Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Madeline Kahn

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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There are not many actresses in my opinion that are truly funny but can still be attractive I know a feminist would say what’s that got to do with it but I’m a feminist in my own way and if you said that about men nobody would make a fuss. What I mean is I suppose that some people play the clown to make up for the fact that there not a conventional looker and don’t have guys falling over each other to get in their drawers but old Madeline had both.

She had leading parts in several Mel Brooks films I first saw her in Blazing Saddles which is pretty funny all round but she really dominates it in parts as the saloon bar singer Lili von Schtupp I think the character is based on Marlene Dietrich but she really was before my time so I can’t say for sure.

Blazing Saddles is a spoof western and this little town appoints a black sheriff and the local bigwigs want Lili to seduce and abandon him (that’s exactly how they put it). So the makeup and costumes people make Madeline look as sexy as hell which isn’t hard but she’s wearing a dress with a slit up the side that makes her legs look a mile long. She’s doing a speech impediment which you wouldn’t be allowed to do nowadays for PC reasons she just can’t say her Rs and says W instead so she calls him shewiff. And she seduces the guy and bangs the living daylights out of him or gets him to do it to her I suppose but anyway he ends up shattered and she ends up falling for him.

This was in the mid 70s when racial integration was not as big as it is now get me  with my big words I mean you didn’t see white women with black guys and they make a big thing of it if you pardon the pun. She goes, “Is it twue what they say about how you people are… gifted?” so he shows her and she says “It’s twue, it’s twue, it’s twue!” Well you know girls it is twue of some guys but it ain’t the be all and end all is it and I know some black girls who are parshall to muscling in on my territory I don’t know what difference does it make? I’m an Irish Indian, by the way. Cork Asian.

Anyways that’s just one scene and they had a black guy on the team of writers Richard Pryor the comedian I suppose to check the language was orthodontic if that’s the word.

Madeline does this song and dance and she’s great because she could really sing it’s about how tired she is from being a whore.

This isn’t really showing you how funny she was I suppose you have to watch it you can see that clip on YouTube.

The same year Madeline was in another Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein when apparently she turned down the big female part of Frankenstein’s assistant (Teri Garr did it) because she thought one of the small parts was funnier, so she’s this posh, spoilt fiancée who won’t let her man kiss her cos it will spoil her lipstick and he can’t stroke her hair or anything so they end up touching elbows.

And in High Anxiety she’s an heiress or something who’s supposed to be in love with the Mel Brooks character and he phones her and gets strangled and she thinks it’s a dirty phone call. That’s here:

She was great, wasn’t she? She did loads of other stuff on TV, film and stage and died of ovarian cancer at the age of 57 in 1999. I don’t have many heroines but she’s one.