Showing posts with label Slim Pickens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slim Pickens. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western-Comedy written and directed by Mel Brooks. One of Brooks’ many parody films, Blazing Saddles was a huge box office hit, becoming only the tenth film in history to pass the $100 million mark upon its release. It opened to mixed reviews but is now generally regarded as a classic. The film takes place in the Old West in 1874 where the peaceful town of Rock Ridge is under siege from a crocked State Attorney General (Harvey Korman) who wants to clear the town in order to build his new railroad through it. The local townsfolk decide to send for a Sheriff and the Governor (who is under the control of the Attorney General) sends a black man (Cleavon Little) in the hope that his presence in the little, all while town will send the residents fleeing faster than any gun slinging cowboy could.

Like most people, I have seen Blazing Saddles before. It’s one of those films that you’ve probably seen bits of, even if you’ve never heard of it. The beans scene for instance will be instantly recognisable to everyone. The one and only time that I saw the film before today was probably about fifteen years ago, before my voice (and other things) had dropped. I remember laughing a lot at the film and thought I was well over due a second watch. Disappointingly I didn’t laugh much this time. I chuckled occasionally and liked the whole idea of the film but much of the humour either went over my head or under my nose.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 satirical black comedy which was co-written, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. A hit on its initial release and widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, Dr. Strangelove lampoons the Cold War fear of and attitude towards Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), the idea that if one side were to bomb the other then the other side would retaliate and so on until both were destroyed. Although a seemingly brave subject matter for a comedy it is in fact part of a long line of films which poke fun at serious issues of the day. Both M.A.S.H. and more recently Team America: World Police have managed to find humour in solemn subjects but a very strong argument can be made that Dr. Strangelove is the greatest of them all.

The plot concerns a wayward and mentally disturbed US Air Force General who sends his squadron of B-52 bombers, armed with nuclear bombs towards Russian targets and then closes down all lines of communication and removes all abort codes. With the world close to its end, various men attempt to halt the planes from reaching their targets. British actor Peter Sellers plays no less than three characters here, and plays them all brilliantly. He performs as RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake who attempts to persuade the wayward General Jack D. Ripper (Stirling Hayden) to stop as well as playing US President Merkin Muffley who is in the War Room and his wheelchair bound ex-Nazi advisor Dr. Strangelove.