June 23, 1974 in UK cinemas: Blazing Saddles

BLAZING SADDLES or never give a saga an even break!”

Blazing_Saddles-1974Blazing Saddles is an American satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman’s story and draft. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences, was nominated for three Academy Awards, and is ranked No. 6 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list.

Brooks appears in two supporting roles, Governor William J. Le Petomane and a Yiddish-speaking Indian chief; he also dubs lines for one of Lili von Shtupp’s backing troupe. The supporting cast includes Slim Pickens, Alex Karras, and David Huddleston, as well as Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, and Harvey Korman. Bandleader Count Basie has a cameo as himself.

The film satirizes the racism obscured by myth-making Hollywood accounts of the American West, with the hero being a black sheriff in an all-white town. The film is full of deliberate anachronisms, from the Count Basie Orchestra playing “April in Paris” in the Wild West, to Slim Pickens referring to the Wide World of Sports, to the German army of World War II. [Wikipedia]

Cinema-UK-06-23-1974

In this raucous parody of the Western film genre, greedy land developer, Hedley Lamarr (Korman) greases palms of insane Earl Long/Blaze-type governor (Brooks) to induce his help to snatch land to build Hedley’s railroad. A key piece of land, Rock Ridge, is inhabited by a flock of Johnsons, all deeply entrenched in the town. The governor tries to help Hedley rid himself of the townspeople; first, he appoints black sheriff Bart (Little) for Rock Ridge. Next, Hedley sics Lili von Shtupp (Kahn), “Teutonic Twit” on Bart. With the help of his sidekick, The Waco Kid (Wilder), Bart fights for his new town. But, the politicos (and the WB studio) fight back. [IMDB]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

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