Blazing Saddles (1974)
John Wayne was reported to have been offered a part in Blazing Saddles. After reading the script he called back and said “I can’t be in this, it’s too dirty… but I’ll be first in line to go see it when it comes out.” Imagining Wayne in the Wilder role makes me glad he turned it down. The other casting question that often comes up is why Richard Pryor did not play the part of the black sheriff in the film. That one apparently came down to a studio call, which is unfortunate since Wilder and Pryor had fantastic chemistry, but mostly wasted it in awful movies. This would have been the exception. Cleavon Little of course more than handled that part, and definitely brought more straight man elements into it, so perhaps one should not even think of hypothetically messing with a classic. In any event, this is one of my all time favorites. Mel Brooks was in peak form. All of the jokes in this movie work. This movie brought the same edge and carefree attitude that Seth McFarlane successfully captured in Family Guy a few decades later, and failed to capture in his own western project “A Thousand Ways to Die in the West”…. It’s impossible to review this without spoiling the best parts, which have all become classic to the point of cliché at this point, such as the bean scene, anything involving Mongo, Little’s character holding himself hostage etc… For me, this is the best comedy of the 20th century, and has yet to be topped even today.
(Return of the…) Daily Inquiry: What is your favorite comedy of the 20th century?