Friday, December 4, 2009

The Passions of the Other Mel

I had started reviewing Mel Gibson when I realized that his contributions were already covered in previous blogs(When Actors Direct & Once Was Definitely Enough), so rather then lose the killer title I am adapting it for Mel Brooks.

The Producers (1968)  I was an early fan of Mel Brooks and had loved "The Producers" decades before it was became an Off-Broadway musical sensation. The release of the musical is good, with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick providing wonderful performances, but Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder will always be my favorite Bialystock and Bloom.  Dick Shawn's LSD was a terrific salute to a bygone perception of the flower child.
Blazing Saddles (1974)  The first Brooks movie I ever saw and what a wonderful nonPC comedy.  With great performances all around.

Young Frankenstein (1974)  Mel Brooks broke the mold when he parodied the iconic genre film when he did this one.  From Gene Wilder's Dr. Fronk-en-steen, to Marty Feldman's Eye-Gor, to the Frau Blücher (hear those horses?) of Cloris Leachman and Peter Boyle's Monster this one is a keeper.  Must not shortchange Madeliene Kahn and her hot rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. 

Although Mel continued to provide laughs in his movies into the 90's they just were not up to the caliber of these three comic masterpieces.

Notable Exception:  A bit different from his other straight-forward comedy's is his "Twelve Chairs" with Ron Moody and a very young Frank Langella


  1. I'm actually in the middle of Young Frankenstein right now. I have to say I am surprised that I like it as well as I do. Not sure why, I just went into this one with a pre-supposed disposition.

    Keep up the good work!

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