Flashback Friday: History of the World: Part I (1981)

Mel Brooks is a legend for a reason. His comedy is hilarious, gut-busting, not exactly politically correct, and has kept generations of fans entertained.

His 1981 film, History of The World: Part I is a series of short stories about various times in world history told as only Brooks can. The list of co-stars is impressive (many of whom starred in multiple Brooks movies): Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, etc.

Like all Mel Brooks productions, the movie is highly laughable and highly quotable. Every time I put this one on, I know that I will have a good time. Though I bristle at the extreme sexism in the French Revolution section (even when I know it is satire), I love Madeline Kahn’s character during the Roman era. It is Kahn at her best.

The other section that I look forward to every time is the Inquisition. As he did in The Producers, he mocks and takes the power away from the haters while making the viewer laugh.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Flashback Friday-Marie Antoinette (2006)

In her own time, Marie Antoinette’s reputation depended on  whom one spoke to. She was either liked and respected by the elite because of her status or hated by the common person.

The 2006 movie, Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst in the lead role, starts with her marriage to Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman). Their marriage, like all royal marriages is an arranged one. Marie lives in the lap of luxury and becomes quite spoiled. Her job as queen is bring a royal heir into the world, but her husband is not too eager to do the deed.

Director Sofia Coppola has a very interesting take on her subject. Most of the movie is light and frothy, which makes sense because Marie and Louie were teenagers when they married. The film does get dark as it follows the characters  as French Revolution starts and ends of the monarchy in France.

I happen to like this movie. Ms. Coppola’s approach is to present her lead characters as an ordinary young woman (well as ordinary as a Queen Of France can be) whom she hopes that the young women who watch this movie will relate to. But there is also enough history to keep the movie grounded in the time period.

I recommend it.

 

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