Still "Blazing" After All These Years Review

What can I possibly tell you about Blazing Saddles that you don’t already know as a movie fan? Unless you’re one of those people who puts Spaceballs and Robin Hood Men In Tights at the top of your comedy list. In that case, I’d tell you to replace your funny bone and get serious about life by watching the greatest comedy of all-time, Blazing Saddles.

By coming out the same year as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles is a perfect counterpoint to highlighting the mastery of Mel Brooks over the comedic film medium. While many folks will often highlight Young Frankenstein or The Producers as Brooks’ greatest achievement, I’ve always been a Blazing Saddles guy. I’ve mentioned my love of Saddles in the past, most often in other comedy reviews. Overall, I’m just a Brooks fan, but there’s something about the sheer audacity and absurdity of Blazing Saddles that nabs me every single time. It’s not the inherent racism of the narrative, either, it’s most-often the little things sprinkled throughout that grab me:

- The line of thugs and mercenaries ready to join the attack on Rock Ridge never fails to make me laugh. Especially one of Brooks’ many cameos as a WW1 fighter pilot.

- Mongo’s moment of clarity announcing that he’s only a pawn in the game of life.

- The horse figurines that launch into the air once the mock Rock Ridge goes kaboom.

- The Yiddish-speaking native Americans.

- Governor Lepetomane.

The story, for those unfamiliar (and really, just turn in your movie nerd street cred at this point if you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles) follows the nefarious Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) as he attempts to conquer the American west by aiming to annihilate the boomtown Rock Ridge. The only thing standing in his way, the sheriff, appointed to be a lame duck, named Bart (Cleavon Little). Bart, of course, is black, in an era when it wasn’t cool to be black. Anyways, Bart partners with The Waco Kid played by Gene Wilder, one of the greatest comedic minds of all-time, and the two rise to the occasion in engaging Lamarr and his plot head-on.

You really don’t get any better than Blazing Saddles, to be honest. It’s remained my favorite comedy since I first saw it as a child and has never gotten stale.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

There are some really neat collectible “art” cards, which are fine, but the real highlights here are the commentaries and featurettes centered around Brooks. He’s always been a great listen when it comes to his commentaries, and, more often than not, highlights the process of getting the film made, as well as its writing process. This case is no different.

There’s also the pilot episode of Black Bart, which was the potential TV spinoff. Albeit, that’s not a great addition and its something we’ve seen before on previous releases, but its a completist thing at this point.

"Blazing Saddles - 40th Anniversary Edition" is on sale May 6, 2014 and is rated R. Comedy. Directed by Mel Brooks. Written by Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Alan Grier. Starring Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder.

Robert Ottone • Staff Writer

A natural bon vivant in love with cigars, finery and luxurious booze, SelfieRob aims to make light of the world around him while living the party boy lifestyle. From the Hamptons to NYC and beyond, SelfieRob lives life to the fullest.


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