Cast: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Burton Gilliam, Mel Brooks, David Huddleston, Liam Dunn, John Hillerman
Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg
Studio: Warner Bros. Entertainment
Release Date: In stores now
When I was growing up, my parents were pretty strict with most of the movies that we watched. I’m rather ashamed to admit that “Blazing Saddles” was not on my “I’ve Seen This Movie” list until I was in my mid-20s, and I really wish I had seen it sooner. This Mel Brooks classis should be on everyone’s film bucket list.
A quick bit about the premise: It’s 1874, and the wild, wild west is still being tamed. A new railroad is being built and it has to go through the little town of Rock Ridge. Like right through the center of town. Naturally the townsfolk are not very enthusiastic about losing their homes, so the Attorney General Hedly Lamarr (Harvey Korman) decides to use nefarious means to change their minds. He talks Governor Pentomine (Mel Brooks) into hiring a new sheriff for the job, but he wants it to be someone no one is going to like. Enter Bart (Cleavon Little), a black railroad worker who is about to be hanged. Joined by his new found friend Jim (Gene Wilder), known as “The Waco Kid”, Bart sets out to straighten up the town. This is not a movie for those who are easily offended- Bart has to overcome some severe racism (something that Hedley Lamarr is hoping will cause him to be thrown out of town) and the jokes used are pretty racy, most of which would not fly in today’s politically correct society. There is a scene of Madeline Kahn, who is a German seductress-for-hire named Lili von Shtupp, singing to a group of cowboys in a bar that is just so brilliant not only for being so provocative, but it’s downright funny as hell.
The 40th anniversary bluray, which is now available for purchase, also has a number of special features included, like a cast reunion, as well as the pilot for a 1975 television show called “Black Bart” that was inspired by the film, and deleted scenes.
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