This movie came on AMC the other night which could not have been more appropriate. It doesn't get much more American Movie Classic than "Blazing Saddles". The problem is that even that channel isn't a premium channel so the raciness of the film gets filtered a bit. Even with what they had to censor, it was STILL a good showing.
Mel Brooks has been the king of "see-what-sticks" comedy for years. It's similar to the same type of humor these spoof movies use. They throw joke after joke after joke at you. Maybe not all of them will be winners, but the law of averages dictates that a few of them should be good. Although Mel hasn't had any hits lately, he had this art of comedy down to a science back in the day. I would estimate that his "stick" percentage was much higher than that of the average director.
"Blazing Saddles" is one of those movies that could NEVER be made today. In our current age of political correctness, this flick's humor would have been crucified. Brooks poked fun at just about every ethnicity you could think of. Now that I think about it, it's pretty much the same tactic that "South Park" uses and they're still on the air. Maybe they owe Mel a little gratitude.
There's one small fact that many people overlook when referring to this film though. Although Mel Brooks directed it, it was co-written by none other than comedy icon Richard Pryor. Watch "Blazing Saddles" again and see if you can't see his thumbprint all over the main Bart character. I would venture to say that no matter who co-wrote it with him, Pryor was probably the biggest contributor.
The bad part about that situation is the role of Bart was intended for Pryor. However, because of the controversial nature of his stand-up routines, Brooks could not get adequate financing for the project in the role. Pryor ended up being a co-writer instead. You can definitely tell that he may have taken out a little frustration at that decision by the tone of the script. The end result is Cleavon Little doing a fantastic job in that role primarily thanks to Pryor's material.
It would be too difficult to pick out one favorite scene from "Blazing Saddles". Of course everyone remembers the campfire bit. It most likely inadvertently started a trend in Hollywood with that type of humor. I am rather attached to the whole exchange from the moment when the townfolk first see Bart riding into town until they finally realize that they need his help to get rid of Mongo (Alex Karras). Everytime I see it is just as funny as the next.
It is no wonder that Bravo named "Blazing Saddles" #9 on their list of the 100 Funniest Movies and Premiere magazine listed it as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time". This is one of the few Westerns that I could watch repeatedly and never get tired of it.