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I'm kind of surprised at some of the reviews of this film. Mainly the
"very poor" and "putrid" ones. This is Mel Brooks having the time of
his life. The marketplace scene is hilarious. "Plumbing! Pump s**t
right out of your house! Plumbing!
It's a wild romp through early history, with a few side steps into vaudeville and Broadway. I disagree that this film is not a classic. There are enough funny lines to quote out of this film to keep the average frat house laughing through three or four kegs of Bud.
"Boy, when you die at the palace, you REALLY die at the palace!"
Madeline (The Queen): "What happens to the slaves?"
Queen's Maid: "If they're captured, they're hung."
Madeline (The Queen): "Not necessarily."
So I suggest that you take of the Jeffrey Lyons face, sit down with some chips and brews, and watch this movie if you haven't already done so. Slapstick? You bet. Silly? Of course. As I asked before. It's Mel Brooks. What do you expect????
Classical comedy satire..Mel Brook's best film. Once you've seen this film, you will not forgot it. The punchlines keep rolling from the beginning of the film, and even past "the big ending". There is not much of a plot, but that is to be expected in a movie that contains a bunch of skits. If you like Monty Python, then you should love this movie. This movie is not for everyone, especially if you are easily offended. However the opening scene should tell you if you would have a problem watching the rest of the movie. This movie does currently rank in my top 10 comedies of all time.
Although it is aged around the edges, History of the World is one of my
favorite comedies. Admittedly, I have a good 100 in my "favorites"
list, but HotW is definitely in the top 25. It is pure enjoyment and
while sometimes raucous, it is never raunchy. Tactless, but never
dumbed down, and that makes for the best kind of comedy.
In true Brooks fashion, this work takes you from a parody of life to a satirical pop-culture vehicle. Unfortunately, the many late 1970's pop-culture references throughout the dialog is what dates this work. Otherwise, it would still be fresh, today.
Led by Mel Brooks's polished stylized direction, this work is not only hilarious, but is clever in its irony. It never takes itself too seriously, and delivers with every scene.
If you liked Wholly Moses, you will LOVE this!
It rates a 6.4/10 from...
the Fiend :.
This was actually a lot better than I expected. I'm more from a Monty Python humor background and some of the Mel Brooks humor is pretty campy and dated in a Marx Bros sense but it was still pretty darn good. It's hard not to like a guy who turns the Spanish Inquisition into a musical. I guess there's something for everyone to like (and be offended by).
Marred only by overlength, this is one hilarious bit of cinema as Mel
satirizes the stone age, the 10 Commandments, Rome, the Last Supper, the
Inquisition, and Louie the 16th (sorry I couldn't get the name right). Of
course, the stone age also happens to make fun of "2001 A Space Odyssey".
Also funny is at the end with the whole "Jews In Space" bit. I love that
Personally I thought the best bits were set in Rome, what with the gags about Vestal Virgins, innuendo between the queen and the late Gregory Hines, the "Stand Up Philosopher", Ethiopia, getting the Roman guards high, and of course, the Last Supper. This is not to say the Inquisition Musical number is not worth a look.
"Jesus!" - Mel Brooks
"What?" - Jesus Christ
Mel Brooks did not invent the comedy spoof movie, but his best work
("Blazing Saddles", "Young Frankenstein", "Dracula, Dead And Loving
It", and "High Anxiety") certainly make the most of it - even if some
of it gets rather too dirty (literally dirty - "caca" dirty). "History
Of The World" is a funny film, but it is not one of his best films. It
looks like it was based on bits and pieces of ideas that could have
been built up into separate movies: a film about the stone age, a film
about the Roman Empire, a film about the French Revolution. I am sure
that Brooks was inventive enough to have created three film spoofs, but
for some reason he decided to just concentrate on pasting these
It has wonderful moments in it - some are thrown away. The four desperate refugees from the Roman Empire, followed by centurions, pray for a miracle. Suddenly they see an old man - Brooks dressed like Moses (from an earlier sequence in the film). A river is parted like the Red Sea with "Moses" arms in the air. The refugees flee thanking God and Moses. In a moment we see there is a robber in back of "Moses" holding him up (hence his arms in the air), and when the robber leaves the old man starts cursing him.
Similar stuff is throughout the film (typical of Brooks' inventiveness). After fleeing Rome, Brooks has reached Palestine and is the waiter serving the "Last Supper". Besides having a problem when he keeps saying "JEEZUS" causing John Hurt (who is Christ) to ask, "Yes?", there is the problem of the painting being done by Da Vinci (Art Metrano), and how Brooks manages to get into the background of the masterpiece - holding his tray like a halo behind Hurt).
Brooks uses a number of his regulars in the film: Madeline Kahn as the Empress Nympho, Dom DeLuis as the Emperor (one could call him "piggy" after one particular comment about his eating habits), Harvey Korman as the foppish Count du Monet, Sid Caesar as a caveman who is full of awe. He was also lucky to have Gregory Hines, usually a dancer but here a strikingly breezy comic, and Orson Welles doing the narration properly (note his voice's confusion at the start when describing the first heterosexual marriage, followed by the first homosexual one).
The disjointed style is a minor problem in enjoying the film. Judging from the final scenes from the sequel, Brooks could have done a Viking movie, a skating film about Nazism, and a space musical about the Jews. Alas, only those scenes were ever shot. A second part might not have been a great film either, but it would have been quite as amusing.
If you're trying to kill time on a Sunday, watch this movie.
It's the perfect example of Mel Brooks comedy.
Everyone has their favorite and least favorite part. My favorite was "The Inquisition" song. My least favorite? Probably the French Revolution part, which dragged out for a while.
Hey, Mel, do your audience a favor and make "History of the World: Part II". I can just see him harassing Thomas Edison, Jimi Hendrix, Ed Sullivan, Adolph Hitler, and others.
History of the World Part I (man, I wish they had done a part II!) is
one of my all-time favorite comedies. In fact, this is my favorite Mel
One of my favorite scenes is Mel Brooks as the King of France, playing chess with real people. He yells through a loudspeaker, Pawn jump Queen, Rook jump Queen, Bishop jump Queen...everybody JUMP Queen, (well you get the idea!) Then you see him on the very top of the pile. This gets me in stitches every time! In the same skit, Harvey Korman exclaims to the King, "you look like the pee (sic) boy." In which, Brooks says "and you look like a bucket of turd (sic)." Of course, Brooks is also playing the pee (sic) boy, which is why there is a resemblance.
The movie is a series of skits from the times of the caveman up to the French Revolution. The Roman Empire skit is also hilarious.
Brooks' comedies are brilliant and this is one I highly recommend. I believe that ratings should be subject to what the film is trying to accomplish. This film wants you to laugh and have fun, and that is exactly what I do every time I see it. This is a film I can enjoy over and over again. Rating 10 of 10 stars.
I had watched this as a kid, a popular but not highly-regarded Brooks
effort. It is wildly uneven but, also, undeniably funny at times (even
if most of the gags are, unsurprisingly, of the vulgar kind).
Brooks managed to rope in Orson Welles to provide indifferent narration over his lampoon of various historical eras (the film's one-liners, too, read better than they play). Still, "The Stone Age" (featuring Sid Caesar) offers a nice parody of the "Dawn Of Man" sequence from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) while the brief but hilarious "The Old Testament" sees Brooks himself as Moses accidentally lose a third of God's original 15 Commandments! "The Roman Empire" the longest segment features Brooks veterans Dom De Luise and Madeleine Kahn, the film's single best joke (the Senators' spontaneous reply, in unison, to a fellow members' concern over the plight of the city's poor), plus wonderful conclusion involving John Hurt as Jesus Christ. "The Spanish Inquistion" is, again, brief but surely one of the film's highlights with its tastelessly inspired depiction of this infamous period as a Busby Berkeley-ish production number (though Brooks' typical Jewish jokes seem baffling in this context). Just as Monty Python had done the definitive parody of the Roman Empire with LIFE OF BRIAN (1979), "The French Revolution" follows on from the "Carry On" gang's DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD (1966). The results are just as middling (involving the inevitable impersonation of the King by a commoner) but highlighting two established presences in Brooks' films, Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman. Easily the funniest bit from this segment is the King's outrageous shooting practice.
Still, at the end of the day, Brooks can't avoid repeating himself: the "Walk This Way" gag from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) turns up here as well; Brooks' lecherous French king is virtually a copy of his Governor characterization in the Western spoof BLAZING SADDLES (1974); and the surreal nick-of-time escape at the very end, which also derives from the latter film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A pity that a director like Mel Brooks, responsible for such classics
like "The Producer", the one-two 1974 punch of "Young Frankenstein" and
"Blading Saddles", and the less successful but still entertaining "High
Anxiety" fell flat on his face with this clunker.
While it starts out with the promising Orson Welles voice-over (spoofing his own "War of the Worlds" narration as a nifty in-joke) in the first segment (which also spoofs the ape men sequence from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey"), the rest quickly plummets in one un-funny after un-funny succession.
Sid Caesar gives all he has for his short bit as the lead caveman (and granted, the entry works). Moses fails to deliver and whatever comic intent there is shatters just like his extra table of commandments. Only the Bea Arthur scene works in the Roman Empire segment -- even Madeline Kahn's presence can't save what is a badly written part -- and here the movie completely sinks into incoherence with unrelated "funny" scenes added as supposed hilarity, for example, when a man carries a very dated boom box and listens to "Funkytown". The Last Supper sequence is fairly descent and somewhat brings back "History..." a little luster, but the Spanish Inquisition, a segment obviously intended as a nod to Hollywood musicals from the 1930s, is quite arguably the worst sketch in the entire movie. The French Revolution begins well, bringing Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, and Andreas Katsoulas, all Brooks veterans, back on film in small but memorable parts, but not long after this segment begins that it goes down, down under and never bothers to recover itself.
The fact that Mel Brooks also decided to play five roles here makes it the more irritating. One can only guess he did so due to his own star power (or maybe he believed he could do an Alec Guiness). His entry as the King in the last sequence is so cringe-inducing ["It's good to be the king!"] that it's a relief when that bad joke is over and THE END appears on the horizon with a title montage reminiscent of the all-caps title LAND OF THE GIANTS.
I personally am glad of his success with his own revival of "The Producers." His recent appearance at the season finale of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" only cements his reputation even more as he spoofs his revival using Larry David, of all people as the lead, in order for it to flop. It only furthers to show he can make a fantastically funny visual story (or appear in one) when he chooses to, but this movie is only for die-hard fans.
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