205. History of the World: Part I


Movie: History of the World: Part I

Release Date: June 12, 1981

Director: Mel Brooks

Starring: Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman.

Tag Lines: “IN MEL WE TRVST!”

“Ten million years in the making. The truth, the whole truth, and everything, but the truth!”

“…a little something to offend everyone…”

Relevance: If you read yesterday’s post (see 206. Blazing Saddles), you already knew that today’s movie was another Mel Brooks classic. As stated in that particular post, these movies can be interchangeable as far as this list is concerned. They equally make me laugh and are equally entertaining to me. Basically reading yesterday’s blog entry is reading today’s.

Like ‘Blazing Saddles,’ I saw ‘History of the World: Part I’ when it aired on HBO in the early 1980’s. I remember seeing the commercial (trailer) on HBO and laughing at Moses carrying the fifteen, er, ten commandments. From that clip alone, I knew I needed to watch the film. So I did. And boy, did I laugh. Again, very similar to yesterday’s movie, laughing at naked butts, erections and masturbation jokes in front of my family only made the gags funnier. Thankfully I was raised in a pretty liberal house as far as watching movies was concerned, so ‘restricted’ movies weren’t that restricted.

The only difference for me between these two classic Brooks films is that I own ‘Blazing Saddles’ and I do not own ‘History of the World: Part 1.’ So that probably means I have seen the former movie more than the latter. For some reason though the visuals of ‘History…..’ are more memorable to me. Are they funnier? Maybe. It could simply be that today’s movie has more sketches than a typical linear plot. That makes it more difficult not to forget such visuals as the cavemen inventing fire, Moses, Gregory Hines’ erection or the Last Supper scene. All visuals that make me laugh when I think of them and that will remain embedded in my brain for the rest of my life.

Today’s Thoughts: “Oh, you are nuts. N-V-T-S, nuts!”

At least when I woke up today I knew that I was going to laugh similar to the way I did yesterday, by the creative and ingenious mind of Mel Brooks. I probably have not seen ‘History of the World: Part I’ since the 1980’s, so I was definitely over due.

There is something about Mr. Brooks’ films that just make me happy. They are irreverent, bawdy, politically incorrect and very, very funny. I enjoyed watching his ensemble of gifted comedians make me laugh by playing, having fun and being silly. Their energy is infectious and you can’t not laugh, no matter how hard you try. Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman are again front and center with the high jinks and totally bring their A-game. Gregory Hines and Cloris Leachman are added in for additional giggles, but today for me there was one scene that really stuck out thanks to its actor. I totally forgot Bea Arthur was even in the film. Her “Vnemplyment” insurance clerk scene is so funny. Her comic timing and facial expressions are as always, impeccable.

‘History of the World: Part I’ was not well received by critics and was not as big a hit in the box office as Mr. Brooks previous films. It still makes me laugh though. For me, even his weakest films make me at least smile once or twice. This movie did more than that. It gave me a lot of laughs over the years and I am sure will give me more in the years to come. Mr. Brooks still has one more film on my list of most influential movies coming up later this year.

“It’s good to be the king.”

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, DVD Availability.


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