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#QueerQuote: “‘Excuse Me While ns Whip This Out.” – Bart, “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

By Stephen Rutledge top top June 28, 2020 4:44 am


Warner Bros (1974) via YouTube

Cleavon Little (1939-1992) illustrated Sheriff Bart in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles (1974), which brought him a BAFTA nomination. He started his job in the late 1960s top top the stage. In 1970, that starred in the Broadway production of the musical Purlie (1970) to win both a Drama workdesk Award and a Tony Award.

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Blazing Saddles, a film the probably might not it is in made in our very own politically exactly era, started as story summary by Andrew Bergman that he intended to produce himself. The was titled Tex-X, a pat on Malcolm X‘s name. Alan Arkin to be hired to direct with James Earl Jones play the sheriff. Brooks liked the story and also purchased the film civil liberties from Bergman. Brooks brought in a group of writers and posted a large sign: “Please carry out not write a polite script.

Brooks come up through the name Blazing Saddles while acquisition a shower one morning.

Richard Pryor to be Brooks’ original selection to play the Sheriff Bart, yet the studio, claiming his history of drug arrests made him uninsurable, refused to grant financing through Pryor together the star. Little was cast in the role, and Pryor stayed on together a writer. Brooks readily available the other leading role, the Waco Kid, to John Wayne; that declined, deeming the film as well dirty, but assured Brooks that “he would certainly be the first one in line to see it.” Gig Young was cast, but he broke down during his first scene from alcohol tap the money syndrome. Gene Wilder changed him. Johnny Carson turned under the duty of Hedley Lamarr function before Harvey Korman was cast. Madeline Kahn objected once Brooks inquiry to see her legs throughout her audition. Brooks:

“She said, ‘So it’s THAT type of one audition?’ I described that ns was a happily married man and that I essential someone who could straddle a chair with her legs prefer Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again. So, she lifted she skirt and said, ‘No touching."”


Little and Kahn via YouTube


Kahn together Lili Von Shtupp, via YouTube

Brooks had actually numerous conflicts with Warner Bros over the constant use of the N-word, add to Lili Von Shtupp’s (Kahn) seduction scene, the farting around the campfire, and Mongo (Alex Karras) punching a horse. Brooks, who contract provided him last control, declined to make any changes, except for cut Bart’s final line throughout Lili’s seduction:

“I hate to disappointed you, ma’am, however you’re sucking mine arm.”

When inquiry later about the usage of the N-word, Brooks stated he received constant support native Pryor and also Little. He newly wrote:

“If they did a work again, please again of Blazing Saddles today, they would leave the end the N-word. And also then, you’ve acquired no movie.”

Brooks stated he received numerous letters of complaint after the film’s release, many of them were from white people.

The people premiere that Blazing Saddles remained in February 1974, at the Pickwick Drive-In theatre in Burbank. 250 invite guests, including little and Wilder, watched the movie on horseback.

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Film star Hedy Lamarr sued Warner Bros., charging that the film’s to run parody the her name infringed top top her ideal to privacy. Brooks stated he to be flattered; the studio worked out out that court for a little sum and an apology because that “almost using her name.” Brooks claimed that Lamarr “never obtained the joke.”


Blazing Saddles grossed $120 million, becoming only the tenth film up to that time to pass the $100 million mark. The film received three Academy Award nominations: best Supporting Actress because that Madeline Kahn, finest Film Editing, and Best original Song. The film also earned 2 BAFTA awards nominations, for little and finest Screenplay. It won the Writers Guild of America Award for original Screenplay for writers Brooks, Bergman and also Pryor.