The word “genius” is often thrown around without anything to back it up. One of the few people who can legitimately be given that title is Mel Brooks. He has made audiences laugh for 70+ years, taking comedy in a direction that few have dared to.
In his mid 90’s, he has more energy and gusto many are half his age. It was an incredible insight into a man who has made generations of audiences laugh. What I loved was the revelation of the man behind the jokes. He reminds me of someone’s old uncle who is not quite politically correct. They know that they are crossing the line. But it is not out of spite or to cause trouble. It’s to make the audience laugh and while they are laughing, perhaps think about the message behind the joke.
As I read the book, two things jumped out at me. The first was that there was no mention of his first wife and not a lot of time focused on his older children. The second is that he refers to almost every woman first by her looks and then by her talent. Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s a generational thing. I get that it could be construed as a compliment, but I would rather be known for my abilities first and my looks second.
Other than that, do I recommend it? Absolutely.
All About Me!: MyRemarkable Life in Show Business is available wherever books are sold.
Earlier today, I saw Young Frankenstein (1974). A satire of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, as only Mel Brooks can conceive of, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the American grandson of the infamous scientist, Victor Frankenstein. Frederick will do anything to prove that he is not his grandfather’s grandson, but when push comes to shove, the blood and the infamous history of Frankenstein’s takes over.
Teri Garr plays Inga, Frederick’s assistant.
Inga may appear to be just a dumb blonde speaking in a faux Eastern European accent and wearing a low-cut dress, but her character is vital to Frederick’s development from the beginning of the film to the end of the film. Along with Igor (Marty Feldman), they travel with Frederick from his denial of who he is to his acceptance of his DNA and his fate. Inga also gets some of the best lines in the film, as per the scene above.
I recommend this film, if nothing else, for Teri Garr’s performance.
Mel Brooks has made a career out of lovingly satirizing our sacred cows. Whether it is history (History of the World: Part I), The Nazis (The Producers) or classic horror films (Young Frankenstein), he has knack for finding the satire in the sacred.
30 years ago, he satirized Star Wars and other science fiction films in his own version of a space adventure: Spaceballs. The planet Druidia has an abundant amount of fresh air. President Skroob (Mel Brooks) from the very polluted Planet Spaceballs send his henchmen, Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to capture the Druidian princess, Vespa (Daphne Zuniga). King Roland of Druidia (Dick Van Patten) must either give his planet’s air to the Spaceballs or lose his daughter. Enter Lone Star (Bill Pullman) who is sent by the king to rescue Vespa.
This movie is like most Mel Brooks movies. It borders on the absurd, takes easy pot shots at the revered and most of all, it makes us laugh.
30 years on, this movie is just as funny as it was in 1987.
Last night, the world lostGene Wilder, one of the greats of the comedy world.
Born to an Eastern European Jewish family who found a new home in Milwaukee, Gene Wilder (birth name Jerome Silberman) was known for playing characters that were slightly off base, a little manic and not all there sometimes.
Today is the 90th birthday of the legendary comedian Mel Brooks.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 28th, 1925, Melvin Kaminsky would grow up to be one of the greatest comedians of the 20th century.
What can I say about this man? He is a comedic genius. His movies are completely quotable and his characters are outlandish. His characters say and do things that many writers and filmmakers would shy away from. There is no genre that remains untouched by his unique form of satire.
Mel Brooks has also had the good fortune to see two of his movies, Young Frankenstein and The Producers become hit Broadway musicals. Not bad for a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who was born right before the great depression.
I could go on and on, but I will let his movies do the talking.
Happy Birthday Mel Brooks, thanks for the laughter.
Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein. After years of trying to remove himself from his familial past, he is pulled back in and attempts to re-create his grandfather’s work. Co starring the late Peter Boyle (the monster), Marty Feldman (Igor), Teri Garr (Inga) and the late great Madeline Kahn (Elizabeth).
What can I say about this movie? It is immensely quotable and beyond funny. Brooks retains the origins of Mary Shelley’s original novel while putting his own stamp on the story.
And now for your viewing pleasure, the trailer for Young Frankenstein:
I’m also including Putting On The Ritz, it’s the funniest scene in the film.
To Be Or Not To Be is Brook’s 1983 remake of the 1942 original film starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.
Just before World War II, a Polish acting troupe led by Frederick and Anna Bronski (Brooks and his late wife, Anne Bancroft) is preparing for their next production when they learn that it has to be scrapped. The Nazis are massing on the borders of Poland. When Anna starts receiving flowers and visits from a young Polish officer (Tim Matheson), the entire troupe becomes involved in the war.
Brooks and his collaborators kept much of the original screenplay intact while putting their own spin on the film. As he did in The Producers, Brooks taking the sting out of the Nazis (as much as one can), while pointing out the absurdity of their beliefs. This movie is perfect and funny and always enjoyable.