"Blazing Saddles" is a parody of the Western movie.
While it is not a particularly good film, it became
the second grossing film of 1974 and has enjoyed a
strong reputation since that time.
The plot has greedy schemer Harvey Korman trying
to become wealthy by grabbing land associated with
a new railroad. He must drive off the present owners,
who live in the western outpost Rockridge. Part
of his schemes involves giving them a black sheriff
(Cleavon Little), who soon gets a sidekick (Gene Wilder).
It is hard for a slapstick comedy to be a good film.
The plot isn't much, and the setting exists mostly
to set up gags and jokes. The film's quality becomes
dependent on how good these gags and jokes are.
How funny they are may be subjective: cowboys farting
after eating a plate full of beans may be hilarious
for a sixth grader, but not so funny for others.
On the other hand, youngsters may miss the humor in
Some moments in "Blazing Saddles" are funny.
The theme song (by Mel Brooks) is a riot.
Madeline Kahn's Marlene Dietrich impersonation scores
some points. Dom DeLuise has a great cameo
as the director of a gay chorus line. Howard Johnson
owns an ice cream parlor with a sign saying 'one flavor'.
But most of the humor is more silly than effective,
not enough to overcome the thin plot and characters.
Kahn got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting
Actress for her performance. Comparing her Dietrich-like
character with the real thing, Dietrich was a lot more
fun in another western comedy, "Destry Rides Again"
from 1939. Another difference between the two films,
besides the quality of script, cast, plot and characters,
is that "Destry Rides Again" seemed to have a focus,
a direction, while "Blazing Saddles" wanders amiably
Copyright © 1999 Brian Koller