Starring: Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little, Slim Pickens
Director: Mel Brooks
Running Time: 93 mins
Blazing Saddles is an American film about the plan of a corrupt political leader in the Wild West to destroy a small town by appointing a black sheriff there to cause instability, however he then realises that this man is much stronger than he first thought, and will do anything to protect his town and his people.
Mel Brooks, the master of the parody, strikes again here, in a film as silly as it is satirical. It’s full of extreme farce and all of the other trademarks that Brooks does so well, but it’s definitely got one of his cleverest satirical themes, making fun of racism in the time of the Wild West, and how Hollywood saw it in the late 60s and 70s.
Let’s start with the most important part of any Mel Brooks film: the slapstick. There’s so much of it here, not necessarily to the insane extent of Spaceballs, but definitely enough to have you in stitches every so often. In this respect, it’s such an easy film to watch, because it’s not only something that you don’t have to think too much about, but high-quality slapstick comes along so consistently that you can rest assured that there are always more laughs to be had.
Now, there are some parts of the slapstick that do go just a little too far, or go on too long, and although all of that breaking the fourth wall stuff is absolutely hilarious as always, there were occasions which were a little long-winded, and didn’t have the comedic power of the rest of the film when you’ve got shorter, snappier gags.
The satire is the other part of this film that works really well. The Producers, Spaceballs and Young Frankenstein all have a great degree of satire, but this spans almost a whole century, poking fun not only at mad racism in the Wild West in the late 19th Century, but also the way that Hollywood, in the increasingly popular western genre, just forgot about it all to make it all a bit easier and more entertaining.
However, Brooks deals with it in such an outlandishly zany but intelligent way that it’s something that’s not only hilarious to laugh at, but also is relatively interesting as a concept, more so than in any of his other films.
Overall, this gets a 7.7, because of its fantastic farce and clever satire that keeps you laughing all the way through.