A bad Polish actor is just trying to make a living when what should intrude but World War II in the form of an invasion. His wife has the habit of entertaining young Polish officers while ... See full summary »
Dr. Richard Thorndyke arrives as new administrator of the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous to discover some suspicious goings-on. When he's framed for murder, Dr. Thorndyke must confront his own psychiatric condition, "high anxiety," in order to clear his name. An homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock; contains many parodies of famous Hitchcock scenes from THE BIRDS, PSYCHO, and VERTIGO. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
Mel Brooks is a very funny man, and though sometimes I think his comedy is a little on the low side, "High Anxiety" has some truly hilarious moments. Mel riffs on Hitchcock, right down to Madeline Kahn's gray suit a la Kim Novak in Vertigo. He combines scenes from "Spellbound," "Vertigo," "Foreign Correspondent," "The Birds," "Psycho," "Dial M for Murder," and "North by Northwest" in this story of a man taking over as the head of a mental sanitarium, replacing a man who is murd - uh, dead. Kahn is the Hitchcock blonde whose father is in the asylum. To give you an idea of this place where the lunatics have definitely taken over - Cloris Leachman plays a nurse who's into S&M with Harvey Korman. Both of them are a riot. Mel plays it straight which makes him even funnier.
I have two favorite scenes - the first is Mel, doing a perfect imitation of Sinatra's style, singing "High Anxiety" to Kahn. He's fabulous, and the look on Kahn's face is delicious. My other favorite scene is when Brooks and Kahn disguise themselves as elderly people to get through airport security. Psychiatric expert Brooks thinks the more noise you make, the less people notice you. The two of them do a fabulous skit which is priceless.
We really lost a treasure when we lost Madeline Kahn, one of the all-time great talents. It's wonderful to see this and remember her. I do believe that because of the humor, the film can be enjoyed without having seen the Hitchcock films spoofed, but of course, it's all the better if you have. A delightful film.
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