The best quotes from Blazing Saddles
Mel Brooks turns 95 today, so what better time to watch her funniest movie?
Flaming saddles is shocking today, but it has always been shocking. The central vanity of the western parody is to demystify the genre as completely as possible. The main result of this is that Brooks describes the typical heroes of the western – the mythical American cowboy and the god-fearing simple townspeople they protect – as scathing and hateful racists, as they probably would have been in real life. in the incredibly racist and hateful in the late 1800s. Some will find a film that tries to exploit the most shocking and painful slurs to make the humor fundamentally racist, especially a film written by four white men; his fifth writer was Richard Pryor, however, and it is his tradition of using comedy to openly criticize white America for its perpetual racism that informs Flaming saddles.
Yes, many undoubtedly laughed at the film for the wrong reasons. Yes, the guys at Fox News who complain that “you couldn’t do Flaming saddles today, ”as if his repeated use of the N word were the most important aspect of the film, might have some sharp leaves hanging in their closet. And you can certainly hold on Flaming saddles partly to blame for the “tongue-in-cheek racism” and the countless attempts to do something similar over the decades that followed that lacked a shred of the original’s wit or intelligence. Its heritage is absolutely mixed, and we can’t blame anyone who doesn’t like the film or thinks the way it approaches racism is counterproductive.
If you can accept that the film uses the language it uses for a very specific and very specific purpose, Flaming saddles is one of the funniest movies you will ever see. Brooks was at the height of his power as a writer and satirist, Cleavon Little feasted on the film role of his life, and Gene Wilder is brighter than ever in his catatonic portrayal of an alcoholic gunslinger. As with so many Brooks films, it’s flawlessly projected from top to bottom, with comedy pros like Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Brooks himself rubbing shoulders with familiar Western faces like Slim Pickens. Although not quite to the rhythm of the machine guns from the Zucker Abrahams Zucker films which began a few years later, Flaming saddles still has an almost overwhelming amount of jokes, Brooks and his co-authors urging them wherever possible. And like so much of Brooks’ work, it has a meta feel, with characters regularly referencing things and people that wouldn’t exist until the next century, and the whole movie spills into another movie. at the end.
Of course there is a parcel of lines in Flaming saddles that we would never say, type, or rehearse ourselves in any form of communication, and even if you haven’t seen the movie, you probably know exactly what we’re talking about. The film uses slurs throughout to poke fun at and comment on the history of widespread virulent racism in the United States, and while this can be shocking and hilarious in context, when separated from the film itself, these lines look like hate speech. There are also a few overtly homophobic lines that have aged much worse than the racial humor of the film. Reduce Flaming saddles these jokes do a disservice to the rest of the movie and the men who wrote it, including Brooks and Pryor, and one of the reasons this list exists is to point out that there is more to this movie than its most infamous lines.
So let’s go carefully as we go back and remember the best lines of Flaming saddles– or at least those that we would be comfortable enough to say or write ourselves.
Charlie: “They said you were hanged.”
Bart: “And they were right.”
Mel Brooks never encountered a double meaning – or a cock joke – that he didn’t like. So when Railroader Charlie sees that his friend and colleague Bart hasn’t been hanged, as he supposed, his surprise reaction is a perfect setup for Brooks and his writers to scratch both itches at the same time. Cleverly, the film doesn’t focus too much on the line; Cleavon Little throws it off in her reliable and cool manner and the conversation doesn’t skip a beat. Much of what Little says in Flaming saddles falls into that category of lines that I mentioned in the intro, but don’t let the lack of quotes from his character in this list make you think he’s not her star. He absolutely wears the movie, maintaining a constant tone of puzzled contempt behind his facade of affability, even though he’s constantly insulted by the people he’s trying to help. He’s clearly the smartest guy in the movie, and he clearly knows it.
Bart: “Well, Jim, since you’re my guest and I’m your host, what’s your pleasure? What do you love doing?”
Jim: “Oh, I don’t know. Play chess. [pause] To screw.”
Bart: “Well, let’s play chess.”
Jim: “Look at my hand. (He raises his right hand and keeps it perfectly still.)
Bart: “Stable like a rock. ”
Jim: (Raises his left hand, which twitches spasmodically.) “Yeah, but I’m shooting with this one.”
Jim: “Well, it all turned out so that all the prairie punks who thought they could shoot a gun were going into town to try the Waco Kid. I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille. It got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word “draw” in my sleep. Then one day, as I was walking down the street, I heard a voice behind me say, “Get to him, sir! I turned around and was there, face to face with a six year old. Well, I just threw my guns on the ground and left. The little bastard shot me in the ass. So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled into a bottle of whiskey… and have been there ever since.
Jim: (In response to Bart getting annoyed at how racist everyone is towards him, even though he goes out of his way to be polite to them) “What were you expecting? “Welcome, son”? ‘Make yourself at home’? “Marry my daughter”? You have to remember that these are just simple farmers. They are people of the earth. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.
Gene Wilder brings a calming presence to the comedic chaos of Flaming saddles with his performance as a stranded gunman Jim. Pretty much the only person in Rock Ridge who doesn’t immediately recoil at the sight of Bart, the former Waco Kid becomes a crucial ally in the new sheriff’s efforts to foil Hedley Lamarr’s plan. The whole scene where Wilder and Little first meet is a master class not only in comedy writing but also in acting, with Little sliding into the straight man role as Wilder and his eyes. brilliantly sad people weave their way through Jim’s tragic story.
Taggart: “What do you want me to do, sir?”
Hedley Lamarr: “I want you to round up all the vicious criminals and gunslingers in the west. Take that off. I want thieves, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, idiots, fools, idiots, vipers, snipers, crooks, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, thugs, bushes, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train thieves, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists.
Taggart: (finally finding something to write on) “Could you repeat that, sir?”
Governor Lepetomane: “Thank you, Hedy, thank you. ”
Hedley Lamarr: “It’s not Hédy, his Hedley. Hedley Lamarr.
Governor Lepetomane: “What the hell are you worried about?” We are in 1874. You can continue her. ”
Every good western needs a memorable villain, even if it’s a parody. Flaming saddles introduces Harvey Korman to his gooeyer as Hedley Lamarr, the accomplice lawyer who wants to force the people of Rock Ridge to flee so he can sell the land to a railroad company. The nervous Korman just has something innately unsympathetic about him, which makes him a perfect partner for the very likeable Tim Conway on The Carol Burnett Show. There is no Conway in Flaming saddles (he would get his western moment a few years later with The apple dumpling gang), but Korman is joined by the legendary cowboy actor (and Dr Strangelove nuke wrangler) Slim Pickens as his henchman Taggart, and Mel Brooks himself as the wayward, vain and easily duped Governor Lepetomane. And when corruption and old-fashioned chicane aren’t enough, and they need even more muscle to fuel their threats, Lamarr and Co. call …
Mongo: “Mongo only pawn… in the game of life. “
This isn’t the only line Alex Karras’ brutal executor has in Flaming saddles, but it’s the only one he’s ever needed, as it sums up the whole character in seven conscious words. Mongo realizes that his own destiny is simply to be used as a tool by those with more power and intelligence than him; It takes his unfortunate encounter with Bart to make Mongo understand that he doesn’t have to blindly obey Lamarr, and he ultimately helps Bart and Jim bring down his former boss. Oh, and it wasn’t a cue, but it’s clear that Mongo hitting a horse is about as hilarious as horse violence is.
Lili Von Shtupp: “I stand here, the goddess of desire / Set men on fire / I have this power / Morning, noon and night is to lie down and dance / A few quick women / And then a shower. / The Johnnies at the stage door were constantly enveloping me. / They’re still stalking me / Vith vone wequest. / Who can satisfy their lustful habit? / I’m not a wabbit! / I need to pee.
I am tired, sick and tired of love. / I filled it with love / From below and above. / Tired, tired of being admired / Tired of uninspired love. / Let’s face it, I’m tired. / I have known thousands of men / Again and again / They give the moon / They always come and go / and come and go / And it happens too soon. OK girls ? / I’m tired, tired of playing the game. / Isn’t that a stinging shame? I am so tired. / Damn, I’m exhausted.
Lili Von Shtupp: “Hello, handsome, is that a ten gallon hat or are you just enjoying the show?”
Madeline Kahn reminds the world that she was just the best in turn as Lili Von Shtupp, the (very, very tired) showgirl that Lamarr commissions to seduce Bart. Von Shtupp’s supposedly sexy song is all about how exhausting men are and their obsession with sex, as the point goes way over the heads of all the horny cowboys in the audience. Kahn reveals how thin the line is between sultry and listless Garbo-esque depression, redefining the stereotypical seductress in lingerie from a woman’s perspective.