The Satire of Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles, a Mel Brooks film, is a perfect example of satire. The main object of the movie is to make fun of the western genre of films. Mel Brooks is notorious for his satires of many different films and film genres, and Blazing Saddles follows true to form. Many of the film’s ideas and problems are common in most westerns, although Mel Brooks has added a twist. In addition, the movie pokes fun at a more modern theme, racism.
Many westerns contain some of the same elements. For instance, almost every western ever made involves a sheriff. He is usually the peace-keeper of a small town overrun by outlaws and cowboys, which he eventually chases out of town or kills. Another element of westerns is a gunslinger. A gunslinger is usually a young man who makes his living shooting other men in showdowns, a classic example is Billy the Kid. Railroads are also a recurring image in westerns. Since the railroad was the major mode of transportation in the old west, it is always present in westerns. Finally, westerns always have a villain. The villain, usually a man, dresses very slick and will stop at nothing in his quest for power. In addition, the villain usually has a gang to carry out his dastardly deeds. The gang is usually full of incompetent, but loyal thugs, who would love to destroy a small town just for the pleasure of wanton destruction. The elements of a western are very simple, but easily manipulated into a very interesting plot.
Blazing Saddles contains all the elements of a stereotypical western, only with a twist. Like most westerns, Blazing Saddle has a sheriff, but he is black. African-Americans usually do not have major roles in westerns. Next, he is persuaded to save a town; even though, the citizens hate him. An example of this, is when he greets an elderly woman, she replies, “Up yours, nigger,” which illustrates her dislike of the new black sheriff. In most westerns, the sheriff is the favored citizen everyone loves, except the outlaws. An example of this is in the film is that the townsfolk automatically remove their hats and bow their heads when someone mentions the name Randolph Scott, a favorite western sheriff. Whenever Bart, the sheriff, is mentioned the townsfolk cringe. Furthermore, the movie includes a gunslinger. He is stereotypical, except for the twist that he is old and an alcoholic, rather than a cocky young cowboy. The sheriff finds him in a jail cell, and recruits him as a sidekick. In addition, the railroad is present throughout Blazing Saddles. The sheriff starts the movie as a railroad worker, before becoming the...