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(Re)discover Mel Brooks in five films

(Re)discovering Mel Brooks in five films


This prolific producer, screenwriter, director and actor is an integral part of Hollywood history and chances are you've heard his voice or seen one of his films. And if you want to know why Mel Brooks is in the news, read this article to the end… 

“The Sheriff's in Jail” (1974)

This western is, in fact, a powerful humorous charge against racism – unfortunately, since the film is a bit dated, women and LGBTQ+ people take it for their rank. We see Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) trying to buy back all the land in the city because of the upcoming railroad crossing. Then arrive the sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little), a black, and his friend, Jim (Gene Wilder), formidable shooter, and everything will then end for the best. We also see Mel Brooks, for whom this is the third feature film, as a Jewish Indian chief and Count Basie… in himself. The second feature film nominated in three categories at the Oscars, the feature film leaves empty-handed, but cements Brooks' reputation, especially with a younger audience.

“Frankenstein Junior” (1974)< /strong>

Thought up by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks at the end of the filming of “The Sheriff is in Jail”, “Frankenstein Junior” is an outrageous comic revival of the myth of the monster imagined by Mary Shelley. Nominated twice for the Oscars, the now cult feature film that inspired Aerosmith's song “Walk This Way” collected no less than US$86.2 million for a budget of… US$2.78 million. Then, after a quick stint on television – for a pastiche of “Robin Hood”, he decides to embark on a silent film, “The Last Madness of Mel Brooks” (1975), gives himself the main role… and has the only words of the feature film spoken by the mime Marcel Marceau. The following year, he parodied Hitchcock with his “Le grand frisson”.

“The Crazy History of the World” (1981)

When the next decade began, Mel Brooks was, along with Woody Allen, the most popular comedy filmmaker in the United States. He then offered his vision of world history and hired the legendary Orson Welles to narrate it. He then decides not to carry out his comic rewrite of Ernst Lubitsch's “To Be Or Not To Be”, Anne Brancroft, his wife, and him, playing the main roles. And in 1987, his “The Mad History of Space” allowed him to deliver a humorous look at science fiction films, in particular “Star Wars”.

“Toy Story 4 (2019)

A true jack-of-all-trades, Mel Brooks does not disdain dubbing. We can thus hear his voice in “What I still mix”, but it is with “Robots”, in 2005, directed by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha – tandem of “The Ice Age” -, that he agrees to double an animated film character for the first time. We then hear him in 2015 as Vlad Dracula in “Hotel Transylvania 2”, a role he will resume in the third opus in 2018. It is therefore no coincidence that Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom, the screenwriters of “History of toys 4” create a blue elephant called Melephant Brooks whom they ask him to double-cross.

“Legged Fury: The Legend of Hank” (2022)

< p>Animated largely in the Montreal studios of Cinesite “Rage on Foot: The Legend of Hank” is a loose adaptation of “The Sheriff is in Jail”. Also a tribute to samurai films, the animated feature focuses on a dog, Hank, voiced by Michael Cera, who wants to become a samurai in order to defend his village of Kakamucho from the attacks of Ika Chu, voiced by Ricky Gervais, a very naughty cat. And, as a nod, Mel Brooks lends his voice to Shogun, a gray British shorthair cat, the king of Kakamucho.

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