As part of my tiny Mel Brooks marathon this week, I also got to watch it. Maybe I would've loved it much more had I watched it as a kid, because I feel it really worked if you were under-16 or just lived in the 80's/90's. But I can still appreciate a lot of it, specially the amazing Cleavon Little. And that ending. What an ending.
A silly comedy that does a few smart things - especially questioning cinema's complicity in enforcing stereotypes and prejudice. I grew up enjoying Leslie Neilsen the most, and this is goofy but never as rapid as some of those films. I revisited this for Wilder, who is sadly underutilised. Too much time spent with villains and dames, characters who misguide the film. Enjoyable, good ending, not a classic for me.
Mel Brooks' classic parody of the western genre still works wonders as a satire on racial stereotyping. The wacky, unpredictable and endlessly quotable screenplay is the star of the show while Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little give good performances. It's not exactly high brow, but you can't fault Brooks for his originality and sly sense of wit. Also this film gets the award for 'Best Horse Punch in any film ever.'
The movie’s lesser free associations do not exactly work to the film’s advantage. The jokes stemming from the western or social material invariably work better than the random sex jokes, pop culture references, and infantile behavior, such as were prominent in scenes featuring Headley. Some years on, the movie is a bit of a mixed bag. The redemptive qualities of the film are largely social.