Saturday, June 1, 2024

(A Day Late) Flashback/Film Friday: "Blazing Saddles," Remains a Hoot

I meant to post this yesterday but got busy/distracted. So, let's kick off June with a belated combination Film Friday/Flashback Friday! So yes, when people talk about Mel Brooks' movies sometimes they say, "Those couldn't get made today!" which is silly because Brooks himself will tell you they were told they couldn't make a flick like, 'Blazing Saddles," back in 1974! Yes, that is right, "Blazing Saddles," is 50 years old now. I honestly feel those who claim that it would offend liberals, conservatives, or etc. miss the point. The movie is designed to push the envelope and has arguably a, "Woke," message despite some claiming otherwise. It's a Western that follows an extremely smart and competent black man (played by Cleavon Little) who becomes the sheriff of a town full of white racists. They judge him for his skin color as opposed to his skills and it is incredibly hard on him. Thanks to there being people who see him as a human regardless of the color of his skin (Gene Wilder's character the Waco Kid) he does still find friendship and eventually ends up saving the day.

As Wilder puts it in a take where he ad-libbed the famous closing line that makes Little crack up, "You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.” The way Little laughs really does give the movie a warm moment of one friend consoling the other about all the judgemental assholes out there and it is one of my favorite more mellow scenes in a flick that often goes over-the-top. Oh, and, "Blazing Saddles," is never scared to, "Go there."

"Blazing Saddles," skewers racism, and a lot of racist words are said, but all the racists get what they have coming or learn to be better people. It is a Western that doesn't romanticize the past so much as makes it clear how far we've come as a society and how much farther we still need to go. That remains just as true 50 years later.

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