It’s a good thing Mel Brooks’ inspiration for “Blazing Saddles” struck in the early 1970s and not 2012. Had Brooks come up with the western genre spoof today, it wouldn’t pass muster at any major studio.
Brooks himself shared that sad truth during a visit to “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night. “Blazing Saddles” starred Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little, Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn in a zany send up of classic western films. And while “Superbad,” “Bridesmaids” and “Project X” push the boundaries of modern cinema, they couldn’t compare to the outrageous gags Brooks sprinkled throughout his 1974 comedy classic.
“It couldn’t be made today,” Brooks tells Kimmel flatly before launching into a classic story about an early preview of the film, and how a man high up at Warner Bros. told him to make some major cuts … or else.
“We had this preview, people went crazy. They laughed, they enjoyed it. Afterwards, he grabs me by the collar and shoves me into an office … and he says, “Okay, here’s a legal pad, here’s a pencil, take these notes…”
“N-word, OUT! We don’t say it. No punching a horse. Noooo punching a horse. Around the campfire, cut out the farting… out! It’s out! You can’t punch an old lady. Lily von Schtupp and the black sheriff … you can’t – OUT, OUT.”
So, OK. I said “Yes, sir, it’s gone. It never happened. Come back tomorrow, and it’s all out of the movie.” He leaves, and I crunch it up, and I go all the way across the room and I put it in the waste basket, and John Calley says ‘good filing!'”
I had final cut, so I said, ‘what do I care?'”