Mel Brooks. What can you say Mel Brooks? Not only did he help to redefine American comedy but he was also responsible for bringing David Lynch to Hollywood. Brooks was the one who hired Lynch to direct The Elephant Man. It can probably be argued that, if not for Brooks, Lynch’s feature film career would have begun and ended with Eraserhead. Brooks not only hired Lynch but also protected him for studio interference. When the execs tried to make Lynch remove two surrealistic sequences from The Elephant Man, Brooks stood up to them. When they requested a more conventional biopic, Brooks defended Lynch’s vision and the result was one of the best films ever made.
Of course, Brooks isn’t listed in the credits of The Elephant Man. Though he produced the film, he went uncredited because he didn’t want people to assume that the movie was a comedy. By doing so, Brooks missed out on an Oscar nomination but he also ensured that the film was taken seriously. It’s hard not to respect someone who was willing to go uncredited to help make the film a success.
Though Brooks, as a producers, was responsible for a number of serious films, there’s a reason why Brooks is associated with comedy. He’s a very funny man and he directed some very funny films. In honor of Mel Brooks, here’s a scene that I love from 1974’s Young Frankenstein.
This scene from 1974’s Young Frankenstein is not only funny but kinda poignant and sad. I mean, you can tell that the Monster (Peter Boyle) is trying so hard to do a good job and what does it get him? Not only does the audience turn on him but even his creator (Gene Wilder) starts yelling at him.
I mean, considering that the Monster had only been alive for a few days, I think he deserves a lot of credit for handling the performance as well as could be expected! To me, the true monsters in this scene are the theater patrons who apparently brought cabbages and other vegetables with them to the theater. I mean, you don’t pack a salad unless you’re planning on using it.
Yesterday I took a break from watching every single moment of the World Series (since Friday’s game went seven freakin’ hours!) to attend a Halloween-themed double feature at the Zeiterion Theater here in New Bedford, MA. Despite the fact that a pounding rainstorm was in full effect, I was determined to get my big screen horror fix – in fact, the rain only added to the monstrous mood of the day. I met my friend Rob at the theater, and proceeded to enter the beautifully refurbished 1920’s era movie palace. First on the agenda was a real classic – Robert Weine’s 1920 Expressionistic silent film THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI!
Conrad Veidt & Werner Krauss in “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”
CALIAGRI is a landmark of the horror genre and the German Expressionist style that influenced the visual styles of both early Universal Horrors and the film noir movement of the…