Tag Archives: 20th Century Fox

History Of The World – Part 1

Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Mel Brooks
Written by Mel Brooks
Narrated by Orson Welles
Starring Mel Brooks
Dom DeLuise
Madeline Kahn
Harvey Korman
Cloris Leachman
Music by John Morris
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date June 12, 1981
Running time 92 min.
Country United States
Language English

“It’s good to be the king”

Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1 is quite funny but it isn’t anywhere as good as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles or The Producers. It’s probably a  little more hit and miss than those other films but it is I feel, a lot better than High Anxiety.
For some reason I used to love this movies as a kid. I watched it a few times and thought it was hilarious. Watching it as an adult I find that it’s not as great as I thought when I was a kid, but there are still a few chuckles to be had.

High Anxiety

Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Mel Brooks
Written by Mel Brooks
Ron Clark
Rudy De Luca
Barry Levinson
Starring Mel Brooks
Madeline Kahn
Cloris Leachman
Harvey Korman
Ron Carey
Howard Morris
Dick Van Patten
Music by John Morris
Cinematography Paul Lohmann
Editing by John C. Howard
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date December 25, 1977
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
High Anxiety isn’t one of Mel Brooks’ funniest films but it is watchable and in quite amusing at times. The film is a spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers and is meant to be a tribute to Hitch, but it is one that I feel is not really necessary. For one thing Hitchcock’s movies are filled with enough humour themselves, as they never take anything too seriously. They have an underlying dark humour unlike Mel’s obvious pie in the face style.

High Anxiety isn’t as good as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein or The Producers and is probably the point at which Mel Brooks’ films started to become less and less funny. I think that after the monumental success of Blazing Saddles Mel started to half-ass things as his movies after 1974 are merely amusing and not laugh out loud funny.

Young Frankenstein

Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Michael Gruskoff
Written by Mel Brooks & Gene Wilder
Starring Gene Wilder
Marty Feldman
Peter Boyle
Teri Garr
Madeline Kahn
Cloris Leachman
Kenneth Mars
and Gene Hackman
Music by John Morris
Cinematography Gerald Hirschfeld
Editing by John C. Howard
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date December 15, 1974
Running time 106 min.
Country United States
Language English

Young Frankenstein is Mel Brooks at his best and is perhaps his 2nd funniest film after The Producers. I feel that it is slightly better than Blazing Saddles, although those three films are the undoubted high points in Mel’s long career in Hollywood.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Young Frankenstein is a parody film of the 1930s and 40s Boris Karloff Frankenstein films as well as other movies in the 1930s/40s monster genre. Unlike parody films that a made today such as the horrendous Epic Movie, you can tell that the makers of Young Frankenstein actually love the films they are parodying and the movie can be seen as a tribute to those films.

The performances of the cast is great, especially that of Gene Wilder as young Dr. Frankenstein and Marty Feldman as Igor. I do find Feldman constantly breaking the fourth wall to be one of the highlights of the film. There are a lot of great jokes and sketches, especially the scene where the monster goes into the house of the blind man, which is a parody of a scene from Bride of Frankenstein. This is one of the funniest scenes in the movie and Gene Hackman is very funny as the blind man, as are the reactions of Peter Boyle’s monster.

This is a great and very funny film that is one of my all-time favourites and I give it the highest of recommendations.

Epic Movie

Directed by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Produced by Paul Schiff
Written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Starring Jayma Mays
Jennifer Coolidge
Adam Campbell
Faune A. Chambers
Crispin Glover
Darrell Hammond
Kal Penn
Fred Willard
Tim Lockwood
David Lehre
Music by Edward Shearmur
Cinematography Shawn Maurer
Editing by Peck Prior
Studio Regency Enterprises & New Regency
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date January 26, 2007
Running time85 minutes
Country United States & Canada
Language English

Epic Movie is not the dumbest movie I have ever seen… but it comes pretty close. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if there had of been less commercial breaks. Go! seemed to be more time spent showing commercials than the movie itself. Is there anyone who is really thinking of using their Mastercard debit card to go to New York to see Katy Perry? I guess that sums up just who this movie was made for, people stupid enough to listen to horrible pop music.

Maybe I should further elaborate. This is meant to parody every action/fantasy movie made in the last decade but it is all hit and miss… Actually it’s all miss as the gags aren’t funny at all, just stupid. Unfortunately this movie has made a shitload of money, which means that we will be getting more atrocities like this from Friedberg and Seltzer in the future. Sigh! Why bother watching this crap when there are good parody films out there like Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein?

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Directed by Robert Wise
Produced by Julian Blaustein
Written by Edmund H. North
Harry Bates (story)
Starring Michael Rennie
Patricia Neal
Billy Gray
Hugh Marlowe
Sam Jaffe
Frances Bavier
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Leo Tover
Editing by William H. Reynolds
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date September 28, 1951
Running time 92 min.

Phew! It’s only the second day into this project and I only just made my self-imposed deadline. It would have been quite an inauspicious way to start this thing by not be able to keep up with the premise of watching and writing about a movie a day.

The truth is that I was up at 1am this morning watching The Day The Earth Stood Still before I turned into bed. After waking up this morning I went about doing my usual Saturday things and it wasn’t until about half an hour ago that I decided to finally do this write-up. Talk about cutting things short.

I bought the definitive 2 disc version of The Day The Earth Stood Still a couple of weeks ago from JB Hifi for $13 but I saw it there today for just $10. I really recommend this DVD not just to Sci-fi lovers but to everyone who loves good films, and $10 is a real bargain for such a brilliant and entertaining film. I don’t know if I should have already of pointed this out or not but the film that I watched is the 1951 original version and not the crappy remake from 2008 that features Keanu Reeves.

The basic premise of The Day The Earth Stood Still is that a space ship lands in Washington DC and its pilot, Klaatu emerges declaring that he is visiting Earth on a mission of goodwill. He presents a small device that is meant for the President, but is shot by one of the onlooking soldiers. This action causes Gort, an 8 foot tall robot to emerge from the spaceship and disintegrate all of the weapons that the surrounding soldiers are armed with. Klaatu orders Gort to stop, before he is taken away to have his wounds tended to in the military hospital.

Klaatu then meets the President’s secretary Harley, and explains that he has a message that he wants all the people of Earth to hear. He would like to address all the leaders of the world in one place, which Harley explains to him would be impossible. Klaatu tells Harley that he would be able to better understand humans if he was to live among them incognito, but Harley says that this would be impossible and places Klaatu under protective custody.

When Klaatu escapes custody and lives at a boarding house there is a lesson that we can learn from in today’s society. It is here that he meets ordinary people and sees first hand how the mass media can demonize things that are different to the norm with their propaganda. When the occupants at the boarding are listening to the radio we hear the shock jock brand Klaatu a monster, even though nobody knows anything about the alien. It just shows that some things don’t change at all.

Klaatu befriends a widow, Helen, and her son Bobby. He agrees to babysit Bobby, who takes Klaatu, who has assumed the alias Mr. Carpenter, around Washington. They visit Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial, where Klaatu asks Bobby who the greatest living person is. Bobby suggests the scientist Professor Barnhardt, who resides in Washington. Bobby takes Klaatu to Prof. Barnhardt’s house but the professor is away. Klaatu decides to leave a message for the professor by completing a complex mathematical problem that is left on a blackboard. Klaatu then leaves his address with Barnhardt’s housekeeper.

Eventually Klaatu meets Professor Barnhardt, after being escorted to the professor by a government agent. Klaatu reveals himself to the professor and warns him that the Earth has been under surveillance from other planets, who are dismayed that the humans have developed atomic power. They have noted the disregard humans have for their fellow human beings and fear that it will only be a matter of time before the people of Earth turn their attention to the rest of space. Klaatu tells Professor Barnhardt that he wishes to address the people of Earth with a message of utmost importance and if his message is rejected it would spell the ultimate destruction of Earth. Klaatu then promises to show the professor a demonstration of his power to serve as a warning. Later that night when he returns to his spaceship to implement this plan he is unaware that he has been followed by Bobby, who later tells Helen and her fiancé Tom about what he has seen.

After being told about who Mr. Carpenter really is, the scheming Tom goes into Klaatu’s room and discovers a unique diamond. Meanwhile Klaatu has gone to Helen’s workplace to speak to her. They step into an elevator which suddenly stops. Klaatu tells Helen that he is the cause of this, and we soon learn that all the power on the earth has stopped, except for that used on aeroplanes in mid-flight or in operating theatres. This action brings the entire world to a standstill.

After the blackout finishes a manhunt begins, as the army decides that Klaatu has evaded them long enough and that they will get him one way or another, either dead or alive. Tom spills the beans to the authorities and they soon spot the alien and the woman in a taxi on their way to meet the professor who has gathered outside the spaceship with a group of eminent scientists. Klaatu tells Helen that if anything should happen to him it could spell the end of the world, as Gort would try to avenge his death. The only way to stop the robot is to say the words, “Klaatu barada nikto.” As he flees the taxi Klaatu is shot in the back by one of the soldiers and dies.

Helen runs to the spaceship to see Gort has awakened and killed two soldiers who were guarding the spaceship. Helen passes Klaatu’s message to Gort who then carries her into the spaceship. He then retrieves Klaatu’s corpse and revives the spaceman.

Klaatu then steps out of the ship to address the awaiting scientists. He tells them of the rest of the universe’s concerns about Earth’s disregard of life and how destructive the people of Earth can be. He warns them that if they continue with their destructive ways then robots like Gort, who have been created to protect the universe, will come and destroy the entire Earth. His final words before stepping into the spaceship and leaving are, “The decision rests with you.”

I found The Day The Earth Stood Still to be quite a fascinating film. Bernard Herrman’s score gave the movie, especially the opening sequences when the flying saucer first arrives on Earth, quite an eerie feeling. The acting is all first rate and the special effects are very good for a movie released in 1951. The most interesting aspect of the film is how some of the messages still resonate today, almost sixty years after the film’s release. As I mentioned earlier, we can see how the media can manipulate the feelings of their listeners/viewers even when they have no idea what they are talking about. The truth of a story is not as important as getting people worked up about it. Does this not sound like the way News Limited journalists go about their business.

The other message is to show that humans are very reactionary and that if they do not understand something then they must destroy it. We see this when the soldier shoots at Klaatu at the beginning of the film, and again when the general declares that he doesn’t care if Klaatu is taken dead or alive, just as long as he’s taken. It shows just how intolerant and selfish we can be. I enjoyed watching this film very much.