Harvey Korman

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Blazing Saddles Review


Excellent
Blazing Saddles isn't the funniest Mel Brooks movie (that'd be The Producers), but it's by far the least politically correct. Oddly, by venturing into new realms of racist humor, Brooks finds comedy gold, because he's mocking a genre (the western) that's chock full of racist content. And Brooks realizes, as do we during the screening of this film, that history has been willing to look the other way if John Wayne is the racist, so why can't a Jew do the same thing?

Saddles starts out both funny and inappropriate from frame one, with Burton Gilliam's chastisement of an Asian railroad worker who's passed out on the construction line: "Dock that chink a day's pay for nappin' on the job!" And that railroad actually has something to do with the movie: Evil governor (Mel Brooks) and his cornies (led by Harvey Korman) want to build a railroad to get rich. There's a town in the way, though, and they residents won't sell, so Lamarr appoints a black sheriff (Cleavon Little) to convince the redneck residents to leave voluntarily.

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High Anxiety Review


Good
One of the reasons we film critics have a soft spot for Mel Brooks's High Anxiety is that its endless parade of campy Hitchcock gags makes us feel smart. "Oh, that's from Vertigo. Hey, that's from North by Northwest. Did you hear that? He just said MacGuffin."

Of course, it's vitally important that you be in the mood to see a Mel Brooks movie when you see a Mel Brooks movie -- any Mel Brooks movie -- because if you're not, you'll just groan, roll your eyes, and walk away. But if you're feeling silly, Mel will make you laugh, and High Anxiety keeps the zingers coming from the very first moment, when the urgent strains of the powerful orchestra accompany Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Brooks) as he walks through the airport during the opening credits. The credits end, and Thorndyke comments, "What a dramatic airport!" Later, the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra will follow him around in a bus to add more drama to pivotal scenes.

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Curse Of The Pink Panther Review


Grim
Although the prior Pink Panther film, Trail of the Pink Panther, essentially had no plot, Curse of the Pink Panther picks up where it left off.

That's a tricky place to start, and it doesn't go entirely well. Finally acknowledging the death of Peter Sellers three years earlier, Curse posits that Clouseau is still missing and that, well, somebody ought to find him. Enter what the studio obvious hoped would be a replacement for Sellers, Ted Wass, playing "the world's second best detective," Sergeant Clifton Sleigh. (Of course, Wass didn't really take, the movie flopped, and that was that. Wass is now a television director, but he's best known for his work playing the dad on TV's Blossom.)

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Trail of the Pink Panther Review


Grim
In 1980, Peter Sellers died. In 1982, Trail of the Pink Panther, with Sellers as the headliner, was released by a studio hungry to capitalize further on the popular series.

Trail certainly isn't historically unique in its use of archival footage to create a role for a passed-on movie star, but it's inarguably one of the ballsiest attempts at it. Sellers isn't some bit player (like Lawrence Olivier in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), he's the star. He's Inspector freakin' Clouseau, and he's in more than half of the running time of the film.

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Blazing Saddles Review


Excellent
Blazing Saddles isn't the funniest Mel Brooks movie (that'd be The Producers), but it's by far the least politically correct. Oddly, by venturing into new realms of racist humor, Brooks finds comedy gold, because he's mocking a genre (the western) that's chock full of racist content. And Brooks realizes, as do we during the screening of this film, that history has been willing to look the other way if John Wayne is the racist, so why can't a Jew do the same thing?

Saddles starts out both funny and inappropriate from frame one, with Burton Gilliam's chastisement of an Asian railroad worker who's passed out on the construction line: "Dock that chink a day's pay for nappin' on the job!" And that railroad actually has something to do with the movie: Evil governor (Mel Brooks) and his cornies (led by Harvey Korman) want to build a railroad to get rich. There's a town in the way, though, and they residents won't sell, so Lamarr appoints a black sheriff (Cleavon Little) to convince the redneck residents to leave voluntarily.

Continue reading: Blazing Saddles Review

Dracula: Dead And Loving It Review


Terrible
After the vastly disappointing Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mel Brooks really needed to prove himself by getting back to his Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles-type comedy. The Dracula legend seemed like the perfect way to do it, especially considering how perfectly Brooks skewered ol' Frank. But sadly, Brooks manages to hack it up like he did to poor Robin Hood, thanks to some very stale jokes and overly repetitious gags.

Brooks basically takes Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola's film) and gives it the once-over, recreating the plot and characters almost directly from that movie, and giving them supposedly funny lines. The problem is that Bram Stoker's Dracula was pretty silly to begin with, and Brooks' version comes off as poking fun at a film that was already doing a good job of it all by itself.

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The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas Review


Terrible
All right. I withered away my youth watching The Flintstones like just about every other kid in the 80s. That doesn't mean I have to like the movie or feel the slightest pang of nostalgia. I won't give any special points to The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas for invoking some memory in me of the pre Cartoon Network days when I watched "The Flintstones" on a black and white TV located outside of my room in the house that I grew up in.

Viva Rock Vegas is bad. Real bad. It features the same kind of dry humor that the show did, and thus makes you wonder why you watched the show in the first place. It slowly sucks the life out of you and gets progressively worse in a 80-minute running time that feels like two hours. It has the high point of watching The Great Gazoo, an alien sent to observe prehistoric man's mating patterns, get kicked and crash into signs.

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High Anxiety Review


OK
Mel Brooks does the best of his second-tier works (outside the holy canon of The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein) in this send-up of Hitchcock flicks. The story tries to ride closely to Spellbound and Vertigo, but ventures into virtually all of Hitch's major works, including the most notable scenes from Psycho, The Birds, and North by Northwest. Not an easy feat, but it's funny as often as it's not.

The Flinstones In Viva Rock Vegas Review


OK

"The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" is one unapologetic goofball of a movie. It makes no pretense of brains or decorum. It's dumb, screwy and proud. Yabba dabba doo!

A prequel to 1994's live-action "Flintstones" feature, it stars Mark Addy from "The Full Monty" as Fred and Stephen Baldwin's Barney (playing him dumb as a box of rocks and obviously enjoying it no end) in their younger days when they were courting Wilma and Betty (Kristen Johnston and Jane Krakowski).

The only thing really resembling plot revolves around the fact that Wilma is a down-to-earth debutante who would rather go bowling than to a fancy dress ball -- an attitude greeted with much high-hattedness when she brings Fred around to meet her parents.

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Harvey Korman

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