High Anxiety: A doctor takes over a clinic for the very, very nervous. He has to battle the current staff and his own hidden anxieties.
History of the World: Part 1: A look at the history of the world as only Mel can tell it; in three completely unrelated time periods.
Robin Hood: Men In Tights: Melís take on the classic tale of Robin Hood.
Silent Movie: A struggling director tries to make a star-studded picture. Comedy, gags and only one word of spoken dialogue ensue.
To Be Or Not To Be: A group of Polish actors get caught up in a case of mistaken identities when the Nazis invade Poland in World War 2. They must use all of their acting talents to throw off the Germans and save Poland.
Twelve Chairs: A dying woman tells her son-in-law that she hid valuable jewelry in one of twelve chairs. He, a con man and a priest all set out to find the twelve chairs and claim the treasure.
Young Frankenstein: A comedic take on the classic horror film. A young Dr. Frankenstein finds his fathers journals and attempts to follow in his footsteps.
High Anxiety: This is one of his more overlooked films and for good reason. Itís really hard to get through because the whole time you feel like he doesnít know what to do next. In other words, it felt like they didnít have enough jokes to fill up the 90 minute runtime. I did like how he managed to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock without insulting him. He just couldíve been a little funnier with it. (2 stars)
History of the World: Part 1: This is by far and away Melís most overrated film. Itís not really funny and it feels awkward at times. History wouldíve been a lot better if Mel had found another actor to take his place, or even broken it up into three separate films. Overall, the jokes fell flat and it never really gave the audience time to catch on. (2.5 stars)
Robin Hood: Men In Tights: Cary Elwes is one of the more underrated comedians around. He and Dave Chappelle do a fine job here of taking a sub-par script and making it really funny. It wonít make you bust your gut with laughter, but itís a funny movie with a good cast. (3 stars)
Silent Movie: This one is just plain rough. It really is hard to sit through, especially if you donít like Mel Brooks the actor. With only one word of dialogue, I imagine the best part of this movie wouldíve been seeing it in the theater on opening day and watching the reactions of everyone around you. I wonder if this set the record for most refunds in the history of cinema. It really is a bad film that throws a million jokes at the audience and only one or two actually come close to hitting the mark. (1 star)
To Be Or Not To Be: I appreciated Melís ode to Shakespeare and although I didnít find it hilarious, I did enjoy it. It made fun of actors, which is always funny. I think this was one of those cases where it was a movie written around a couple of funny ideas and therefore we go periods without comedy or comedy that doesnít work. This is one of the better performances from Mel Brooks the actor and the rest of the cast does a fine job as well. Coincidentally, this is the only film in the set not directed by Mel Brooks. (2.5 stars)
Twelve Chairs: While watching this, I really felt that this couldíve been a really good film. It didnít have to be a slapstick comedy, it couldíve very easily been a black comedy or even a drama. I thought Frank Langella was great as the charming con-man and with a limited dose of Mel Brooks the actor, the film managed to entertain. (2.5 stars)
Young Frankenstein: In my humble opinion, this is hands down Melís finest achievement. Gene Wilder gives one of his greatest performances and the result is one of the best comedies of all time. It has many memorable scenes and loads of funny dialogue. I also liked the fact itís in black and white because I think that makes it even funnier. If you only own one Mel Brooks film, own YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. (4.5 stars)
An Interview with Mel Brooks (55:03): This is a decent feature with Mel Brooks and he offers up some funny antidotes about the film. At just under an hour, it got a little long and it wasnít as insightful as it could have been.
High Anxiety, History of the World: Part 1, Silent Movie, Twelve Chairs: None
Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
HBO Special (25:50): This is pretty much a fluff piece, but it does offer some nice behind the scenes footage and itís hosted by Cary Elwes. Itís nothing too enlightening, but itís better than nothing.
To Be Or Not To Be:
Making of Featurette (2:43): At just under three minutes, this felt more like a trailer than a featurette. Itís not long enough to be of any substance and I donít know why they even bothered including it here.
Interviews with the Cast (7:10): These are three separate interviews with Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning. Itís done in the same vein as the featurette and it wouldíve been nice for them to be included and to make one longer featurette. Either way, these are pretty lame too and arenít very interesting.
Commentary with Mel Brooks: Mel can talk. That was evidenced on the SPACEBALLS (not included in this set) commentary. He continues the trend here and sings the praise of everyone involved with the film. Itís a decent listen, but Mel tends to ramble and it wouldíve been nice to see him play off of Gene Wilder.
Making Frankensense of Frankenstein (41:47): This is a surprisingly long documentary on the making of the film. Itís extensive, but there are too many scenes from the film, so donít watch it before you see the film.
Mexican Interviews (6:36): These were hilarious. Theyíre interviews with Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder and Cloris Leachman done by a Mexican reporter. Theyíre from before the movie was released and the cast has fun with it. Definitely worth the seven minute investment.
Deleted Scenes (16:18): Iím glad all of these were cut because they wouldíve slowed down the film. With that said, there were a couple that had some funny moments. Itís nice to see deleted scenes from an older movie and itís always nice to see Gene Wilder in action.
Bloopers (5:00): Blah. These were just long scenes with the characters laughing at the end.
Itís hard to get too excited about this set except that it contains some previously unreleased Mel Brooks films. However, none of the films are in surround sound and most of the films are void of special features.