BLAZING SADDLES

A DELIGHTFUL MELEE

BLAZING SADDLES ( #9. )
See the trailer

Even though my formative years of education ( K – 12 ) ended in 1970 ( yes, I am a Hunter College graduate ), it is indelibly etched in my DNA what the Fall…what September means. It does NOT mean autumnal colors or the mellower temperatures. Nor does it mean Mother Nature preparing herself for her Winter slumber. No, Fall to me means the misery of going back-to-school. Homework. Teachers! Baaaah!!! ( Of course, I’m speaking as a fifth-grader now ).

With the ‘SEE YOU IN THE FALL BLOGATHON’ hosted by Steve of Movie Movie Blog Blog, Fall now has a new meaning for me. You want pratfalls, sight gags, scatological jokes and UN-politically correct humor which ribs ethnicities, sexual persuasions, mental health and movie genres? Well you’ve come to the right place: The World of Mel Brooks.

FALL BLOGATHONBLAZING SADDLES” is one of the funniest movies ever made. All throughout Mel Brooks’ riotous “B.S.” (that’s “Blazing Saddles” to you) there are many laughable moments:

  • “I didn’t get a harumph outta that guy.”
  • “This thing is defective.”
  • “The affairs of State take precedence over…the affairs of State.”
  • “Whoooft! They darker than us.”
  • “Hey where the white women at?”
  • “Goddammit I’m tired!”
  • “It’s twue, it’s twue.”
  • “The sheriff is a ni–”

…and much much more. But I gotta tell ya, when Brooks breaks that fourth wall in the last ten minutes of this movie, all bets are off. All hell breaks loose. With this western comedy, the wheels fly off the stagecoach, the stagecoach goes off the tracks and careens over a cliff; and during its descent into Death Valley and chaos, you don’t jump ship, but you ride that bucking bronc like Slim Pickens in “Dr. Strangelove…” Click photos for some brief excerpts:

BLAZING SADDLES ( #3. )BLAZING SADDLES ( #4. )  BLAZING SADDLES ( #7. )BLAZING SADDLES ( #5. )BLAZING SADDLE ( #8. )

In keeping within the rules of this blogathon, my look, specifically, is of the last ten minutes of “Blazing Saddles.” It’s these last ten minutes of the movie that are akin to the anarchy of the Marx Bros.’ “Duck Soup” and it packs a wallop. Let me try to break it down for you ( but DO seek out the DVD!!! ) Be fore-warned here. My post will contain salty language befitting the tenor of this movie ( but not nearly as salty as I am in REAL life ) so if you’re easily offended, I’ll beg your apologies beforehand or you can just move along folks. Move along. Nothing to see here but some wild-ass humor:

BLAZING SADDLES ( 18. )When Taggart ( Slim Pickens ) – the bad guy, and the rest of his dastardly bad-ass henchmen descend on Rock Ridge they find out it’s a fake town. Good guy, Sheriff Bart ( Cleavon Little ) and the good citizens descend on them no-good varmints to whoop some bad guys’ ass. A free-for-all ensues and we’re off to the races where horses are tipped over, Lili Von Shtupp ( Madeleine Kahn ) and her Germans are singing, and preachers are resorting to violence. An overhead bird’s eye view of the action sees the fight from that vantage point and the camera pans over to Hollywood sound stages.

* * * * * *

MUSICAL COMEDY: A group of male dancers are in top hat, white tie and tails and cane when one dancer makes a mistake and messes up the whole routine. Sissy Mary Director Dom DeLuise (in beret and jodphurs) steps up to show ’em how it’s done.

BLAZING SADDLES ( #6. )

The Westerners come bursting onto the music set, knocking down walls, hootin’ and hollerin’ and riding horses onto the set. There goes Taggart again ( he just ‘follows orders’ ) punching DeLuise right in the gut. The dancers retaliate by giving the western brutes a good thrashing; well, as good a thrashing as these guys could do, if you know what I mean. A cowboy punches a dancer square in the stomach and when they come out the other side of the set, they’re walking in an embrace. Two dancers do a 10-second Esther Williams synchronized swimming bit.

* * * * * *

THE COMMISSARY: Actors are in make-up having their lunch and a studio walking tour is about to go inside. Before you know it, the Westerners andBLAZING SADDLES ( #11. ) the Dancers break on through to the other side and spill their brawl into the studio’s high-class cafeteria. A man in a Chef’s hat announces the great Pie Fight ( promptly gets a pie in the kisser ) and now it’s really ON. It’s a hot mess in there with pies flying within an inch of everyone’s life. Pies, cowboys, dancers and horses all entwined in fast-motion. The walking tour leaves the commissary, every one covered with pie on their faces. What a mess!

BLAZING SADDLES ( 11. )  BLAZING SADDLES ( 12. )

Taggart is punched by that big galoot Mongo ( Alex Karras ) and he goes sliding into the cash register. I LOVE the way the cashier rings him up pointing to the food all over his face and clothes. LISTEN to the matter-of-fact WAY she says: “Yankee Bean Soup, Cole Slaw and Tuna Surpriiiise.” I am laughing as I type this. She ain’t playing. He’s going to have to pay for that. See the Great Pie Fight:

 

Did you see how Hedley Lamarr ( played by the great Harvey Korman ) comes out of the Men’s Room into this melee and when a pie comes flying near him, look at his face – the sly crooked sheepish smile as he slowly backs back into the bathroom and immediately comes out again, his puss full o’ pie. Love the way he minces out of the dining room.

* * * * * *

GRAUMAN’S CHINESE:

At this point of the movie, its now more sight gags than pratfalls and anything else.

The riot cuts to outside studio with the mob running for their lives down Olive Avenue (4300 W). Hedley hails a cab: “Drive me off this picture!” with Sheriff Bart and his absolutely gorgeous palomino hauling ass after him.  Isn’t this a beautiful horse?  So interesting how the very next immediate shot is at night. Continuity error or intentional?
BLAZING SADDLES ( #1 )Hedley pulls up to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. ( At the TCMFF last year when “Blazing Saddles” was shown AT the Chinese, the crowd gave the theatre rousing applause when it makes its appearance in the movie! )

At the ticket window, Hedley pushes some college kids out the way and buys his ticket. I laugh when he pulls out i.d.:

HEDLEY:          “Student?”
BOX OFFICE:  “Are you kidding?!”

I love the contemptuous way Hedley throws down another buck and says: “Pain in the ass!”

He passes a married couple looking at the famed footprints of Grauman’s Chinese:

TOURIST: “Look Herman. I’m in Hedy Lamarr’s shoes.”
HEDLEY:  “That’s HEDLEY!”

HA! He’s fighting a losing battle on THAT score.

Inside the movie lobby there are cows near the candy stand and I always get a big kick out of Hedley ordering my OWN personal favorite movie candy:

“RAISINETS.”

He almost sits on a disgruntled patron ( was that the frontier gibberish guy? ) in the darkened theatre and when Hedley looks up at the screen he sees Bart riding up to Grauman’s. Again I LOVE his reaction…he spits out the Raisinets and says: “SHIT!” bolting from his seat.

Oh man…I LOVE the meta-ness of the last few moments of the film. The movie is seeing a movie of itself in the movies. How clever of you Mel.

The gun duel is no contest as Hedley is mortally shot. He falls face down – in profile – into wet cement. His name is written in cement ( how’d THAT get there?! ) underlining its correct pronunciation for the final time.

Bart and his sidekick, the Waco Kid ( Gene Wilder ) ride off into the sunset. No really, they ride off into the sunset in a beautiful Cadillac.

* * * * * *

This movie touches all bases in terms of physical comedy, slapstick, sight gags, verbal jokes AND befouled bodily functions to last you your lifetime. You have to be smart…you have to know your movie references. “Blazing Saddles” is a grand slam triple-header in that regard and forgive me if I jacked up the baseball metaphor.

Folks, there’s more where that came from. Click on this banner. ( You all know the drill by now, don’cha? ) If you click the FALL banner below, you’ll find more entries on what strikes bloggers funny bones. And if you can, check out “Blazing Saddles” in its entirety. It’s hilariously clever and sadly, we’ll probably never see the likes of it again. See the movie. Hey, you’d do it for Randolph Scott.

                    RANDOLPH SCOTT ( Blazing Saddles )    FALL BLOGATHON ( BANNER #2 )

To see my first entry for the “SEE YOU IN THE FALL” blogathon, please click onto:
( MR. MUCKLE ) for some more funny.

(  H O M E  )

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21 thoughts on “BLAZING SADDLES

  1. I love this movie! Blazing Saddles is one of my strongest teenage movie memories! My brother loved it and dragged me to see it his second time! We both became avid Mel Brooks fans! Your essay was right on and captured the sheer craziness of the movie. I liked the fact that Mel Brooks was ahead of his time and had no problem insulting pretty much everyone! Thanks for bringing back memories!

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    • To All Blazing Saddles Fans Here is Some Great News,The Movie will be Playing 2:00 PM | Sunday, January 31, 2016
      Digital Cinema Seats: General Admission
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  3. Lovely blog entry! Did you know that the scene where Cleavon Little pulls a gun on himself was based on real life? Mel Brooks said when he was a kid, he tried to steal a pop gun out of a five-and-dime store. When the floorwalker called Brooks on it, he pulled the toy gun on himself, and he was so convincing that they let him walk out of the store without a fuss. True story (at lease according to Mel)! In any case, great blog about an all-time comedy classic!

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  5. I remember seeing this film at the RKO Fordham theater (the Bronx) with two of my buddies back when and we loved it, repeating and reliving funny lines and moments on the bus ride back to Pelham Parkway that evening and for many years to come! This is a movie packed full with laughs galore and simply a lot of fun to watch no matter how many times one sees it and one can never see it too many times!

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    • Hi Marvin! I saw “BLAZING SADDLES” at the Sutton Theatre on 57th Street in Manhattan. This was one of the most riotous films I’ve ever seen. As I came to know the Marx Bros. I see where Mel Brooks gets his anarchy. I’m happy my post helped you re-live fun times with your buddies. I saw the movie last year at the TCM Film Festival…I laughed just as hard as I did back in 1974. Thanx for commenting.

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      • I saw it first at the Sutton as well. It was the first time I actually saw moviegoers literally roll in the isles. I do like them s chaotic ending. Often comedies that end in a free for all lose their punch and fizzle. Not this. It is genius all the way through.

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    • I’m more of a “…Saddles” gal than a “…Frankenstein” gal- ( yes, I have the humor of a 12-year old boy ) – but they ARE both good, as you say. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like Brooks’ last ten minutes of “Blazing Saddles” unless its in the other entries of this “…FALL Blogathon.” Heh heh! Thanks for commenting.

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  7. HA this is a great entry to the blogathon! Mel Brooks can pretty much get away with saying – and doing – anything and it’s just funny. I think they call that the golden touch. It’s all in such poor taste that it exists somewhere above it! And is this the most perfect movie ending ever conceived? I can’t think of a better one!

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    • Seeing it at Grauman’s Chinese at the TCMFF, on that big screen, in that packed house, with Mel Brooks introducing it…it was heavenly. Lotta good entries in the blogathon. I’m sooooo glad no one picked this one. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. You’ll probably disown me as a fellow movie blogger, but I have NEVER seen this film!! I really don’t know why, I just never have. Well, I made a promise to reform and watch this movie while reading your post. I shall report back.

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    • Confession is good for the soul. And with Pope Francis coming to America…you’re timing is perfect. Better still, you are making up for such an egregious cinematic sin, by promising to reform. ( Yay! ) I’ll await your report on “Blazing Saddles.” ( Get ready – it’s a raucous, scatological, politically UN-correct HOOT! )

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