High Anxiety (1977)
Directed by Mel Brooks
Starring: Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman
This 1977 film is another crazy creation of Mel Brooks, the man behind movies like Blazing Saddles and The Producers. Once again he got together with some of his favorite talents. This includes stars from his other movies like Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Cloris Leachman. The story is a spoof on Vertigo, The Brids, and Psycho, the classic Hitchcock films. This movie was even dedicated to Hitchcock.
Doctor Richard Thorndyke (Brooks) is the new head of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous. When he arrives, he begins to suspect that suspicious things are happening within its walls. Among the suspicious people he’s working with are Nurse Diesel (Leachman) and Doctor Charles Montague (Korman). His suspicions seem to be confirmed when he’s asked by Victoria Brisbane (Kahn), the daughter of one of his patients, to investigate the condition of her father. Now Doctor Thorndyke will have to face his own condition, high anxiety, if he wants to uncover the truth.
This is another fantastic Brooks comedy. The script is full of comedy gold that comes together wonderfully at the hands of Kahn, Korman, Leachman, and Brooks. This was Brooks first speaking role in a film, and it is a wonderful performance. The rest of the cast is equally great in the parts they took on for this hilarious film.
The constant nods to the classic Hitchcock films throughout this movie play out nicely. Brooks was not attempting to make fun of the films, more to just highlight the classic moments from those movies in a different style. For a Hitchcock fan, this was fun and easily recognizable throughout the movie. Brooks even sent a gift to Hitchcock, along with a note that read, “A small token of my pleasure, have no anxiety about this.”
This is a great comedy that I would recommend to anyone. If you love a good comedy, you might want to take the time to see this one. With a PG rating it is fun for the whole family. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.
High Anxiety was a lot of fun to watch, and I think a lot of it is due to the care that Brooks took in making the film. It’s a parody of Hitchcock’s films, but it’s also very much an homage to them, and Brooks takes as much care setting up his shots here as Hitch usually did. It makes the film one of Brooks’ better ones.
I think he was a perfectionist in the early years of his career. I wish all of his films had the magic that this one does.
I’d have to revisit this one, I saw it as a kid without any real knowledge of the material it was spoofing. I love a good Brooks film, though
I hope you enjoy!
Great post, a rewatch is definately in order after reading this.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I’m sure I will, have you checked out my first music question post yet?
Not yet, but I’ll be there soon.