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High Anxiety (1977) – Mel Brooks countdown #4

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Concept: Do a spoof of Hitchcock's thrillers

Vertigo (the 'high anxiety'!) sufferer Dr Mel Brooks is appointed as the new head of the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous. Dr Harvey Korman expected to get the job and it is soon clear that he and his chief nurse (and BDSM Mistress) Cloris Leachman are up to no good, including framing Brooks for murder…

What’s good: What makes this work so well are the characters, particularly Leachman's Nurse Diesel and Korman's Dr Montague.

Most of the Hitchcock spoof elements.

The script generally.

What’s not so good: I can't think of anything.

Music: Another good one from John Morris, with one particularly good musical joke.

Miscellany: Films specifically made fun of include The 39 Steps, Spellbound, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds.

Overall: This is another one which works in its own right, as well as working as a parody. You can laugh at the shower scene without having seen Psycho, for example.. it'll just be better if you have.

What went wrong after this one? The scripts weren't as good and comedy had moved on. By the time of Brooks' next film, the dire History.., the instant classic Airplane! had happened.

TL;DR The last of his great films

Film: 4/5
DVD: 2/5

Trailer only, again.

Written by Ian

November 11th, 2013 at 10:48 am

Posted in Cinema,Countdown,DVDs

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