June 2nd, 2013
Mel Brooks
Blazing Saddles: The Art of the Stereotype (and turning it on its head)

Mel Brooks never met a stereotype he couldn’t upend.

The classic Hollywood cowboy is always white. Mel Brooks’s Hollywood cowboy is black. And his Indian chief speaks Yiddish.


Designer: Ricardo Galvez. Producer: Tom McNamara.

  • Native American Film Student

    This is an entertaining infographic with well-executed minimalist art. It brings up good points in an easy-to-read and an almost lighthearted way so as to touch on deeper issues in a non-offensive manner.

    However, I don’t agree with using John Ford’s Stagecoach as an example. This is mainly because of the following: Westerns that pre-date this film WERE mainly about Cowboys vs. the “Savage” Indians. However, in Stagecoach we hear the from the whore-with-a-heart-of-gold Dallas say “There are worse things than Apaches…” to the league of conservative old bitties who are running her out of town. John Ford moves away from making the “savages” the antagonists and moved the focus to white Western civilization. (Notice how all of the “morally corrupt antagonists” are the upstanding townsfolk, while the ones you root for are the whore and the outlaw.) In fact, at the end, John Wayne runs away with Dallas to Mexico and one of the characters comments on how they get to “escape the blessings of civilization”. Also, Stagecoach was one of the first Westerns to acknowledge different Native American tribes, instead of just calling all of them “Indians”.

    So, to make a long point short…I think this infographic is great, but it would hit home better with a more racist cowboy or Western director. (That isn’t to say it’s good point that the townsfolk ARE waiting for a John Wayne figure to show up, I just disagree with the use of Stagecoach as an example…) John Wayne in Ford’s films are actually pretty smart about touching on the issues of stereotypes, gender roles, and racism.

  • Chris Batson

    A true Classic!!!

  • Doug Brown

    Ummm, did you see Django Unchained? Might want to add it to your queue.


Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2015 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.