Sunday, June 27, 2010

More From Mel Brooks

By David Luhrssen
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Most of Mel Brooks’ most beloved movies were released not so long ago in a lavish nine-disc Blu-ray box set, complete with hardcover book. Brooks fans on modest budgets will be happy to learn that several of those films have been issued as individual Blu-ray discs.

Coming after this summer’s dour and disappointing Robin Hood, it’s refreshing to have a bit of fun with Brooks’ comic iteration of the legend, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). The spoofs are broad (“the Sheriff of Rottingham”) and the gags are often outrageous. Witness: the African-American rap group in Sherwood garb dropping rhymes on the Hood.

Better yet is Brooks’ loving send-up of Alfred Hitchcock, High Anxiety (1977). He stars as Richard Thorndyke, an anxiety prone psychiatrist who discovers that his institution is a corrupt racket run by crazy people. The zany slapstick echoes the Marx Brothers even as Brooks tips his hat to Spellbound, Vertigo, Psycho, Suspicion and North by Northwest.

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