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But if you were looking – at least before the publication of this article – something about Mel Brooks, the most you could find was news about Mel Gibson, the Spice Girl Mel B or about Brooks Brothers brand shirts. All subjects certainly valuable, but disappointing if your search was directed to one of the great masters of comedy history.
So to fill that humorous void, here come these lines about Melvin James Kaminsky, better known by his stage name: Mel Brooks. Although his first film, The producers dates from 1967, in his long career he has only directed 11 films, of which we are going to develop our favorite Top 5 more extensively, although we are sorry to leave out jewels such as The crazy, crazy adventures of Robin Hood O The latest madness … Seriously, what a mania to put the word “crazy” in all his titles when translating them into Spanish! Anyway, let’s go there and remember, as Mel said, that “tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall down a sewer and die”.
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5. Hot Saddles (1974)
Blazing Saddles was the highest grossing film of 1974 in the United States – $ 500 million today – to give you an idea of the smash of this irreverent comedy starring a black sheriff (Cleavon Little) and an alcoholic gunman (Gene Wilder). ) that definitely couldn’t be released today. Not so much for being offensive, which also, but because no study would be willing to finance it.
Richard Pryor was one of the screenwriters when the producers, who did not trust his licentious ways, discarded him for the title role and his style shows in a script that is a real joy. Just because of the fight scene where the fourth wall is broken and the actors sneak into the set of another movie, it would already be worth watching. And by the way, a fact as curious as it is real: this was the first film in which a fart sounded. As it is.
4. The crazy history of the world (1981)
This is the movie that you should recommend to anyone who wants to get started in the world of Mel Brooks comedy. Although it is not one of his best known titles, it is perhaps the most satisfying. Here the director was able to explore for the first time different eras, genres and historical characters from the Stone Age to the French Revolution or the Spanish Inquisition without having to revolve an entire film around just one idea. This long sketch style fit perfectly with her humorous abilities, showing that she could find grace in just about anything.
The ‘fake trailer’ at the end of the movie, announcing a second part of this History of the World. Part I which was obviously never filmed, led many viewers to believe that it was a real breakthrough, with consequent anger. And it was a shame because we were left without seeing the ‘Jews in space’ or ‘Hitler on ice’. The phrase we all remember from this film is “it’s good to be king” and, appropriately enough, it did a lot to cement Mel Brooks’ career as king of comedy.
3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
IGOR: ¿Doctor Frankenstein?
IGOR: Are you kidding me?
FREDERICK: No. It’s pronounced Fronkonstin.
When in 1974 Mel Brooks decided to adapt the horror classic in his own way Frankenstein on Young Frankenstein, which of course includes the great dialogue above, the director was in a phenomenal creative moment. In this version, Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), the famous doctor’s grandson, decides to return to Transylvania to prove that his ancestor was not so crazy. The film has a luxurious cast consisting of, among others, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn and Gene Hackman, in a curious comic role.
Brooks insisted that the film be shot in black and white to fit the parody with the parody and even used many of the same objects as props in the laboratory that had been used in the 1931 version of the original film. All to achieve one of the most classic comedies in the history of cinema, which is ranked number 13 of the 100 funniest American films of all time by the American Film Institute.
2. The Crazy History of the Galaxies (1987)
Joke for joke, Spaceballs (Let’s recognize that the original title is a million times better than the one chosen for Spain) is perhaps the funniest film by Mel Brooks, which parodies the original trilogy of Star Wars. The film hit theaters four years after the premiere of Return of the jedi, with the galactic fashion a bit down, and maybe that’s why it was not a great success at the time, although now it is a cult comedy. Two Toms, Hanks and Cruise, turned down the title role, which ended up going to Bill Pullman. Brooks also got the go-ahead from George Lucas to make the film, and his company even took care of the special effects.
Pick a single gag from the movie? There are so many and so good that it is impossible! Come on, if you force us, we’re left with the scene in which Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) asks to “comb the desert” and two imperial soldiers appear with a giant comb, well, combing the desert. Perhaps of all the Brooks movies this was the one that cried out the most for a sequel and they even joked in it with a second part that would be called Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. Moranis had an even better idea, suggesting in his day that they do the third part directly by calling it Spaceballs 3: The Search for Spaceballs 2. But now that the actor has been retired for years and the director has already turned 93 summers, the idea does not seem very feasible.
1. The Producers (1967)
And for our favorite director’s title we’re going to come to his debut, with a premise that’s 100% Brooksian: a corrupt Broadway producer (Zero Mostel) with the help of a shy accountant (Gene Wilder) plans to get rich by producing the biggest failure. of Broadway history. Every scene the two share is high-end comedy and they got Brooks to win the Oscar for best screenplay, his only golden statuette. Ironically, it would later be adapted into a successful Broadway musical and later re-adapted to the cinema starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
In 1967 it was not yet common to mention Hitler in a comical tone, but that did not stop Brooks from baptizing the musical that Bialystock and Bloom created as ‘the worst idea of all time for a work’ as Spring for Hitler, which was actually going to be the original title of the film. The New York filmmaker has stated on more than one occasion that one of his missions in life was “to make people laugh at Adolf Hitler.” Well, mission accomplished, Mel.
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