Strange but true: before the dark days of Robin Hood: Men In Tights or Dracula: Dead And Loving It, parody-lover Mel Brooks was capably delivering more hits than misses. Biggest among them (in box-office terms, at least) was Blazing Saddles, a rowdy send-up of the Western genre that clings on to 'classic' status thanks to a cracking concept (using the Old West to lampoon racism in '70s America) and Brooks' flair for broad visual comedy and spluttery one-liners.
Despite one uncomfortably dated moment of stereotype-trading (all black men are well-hung!), the former element - involving Cleavon Little's sheriff attempting to overcome the prejudices of the frontier community he's trying to save - remains the stronger. With the help of an excellent cast, Brooks deftly balances the `serious' theme with the extremely silly humour (campfire farting, punching out a horse...).
Sadly, however, Brooks runs out of gags in the second half of the movie. Seemingly panicked, he eventually opts for a daft, overkill climax as his cast embark on an ill-conceived, custard pie-throwing rampage through Warner Studios and out into modern-day Hollywood. Result? A movie that neither blazes or misfires, falling somewhere between the horrors of Spaceballs and the genius of Young Frankenstein.