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BLAZING SADDLES (1974)

This classic Western satire features a town full of Johnsons looking to strike it rich á la the booming railroad industry.  Meanwhile, bad guy, Hedley Lemar, sends in his henchmen to stir up trouble.  Upon the death of the local sheriff, in walks the "first ever" black sheriff of the West.  But Sheriff Bart will have a hard time winning the support of his Anglo-Western town, especially while Lemar is still around.

The cast includes: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, David Huddleston, Liam Dunn, Alex Karras, John Hillerman, George Furth, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Carol Arthur, Dom DeLuise, and Robert Ridgely.

Director Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles" is a hilarious, if crude, classic comedy.

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This tale of the Old West involves a black sheriff, Bart (Cleavon Little), and a gunfighter, Jim: The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) who find themselves in a dusty, frontier town, during the time when a railroad was being built nearby.

When evil dudes, Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman), Taggrt (Slim Pickens), want to run the townspeople off, so they can grab the town's land for the railroad, this unlikely duo, Bart and Jim, find themselves working together to stop all the evil plots of the bad dudes, and help the bigoted town people keep their town. Humorous complications ensue, making a hilarious story, told in Mel Brook's style. Brooks has a blast, poking fun at all the elements of the Old West Hollywood films, made in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's.

Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little play off each other perfectly. They seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company, which makes their screen teaming all the more enjoyable.

Madeline Kahn is incredibly funny in her Marlene Dietrich imitation, (hardened saloon singer, Lili Von Shtupp), as she tries to seduce Sheriff Bart, under the orders of Hedley Lamarr, but falls under the spell of Sheriff Bart instead.

Slim Pickens, a fine character actor does a fine job in his comedic portrayal of Taggart, which pokes fun of bad guy cowboys, as he tries to help his boss, Hedley Lamarr.

Taggart's sidekick, character actor Burton Gilliam as Lyle, has great comedic timing with Slim Pickens, and delivers his lines in a humorous style that helps bring out the comedy envisioned in the script.

My favorite scene involves Cleavon Little and the townspeople. When he first rides into town as their new sheriff, they turn hostile, and point their guns at him. He pulls a gun on himself, pretending to kidnap himself and threatening to shoot himself unless they let him go. He plays both parts, using two different voices; one that is in a low bad guy voice, and one that is in stereotypical black slave language. Naturally, it works.

When "Blazing Saddles" first came out, the famous cowboys sitting around the campfire, eating beans, and passing gas sequence caused quite a stir. The SOUND EFFECTS are cut when "Saddles" is shown on commercial television, so you really have to rent this film to get the full comedic impact.

The film is filled with sight gags, verbal gags, jokes, one-liners, etc. Not all of them work, but many do. So who cares?

If you enjoyed BLAZING SADDLES you may like ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, THE PRODUCERS, START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME, BABE, HIGH NOON, and/or HIGH ANXIETY.

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