|Warner Bros. | Release Date: February 7, 1974||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
It's a crazed grabbag of a movie that does everything to keep us laughing except hit us over the head with a rubber chicken. Mostly, it succeeds. It's an audience picture; it doesn't have a lot of classy polish and its structure is a total mess. But of course! What does that matter while Alex Karris is knocking a horse cold with a right cross to the jaw? Read full review
No comic trope, however musty or studded with whiskers, is off limits, including bad puns, physical shtick, pie fights, goofy names and accents, song-and-dance numbers, Jewish Indians, or just having a bunch of cowpokes farting around the campfire. Some of the jokes drop like lead, but the film's anarchic spirit carries a lot of excitement, because Brooks' anything-goes philosophy means that no comedic possibilities go unconsidered. Read full review
Like its many raucous predecessors, Blazing Saddles is a thing of bits and bits—some good, some awful—pinned to a story line that sags like a tenement clothesline. The movie tends to improve in the retelling, as memory edits out ineptitudes, the better to dwell on moments of glory... But goldarned if it doesn't work. Goldarned if the whole fool enterprise is not worth the attention of any moviegoer with a penchant for what one actor, commenting on another's Gabby Hayes imitation, calls "authentic western gibberish." Read full review
Although Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder head a uniformly competent cast, pic is handily stolen by Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn. Kahn is simply terrific doing a Marlene Dietrich lampoon...Rest of cast is fine, although Little’s black sheriff doesn’t blend too well with Brooks’ Jewish-flavored comic style. Wilder is amusingly low-key in a relatively small role.
Much of the laughter Mr. Brooks inspires is hopeful, before-the-gag laughter, which can be terribly tiring...Blazing Saddles has no dominant personality, and it looks as if it includes every gag thought up in every story conference. Whether good, bad, or mild, nothing was thrown out. Read full review
What really lessens SADDLES is that its intentions aren't clear. Its humor provoked no thinking; insensitive moviegoers assumed the racial put-downs and cowboy crudeness were deliberate. The public loved the film--it stands as the highest grossing western in history--$45 million plus! But they loved it for all the wrong reasons. Read full review