lw2326_large “Blazing Saddles” takes the rugged and rough stylings of western movies and uses is as it’s backdrop for highlighting the hypocrisy of the idea that Caucasian Americans are sole responsible creation of the US. It lures you in with the old myth of the grandeur of pioneer theme of setting of the film. Done in a classic satirical method, the scene is set in a dusty and old country side with classic folksy music. Indeed, the music reminds one of TV shows like “Bonanza” or Disney’s “Davy Crocket” movie.

Bonanza!
Bonanza!

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For first time viewers of this movie, it starts out feeling like a campy version of a run of the mill film on the indomitable frontier spirit.  However, the film quickly flips the concept of the old western on its head. The hero is not the silent, rough and tough white hero but rather a smart mouth, clever black man. To its polar opposite, the white folks in the film are borderline idiots; the point is emphasized almost as soon as the film starts out. In a scene where the ranch hands are attempting to teach the black workers how to sing songs to entertains them, the tables are quickly turned and their tricked into dancing around like fools for the group of black men to laugh at.

Racism is depicted everywhere throughout the film but rather then it come for as the abasing superior language, it comes off as feeble and pathetic, as perpetrated by ignorant people who only see color rather than the value of a man. This point is highlighted when the hero of the film is insulted by an old woman earlier in the film but later, after he saves the town, apologizes to the Sheriff for her racism. Ironically, her apology comes with the warning not to tell anyone one of it; her acceptance of a black man as Sheriff is still looked down upon by the townsfolk.

It also took a shot at sexuality and the stereotypical depiction of men being manipulated by women. Another attempt at taking down the Sheriff was to send a famous woman performer to seduce him but instead, she falls in love with him.  Once again, a classic western plot device is flipped on its head and the main character survives it, not because of his impeccable character or moral strength but because of his sexuality. Sex is the weapon in this battle but his “guns” are better than hers”. 

For subject matter, the movie uses a lot of comedy to make it palatable for the viewer. Scenes like where the Sheriff holds himself hostage to saves himself from a mob or he defeats an almost indestructible henchman with an exploding candy gram make the harsher reality of the film from scaring away the viewer with the deeper subject.  For every moment of seriousness, there is a moment of satirical humor to take the cruelty out of the moment and use it against itself. At the same time, it illustrates the foolishness of such thinking and pushes the film forward towards the more ridiculous.Sheriff-Cleavon-Hostage

Ultimately, the film ends with the director letting the audience know how ridiculous everything about this film is. The final battle breaks out and the fourth wall is broken as the brawl moves out from the set, into the film studio, and beyond.  The scenes change from breaking into another movie set, to the studio cafeteria, and eventually to a movie theater where the movie they are making is playing.  While in the film ends in a more traditional scene of the hero riding out to the sunset, he watched it with his sidekick in the theater;  A final reminder to the audience that the western ideal the film is satirizing only exist in the movie world.

Works Cited

Blazing Saddles. Warner Bros. Pictures, 1974. Film.
Davy Crockett. Walt Disney Productions, 1954. Film.
Bonanza. Platinum Disc Corp., 2003. DVD.
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