Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hello, Cowboy

Posted on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:22 AM

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Mel Brooks never met a genre he didn't want to mess with. But those old Westerns (spaghetti or otherwise) that played on TV Saturday afternoons were already pretty nuts. From Italians in red-face to hookers with hearts of gold, it's a wonder it took Brooks until 1974 to make his glorious sendup Blazing Saddles. See it in all its big-screen glory on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eureka Theater ($5).

And Brooks, with fellow screenwriter Richard Pryor, hits all the buttons on the elevator. Harvey Korman is the corrupt politician, Gene Wilder is the washed-up gunslinger, Madeline Kahn is the Dietrich-esque German saloon siren, Brooks shows up as a Yiddish-speaking Native American and Cleavon Little is the new African-American sheriff in town. Of course.

The one-liners, slapstick, sight gags and musical numbers are gold. Kahn's "I'm Tired" number all but steals the movie, which is saying something given the hams with whom she's working. The faint of heart should steel themselves for racist townspeople (it's the '70s and Pryor is on board, so brace for n-bombs, folks) and a guy punching out a horse. It's hilarious right to the beyond meta ending and the final ride into the sunset.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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