There is something to be said about a comedy so outrageous and offensive that it is a masterpiece of cinema. That has always been the legacy of Blazing Saddles. The classic Mel Brooks western that is deemed so offensive that it could never be made today. At the same point, it is considered a classic of modern cinema.
It is fair to keep in mind that the offensiveness of the film lies in the modern culture’s inability to understand nuance. What makes the film a caricature of post-Civil War mentality so insensitive is the race relations and use of the n-word. It is important to understand that the film is designed to parody racism of the early seventies.
The country had just come out of the turbulent sixties, where race relations were the cornerstone of American politics. Brooks was attempting to make racists look as silly as the Nazi party. Let’s be honest, Nazis are as silly to any rational minded human as racism. Remember, Bart is the smartest person in the film.
You know… Morons.
Brooks’ use of modern tropes and dialogue allowed the film to play with the narrative. Using terms like “dazzling urbanite” or the fact that Bart won’t get credit for creating the exploding telegram. Along on the liberal ride was the Waco Kid, who didn’t care about Bart’s race. Lest we forget that they bonded over a joint in the morning.
Blazing Saddles is fun for people that get the joke. If the movie offends you, that is the market that Brooks was trying to get at. It was the concept that racism is silly and we need to get over ourselves. So have some beans and give a listen to The Extended Play Movie Podcast #65: Blazing Saddles.
“Prevues of Coming Attractions” (HD Remaster) – RamtroStudios