Mel Brooks' classic cowboy comedy, Blazing Saddles, was a trailblazer in parody comedy, as well as social issues being addressed through that very same lens. On top of all of that, it's one of the funniest comedies that's ever existed, and for that reason alone, it should never be remade. But say that the film did not exist back then, and was a project that existed as a fresh take on comedy today? According to Mel Brooks, that'd never happen, for one simple reason: political correctness. He said as much during a recent radio interview, as the legendary comedian explained his feelings as follows:
It's not hard to see why Brooks, the man behind such films as The Producers or History of the World: Part I would consider the current climate of the world to be adverse towards such a film as Blazing Saddles. With everything from casting decisions to entire concepts of TV and film projects under scrutiny, there would always be a chance that something similar to the original intent of the Mel Brooks classic would be protested by a number of groups that feel it represents one group or another unfairly.
Blazing Saddles does feature jokes against everyone from the KKK and the Nazi party to the people of the Western frontier, and even African Americans, government officials, women, and the LGBTQ community, and in today's context some of those may not land as easily as they did back in 1974. The fact that Mel Brooks was the writer and director who took on such edgy and complicated material probably makes it less likely it would get made today too. The studio would likely be really nervous about how it would turn out and be received. That being said, it's not an entirely certain proposition that a new version of Blazing Saddles would be written off as a project really trying to offend any particular group. But you could definitely see where the cracks in the film's armor would be in a more modern context.
It's hard to tell if a new version of Blazing Saddles would suffer as horrible a fate as Mel Brooks told the BBC program Best of Today that it would. But the take away from this whole discussion really should be that while social discourse is always evolving, so is the true nature of comedy. If Blazing Saddles existed today, it wouldn't be the same film, as it would be born out of a different source of social satire. While the "lecherous elf" of comedy is always going to have something to say, what it has to say is usually informed by the current times. There will always be voices to walk that thin edge between insult and insight in the world of comedy, and the movie-going public will always be there to keep a watchful eye on what they feel the difference to be, according to the modern litmus test.
Whether or not you enjoy Blazing Saddles, it's still available for you to watch through various platforms. And that's something we can definitely tell you with authority.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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