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Blazing Saddles

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Template:Infobox Movie

Blazing Saddles is a Warner Bros. 1974 comedy directed by Mel Brooks and starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder. The film was written (in what Brooks called Your Show of Shows-style) by a team of writers: Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Alan Uger; it was based on Bergman's story and draft. Brooks appears in multiple supporting roles, including the Governor and a Yiddish-speaking Indian Chief. Slim Pickens, Alex Karras and Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman are also featured. The film is an over-the-top parody of the Western film genre, in addition to being an intelligent satire about racism.

Contents

Plot

The story is set in the Southwest United States in 1874 (though it is filled with deliberately anachronistic references to the 1970s). Construction on a planned railroad runs into quicksand; the route has to be changed, which will cause it to be built near the town of Rock Ridge. State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (played by Korman) — not to be confused, as he often is in the film, with Hedy Lamarr — wants to buy the land along the railroad cheaply, but has to cause the townspeople to leave. He hires some thugs to scare them, which leads the townsfolk to demand that the Governor appoint a sheriff. The Attorney General convinces the dim-witted governor (Brooks) to appoint Bart (Little), an African American, as the new sheriff. He believes that this will so offend the townspeople they will either abandon the town or lynch the new sheriff.

With his quick wits and the assistance of an alcoholic former gunslinger Jim (Wilder), "The Waco Kid" ("I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille!"), Bart somewhat overcomes the hostile reception and the seductions of wily temptress-for-hire Lili von Schtupp (Kahn) and inspires the townfolk to resist Lamarr's band of thugs.

The movie uses some outrageously racist themes, but in a self-aware way that successfully manages to mock racism itself. And no ethnic group is spared from satirical barbs. At one point, David Huddleston's character grudgingly concedes, "All right, we'll give some land to the Niggers and the Chinks. But we don't want the Irish!"

One of its most famous scenes is of a group of cowboys sitting round a fire eating plates of beans; for the entire scene the soundtrack plays loud evidence of the most notorious side effect of beans.

Awards

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including one for Kahn for a Dietrich-like portrayal of the "Teutonic Titwillow" and one for the film's title song, co-written by Brooks and performed with complete sincerity by Frankie Laine. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Blazing Saddles as #6 on its list of the all-time funniest American films.

Trivia

  • Brooks wanted Richard Pryor to play the sheriff's role given to Little, but the studio objected due to Pryor's perceived vulgarity (Pryor's comedy routines contained numerous obscenities, sexist remarks, and comments which some thought would be perceived as outright racist if they had came from a white man). Pryor was, however, one of the film's screenwriters.
  • When the original title (Tex X) was turned down by the studio because it sounded like the title of a blaxploitation film, Brooks next choice was Black Bart; although that name wasn't used either, it was the name of a television pilot based on the film but produced without Brooks' participation. That pilot is included on the 30th anniversary DVD release of Blazing Saddles.
  • Hedy Lamarr sued Warner Bros. for the unauthorized use of her name; an out-of-court settlement was reached. Coincidentally or otherwise, in the movie, the Governor calls his right-hand man "Hedy" to his face, and Lamarr sheepishly corrects him. He answers, "What are you worried about? This is 1874! You can sue HER!"
  • Brooks didn't tell Laine that the movie was planned as a comedy, and was frankly embarassed by how much heart Laine put into singing the title song, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song (music by John Morris with lyrics by Brooks). After that, Brooks couldn't bear to tell Laine the truth.
  • Gene Wilder's future wife Gilda Radner appears as a townswoman in the church scene.
  • Blazing Saddles also offers a rare look into the Warner backlot, with scenes spilling off the Laramie Street set into various stages and eventually out of Gate 3 onto Olive Blvd. in Burbank, CA.

See also

External links

sv:Det vĺras för sheriffen

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