By mixing equal parts slap stick and brilliantly written, pointed jokes, Mel Brooks created a film that shocked the comedy world. When Blazing Saddles was released the vulgarity in the film was something that had not really been seen in other films of the time period. While the film introduced a new level of vulgarity, it was not vulgar simply to be vulgar. Shrouded in the fart jokes and physical humor was a well written film that made pointed statements about racism.
At its most basic, Blazing Saddles is a spoof on Western films. The film introduces us to the happy town of Rock Ridge, a town that States Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) wants to buy and destroy for a railroad. Lamarr appoints Sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little) as Rock Ridge’s new sheriff in the hopes that having a black sheriff would make the residents leave. With the help of the drunken gunslinger Jim “the Waco Kid” (Gene Wilder), Sheriff Bart manages to win over the racist residents of Rock Ridge so they can all ban together to save the town from Hedley Lamarr.
This film is packed full of funny moments. Director/Writer Mel Brooks effortlessly incorporates wit, physical humor, vulgarity, political statements, breaking the fourth wall and biting satire throughout the film, building a layered and deep comedy. Though the rumor is the part of Sheriff Bart almost went to Richard Prior, Cleavon Little played the part perfectly. Gene Wilder once again proves that it does not matter who he is paired with, he is always funny. Beyond the two main characters, Blazing Saddles is full of quirky and hilarious side characters. Mel Brooks himself even appeared as the incompetent Governor and as an Indian Chief.
Mel Brooks is a genre defining comedic master and Blazing Saddles is an example of him at his best. The film has many elements of crude and physical humor but is also filled with intelligent, pointed jokes. This is a 10 out of 10 film. Blazing Saddles is more than just a great, classic comedy; it introduced a previously unseen level of humor that evolved the comedy genre itself.