Friday, May 30, 2008
Whirling transient nodes of thought careening thru a cosmic vapor of invention
I have no personal anecdotes or strange associations to relate, nothing special to say here. It's just that Blazing Saddles has always been of nearly religious significance in my family -- no, screw that, it was totally religious for us, no "nearly" about it, that movie is what my family followed instead of deity or church or religion. So the passing of another of its stars is something I must acknowledge with considerable regret and reluctance.
Even when Harvey Korman wasn't the actor doing the "funny" thing in a scene, he's still the center of attention, but without upstaging any of the other performers. See for instance here, but it's the case all throughout Blazing Saddles -- even when he's performing with Mel Brooks. The people around Hedley Lamarr are all insane, but it's his withering glare and icy putdowns that get the laughs. I don't know anything about acting, but it seems like he was was genuinely paying attention to the others in the scene with him, responding to them and not just waiting for his next funny line, and that's why those scenes work so well. In this film Korman pulled off one of the best comedic performances recorded on film, and I hope he's remembered for that (and a few dozen other times he did the same) instead of only as the guy who kept cracking up at Tim Conway on The Carol Burnett Show. That always bugged the hell out of me.
And I may be the only person who feels this way, but I'm also inordinately fond of his performance as Colonel Slaghoople in Viva Rock Vegas -- the second and infinitely superior live-action Flintstones movie -- a minor yet warmhearted role in which he gets a comedic bit that may be silly and completely throwaway but never fails to crack me up because of his perfect off-the-cuff delivery.
Also, he once performed a touching romantic scene with Bea Arthur.
at 12:59 AM