not in our stars, but in ourselves
The other day, after I’d finished watching The Blue Angel, I was feeling appropriately blue myself. It was a boring Thursday night, and all I had was a Subway sandwich and the conviction that everything is just horrible all the time (Weimar-era cinema is bad for my health, but I’m not giving it up, so there). But fate was smiling on me that night: while channel-surfing and thinking about how Subway is about the saddest fast food there is, I happened upon Blazing Saddles (1974). Reader! Imagine my delighted grin at the beneficence of the television gods for bringing me Mel Brooks, and their delicious sense of irony for showing me the Mel Brooks movie with Lili von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn): the world’s greatest Dietrich impersonation.
I won’t lie to you: Blazing Saddles is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is probably my favorite Mel Brooks film. Young Frankenstein (1974) is a better film, for sure, but nothing makes me laugh as stupidly much as Blazing Saddles. My mother and I are great and prolific quoters of any number of scenes. You may or may not have noticed that my first post derives its title from Lili’s greeting when Hedley Lamarr knocks at her door: “Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in.” Other favorites:
It’s not highbrow, but it’s AWESOME. One of my friends once asked whom we’d want to direct if our lives were movies, and she came up with the best answer of them all: Mel Brooks.
One note about watching it on TV: I’m in Australia, and I’ve been consistently pleased by Australian conventions about swearing on television. That is to say that if it’s after a certain hour in the evening, they just let it all stay in the movie. Once I was watching Blazing Saddles on TV in the States, and the hackjob to cover up the swearing was just absurd. “Land…land…land. See: [GRAB].” Sigh. Of course, all instances of the n-word remained intact. There was another time I was watching Snakes on a Plane (2006, and don’t you sass me) on TV. The line that is the ENTIRE POINT of the film – “I have HAD it with these muthafuckin’ snakes on this muthafuckin’ plane!” – was altered to this: “I have HAD it with these monkey-fightin’ snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane!” I mean, full points for ingenuity, but ugh. Really? Why play it on TV at all?
Fortunately, Australia, being a rather sweary country in many ways, understands that coarse language isn’t worth the trouble of butchering a film. There are other topics in filmdom that are regular problems according to Australia’s moral guardians, but lucky for me, a few blue words aren’t among them. (I may post about Australia’s peculiar classification mores in the future, but I’ll spare you for now.)
There’s nothing to liven up a listless Thursday night like a little anarchy and mayhem. If I’m really good, maybe the TV-programming gods will reward my next dull evening in with the Marx Brothers.