There are certain films that hold a unique place in history… and
Hollywood had better keep their grubby, remaking mitts off of them!
While the trend to “re-imagine” or “re-envision” everything around them
has been going on for some time, these films have so far managed to
escape the fate of some of their less fortunate compatriots. I speak of
course of…

SACRED COWS
The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.

These films are not just near and dear to our hearts, they should be
considered OFF-LIMITS to those jerks at the studios. The films on this
list were special when they premiered and continue to be so today, and
we’re going to explain why they shouldn’t be remade – as well as why
they can’t be. So enough jabbering, on with the list!

Day Five

Blazing Saddles (1974)


DIRECTED BY: Mel Brooks
WRITTEN BY: Mel Brooks. Richard Pryor. Andrew Bergman. Norman Steinberg. Alan Uger.
STARRING: Gene Wilder. Cleavon Little. Mel Brooks. Harvey Korman. John Hillerman. Slim Pickens. Madeline Kahn.

THE SACRED RUNDOWN



“Qualifications?”
“Rape, murder, arson, and rape!”
“You said ‘rape’ twice.”
“I like rape.”

Mel Brooks takes on the Wild West in this madcap (my DVD review from back in the day) stroke of near perfection that showcases so many great jokes and so many different artists at the peak of their game it ought to be the foundation for some required film history class. Something folks should be forced to watch before renting something like School for Scoundrels or Bedtime Stories.



“”Mornin’, ma’am. And isn’t it a lovely mornin?”
“Up yours, nigger.”

Thinking they’ll be able to get a small town to comply with their wills and evacuate, greedy land prospectors appoint a slave (Cleavon Little, amazing and sadly a talent who never really was able to parlay this role into more) to be sheriff. It backfires when the creative and cunning man befriends a drunk gunslinger (Gene Wilder, in his prime right before the masterpiece Young Frankenstein) and together they bond the town together against the bad guys.

Like the plot matters. It’s the plot of half the Westerns in Brooks’ loving crosshairs.

This is a creative outpouring of social comedy, satire, and whatever else Mel and his army of witty men (Richard Pryor didn’t as much write as collaborate and almost star in the movie though many of his ideas are evident in the finished film) could conjure and the result is a glorious slice of old school Hollywood spat through the ol’ Brook meatgrinder.



“Well, Jim, since you are my guest and I am your host, what’s your pleasure? What do you like to do?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Play chess… screw…”
“Well, let’s play chess.”

  • Gene Wilder’s laid back and cool shaky hand gunslinger.
  • Cleavon Little’s suave and charismatic leading man.
  • Harvey Korman’s scheming and comically inept villain.
  • Mongo, the monosyllabic animal of a man.
  • Gabby Johnson, the undecipherable.
  • Mel Brooks’ way over-the-top politician.
  • Madeline Kahn’s sultry, sexy, and clueless carabet damn.
  • And Slim Pickens’ unforgettable stooge.

So many people doing their thing in very different ways melded together into perfection, and seeing how some of the best moments are handled in one take (Korman in particular is a virtuoso), it’s performance art and high comedy and the best of showbiz all rolled into one.

THE REASON IT’S SACRED

Whatever your sense of humor is, there’s something that’ll speak to you. That’s very hard to achieve. Fans of Rob Schneider can’t turn In the Loop on and get it and fans of The Brass Eye probably don’t care much for Reno 911 (though I’m obviously generalizing). Blazing Saddles‘ secret sauce is its balance of humor. There’s some big broad stuff (including the famous campfire scene). There’s sight gags (the line of crooks waiting in line to register is amazing). There’s ethnic humor that skewers any and all without concern, and it never insults its subjects and instead shines a light on our own inherent flaws. There’s slapstick (Mongo punching the horse was a big favorite by folks to my puzzlement). There’s topical humor (Hedly Lamarr, Wide World of Sports, Etc.). There’s Mel’s traditional breaking of the fourth wall…

..and there’s the climactic ‘The French Mistake’ musical number, which is gloriously bonkers.


Best sound effect of all time.


ICONIC MOMENTS
  • The sheriff rides into town, and the townsfolk react to his ethnicity. Slightly.
  • Black Bart meets The Waco Kid.
  • Lili Von Shtupp’s ‘I’m Tired’ routine.
  • The quicksand scene.
  • Rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers – and Methodists are summoned.
  • You name it, basically.
WHY A REMAKE WOULD MAKE ME RUN OFF SCREAMING

Everything about this movie is tied to its era. There could not have been a better time for Blazing Saddles. Old Hollywood was dying or dead and Mel Brooks was giving a nice send-off. The racial humor, though razor sharp and smart as hell, would not have had the same life a decade later. Or ever again. Adding to the fact that these jokes are of a time and place and hardwired to Mel Brooks’ legacy in Hollywood there’s the reality that though this is grafted to the foundation of comedy’s history it can inspire and intimidate but never be replicated. Even by Brooks himself, as proven in later years.

WHAT WOULD PLATINUM DUNES DO (WWPDD)?




Michael Bay’s been producing remakes all over town, using his Platinum
Dunes company as a front. So naturally he’d be the logical choice to
spearhead any attempt at remaking this classic. How would it pan out,
you ask?

  • David Gordon Green and Judd Apatow would be beaten out by Jared Hess, who pitches the film as a Slacker Western and gives everyone Gentleman Broncos swag in the meeting to sweeten them.
  • Glenn Morshower cast as Hedley Lamarr.
  • ‘The Waco Kid’ played by John Heder. Instead of a liquor problem he’s addicted to Colecovision.
  • Black Bart played by Jack Black in Jack Blackface.
  • Inexplicably, all slaves played by Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.
  • ‘The French Mistake’ replaced by a rave.
BOVINE MISCELLANY

The very weird Black Bart TV pilot with Louis Gossett, Jr. that was based on the first version of the script for Blazing Saddles (which is a special feature on the DVD for the movie) is an example of just how seminal and irreplaceable this set of events and talent is.

REBUTTAL:

None. We agree!


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