Yesterday I revisited a couple favorites from my little apartment dvd library that I was reminded to see due to a few recent celebrity deaths. I saw Blazing Saddles (1974) and Time Bandits (1981) in honor of Gene Wilder and Kenny Baker.
I don't remember first seeing Blazing Saddles, if I was young, or in college but I also don't remember a time when I didn't think of it as a movie I really liked. It must have been on Comedy Central when I was in high school, and I must have seen an uncensored version much later, so it would have been like seeing the same movie for the first time, more than once. It's a classic, I don't think it'll be hard for me to give it 5 stars on letterboxd.
Blazing Saddles is odd for its structure. It gets so chaotic and the story falls into the most genre specific part of the movie when the town is being attacked, but the chaos is heightened by falling out of the movie into the studio lot. For some reason, this never felt strange to me. It should be off putting or unnatural to the movie, but it has always felt like something I kind of expected could happen in any movie. I have a feeling I must have seen Blazing Saddles or some other Mel Brooks movies when I was little and it seeped into my subconscious as being something normal. I have a feeling I saw a lot of Space Balls when I was little and there is a taste of that aspect of stepping outside the movie in that film.
Time Bandits is another movie that I actually watched a bit when I was little off of TV. I was pretty scared by the evil characters, especially the henchmen with the plastic ponchos and horns on their heads, when I was little and they seemed to cross into my nightmares. It is, however, much more of the style of fantasy that I am interested in delving in to. I really liked Erik The Viking and I often get the two movies confused with each other. I was expecting a scene of a sinking island in Time Bandits on this viewing before realizing it is really in Erik the Viking.
This is a funny movie, I feel like it has done very well as a cult movie in the last 30 years or so, but there's something odd about the crediting of the actors in this movie. Like I said, I saw this because of Kenny Baker, a little person actor also well known for being R2-D2, and this is one of his biggest roles where he also shows his face for the whole movie. He has one of the emotional lead roles in the movie, and David Rappaport who plays the main Time Bandit is a true lead. Frankly, Rappaport is a dashing lead man in this movie. Jack Purvis plays a character actor part, the bearded Bandit, stars with an amazingly expressive face who brings a lot of character to the film, as well. These three actors are very much the leads with the child actor, but the Blu-Ray box does not list any of the little people on the bottom of the back of the site, and the wikipedia page for the movie lists 11 actors at the top as "starring" and only lists Rappaport out of those three, and he is eighth on the list.
Sadly, from this little wikipedia research I learned that Rappaport and Purvis had troubles late in life. Director Terry Gilliam wanted to make a Time Bandits sequel but thoughts of production were halted due to Purvis becoming a quadriplegic from a car accident and Rappaport committed suicide at the age of 38 after suffering from depression.
There is a lot of behind the scenes sadness from the deaths from the actors in both movies from Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Blazing Saddles to Kenny Baker, Jack Purvis and David Rappaport in Time Bandits, but these movies are also snapshots of some of the happiest times of these people's lives and they aren't works of art to cry over in sadness.