How the West Won Me – A Review of Blazing Saddles (1974)

by Cesidia on March 21, 2010

thumbnailWhether in Space, during the Roman Empire or Sherwood Forest, Mel Brooks manages to make you laugh every time. Inspired by my personal favorite movie of his is The Producers (with Robin Hood: Men in Tights) running a close second, I recently watched Blazing Saddles. This film takes place in the west during the time of cowboys. After almost getting hung for being a nuisance to the railroad company, the former slave Bart, (Cleavon Little’s character), is spared to become the sheriff of Rock Ridge. Evil land agent Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) thinks naming Bart the town’s sheriff will cause the racist citizens to leave. With the help of the Waco Kid, (played by Gene Wilder), Bart successfully gets rid of the railroad company that is trying to put the railroad right through the town.

One of funniest scenes in the movie is when Taggart (Slim Pickens) meets with Hedley Lamarr’s (with Harvey Korman in the role) office and they try to figure how to get all the inhabitants of Rock Ridge to leave. While throwing some ridiculous ideas about how to carry out this evil deed, Lamar leans his head out the window to talk to Boris the hangman. Boris hangs everything from horses to a man in a wheelchair. And every time Lamar puts his head back in the window he hits in on the window ledge. Taggart and Lamar also make a hilarious duo together too, especially at the end when Taggart freaks out about the hanging outside and Lamar sings to him.

Another funny scene in the movie is when Bart first comes to Rock Ridge. After the whole town freaks out about having a black sheriff most of the men pull out their guns to threaten Bart. However, oddly enough, Bart also pulls out his gun and puts it to his head, and schizophrenically tells everyone else to put down their gun saying if they don’t he’ll shoot. As if this isn’t weird enough, all the townspeople completely fall for it. They put their guns down and townswoman Harriet Johnson even expresses her sympathy by saying, “Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?” As he walks back to the jail he continues to hold the gun to his head talking to himself kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde character. Then once he gets to the jail he closes the door, laughs and compliments himself.

The movie also many other funny times, like when Mel Brooks plays the governor, or when, at the town council meeting, Harriet reads her letter to the governor expressing how she feels about the new sheriff. Overall I think that this movie was pretty good. Not the best of Mel Brooks’ movies in my opinion but people should still watch it.

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