Monday, 4 April 2016

Blazing Saddles (5 Stars)

The last time I reviewed "Blazing Saddles", three years ago, I only gave it four and a half stars. I have no idea why. It must be the funniest film ever made. When I made my list of 30 films to watch before you die I picked "Young Frankenstein" to represent Mel Brooks' films, but I could just as well have picked "Blazing Saddles". It's hard to decide between them because they're both brilliant films.

The film is set in 1874. A railroad is being built that will run through the middle of the frontier town Rock Ridge. The railroad owner, Hedley Lamarr, wants to drive the people out of town so that he can buy the land cheap. The sheriff is killed when his men attack the town, so the townspeople write to the governor asking for a new sheriff. Hedley persuades the governor to appoint a black railroad worker called Bart as sheriff, since he knows that they will reject him because of his skin colour.

The film follows a solid plot, but in the last ten minutes it degenerates. I mean that as praise. The third wall isn't just broken, it's trampled underfoot. The characters break out of the film set and invade the rest of the studio. They attack the actors who are making other films. Eventually they break out of the studio and spill into Hollywood. The resulting chaos is nothing short of brilliant.

This is a film that has it all. It's a western with singing Nazis and pie fights. What else does a film need?

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