June 29th, 2022

The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land, Hedley Lemar (Harvey Korman), a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to make the town unlivable.

After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new sheriff from the Governor (Mel Brooks). Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty winning over the townspeople.

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Movie Reviews: “Blazing Saddles

Movie Review: The Hollywood REPORTER

On Feb. 7, 1974, Warner Bros. unleashed a 125-minute, R-rated Western from Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles. The film, nominated for three Oscars at the 47th Academy Awards, has become a pop culture touchstone. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:

Mel Brooks has come up with his most outrageous comedy to date in the brilliantly funny Blazing Saddles, a Mel Brooks Film for Warner Bros. release, produced by Michael Hertzberg.

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Movie Review: DEN OF GEEK

In September 2017, a filmmaker and statesman for Hollywood days gone by named Mel Brooks gave a grim prognosis for our culture: We’d never make Blazing Saddles today. While he thinks some of his masterpieces of yore like Young Frankenstein could still exist in a modern context, Blazing Saddles would simply ruffle too many feathers.

“Never Blazing Saddles,” Brooks told BBC Radio 4, “because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy.” This is, of course, an oversimplification of the changing attitudes in our society, yet it rings with an unshakable truth. “They,” being Hollywood studios and the plethora of talent who frequent said distributors, would not touch Blazing Saddles in 2019. Which is a doggone shame since Blazing Saddles is just as much about our current time and place as it is of the era that Brooks made it in.

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When singer Frankie Laine was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air many years ago, he confessed that when he was engaged to record the theme song to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974), he was not told that the film (and the song) was a spoof. He simply thought it was a bad song that he gave lines like “He rode a blazing saddle” a gravity that defies the painful lyric. Which was what Brooks wanted all along. That knowing touch sets the stage for a film that never met a cowboy convention it didn’t lovingly skewer.

More than simply a loving spoof of Hollywood westerns, Blazing Saddles is one of the funniest movies ever made (it was in fact voted the sixth funniest movie of all time in an AFI poll) and one of the most audacious satires of racism to come out of Hollywood. It stirs cowboy movie tropes up with racial humor, satirical lampooning, cartoon slapstick, and bathroom humor. Especially farts. Lots of farts. Cleavon Little stars as Bart, a quick-witted railway worker saved from the gallows by corrupt governor’s aide Hedy (“That’s Hedley!”) Lamar (Harvey Korman) only to be made sheriff of a lily-white frontier town under siege from the Governor’s own gangsters. It tackles bigotry and racism by ridiculing it,

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