Movie Review: Blazing Saddles (1974)

Blazing Saddles, depending on who you ask is Hilarious as hell or a slap in the face. Either way you slice it, you cannot deny that it is one of Mel Brooks’ most daring feats in his comedies ever, the genesis of the movie started from a script written by Andrew Bergman called “Tex-X”, Mel Brooks was quoted in an interview describing the writing process as:

Blazing Saddles was more or less written in a drunken fistfight there were five of us all yelling for our ideas to be put in the movie. Not only was i the loudest but I was the luckiest being the director I got to decide what was in or what was out.

Mel Brooks “Entertainment Tonight”

The story is a power hungry attorney general named Hedley LaMarr wants to blow up the town of Rock Ridge, where everyone seems to be named Johnson to make room for the railroad, so in an attempt to scare off the townspeople he send in a new sheriff (played by Cleavon Little), who just happens to be black and after a rocky start Bart wins the people over and launches a defense campaign against Lamarr with the help of The Waco Kid (played by Gene Wilder) to help save the town.

The production process was plagued with problems. Richard Pryor was Brooks’ original choice to play Bart, but Warner Bros. was weary because of his drug history passing him off as uninsurable. John Wayne was also in mind as The Waco Kid but he turned it down seeing the film as too blue for his family-oriented image but he assured Mel that he would be the first one to see it

A television pilot titled Black Bart was produced for CBS based on Bergman’s original story. It featured Louis Gossett, Jr. as Bart and Steve Landesberg as his drunkard sidekick, a former Confederate officer named “Reb Jordan”. Other cast members included Millie Slavin and Noble Willingham. Bergman is listed as the sole creator. CBS aired the pilot once on April 4, 1975. The pilot episode of Black Bart was later included as a bonus feature on the Blazing Saddles 30th Anniversary DVD and the Blu-ray disc.

Black Bart (Pilot CBS)

Although it is now considered a cult classic, the critics weren’t as favorable upon it’s initial release. When I first saw this film I was much older as I wasn’t even thought of in 1974 but knowing Mel Brooks’ impressive body of work I laughed like a hyena at this film even though some of the jokes were deemed ancient history like when Taggart says “What in the Wide Wide World Of Sports is going on here” My brother might say, this joke here never gets old:

The Campfire Scene (Blazing Saddles 1974)

Still if you love Mel Brooks this one is worth a look keep in mind it is Rated R so put the little ones to bed before watching this one…

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