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This is Conan Doyle's ingenious way of bringing back Sherlock Holmes "from the dead" due to public pressure after the scene where both he and his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty are swept hand in hand in mortal combat over the Reichenbach Falls in "The Final Problem".
Interestingly enough, when the "resurrected" Holmes reveals himself to his landlady Mrs. Hudson (Rosalie Williams, as usual), she has her hysterics but Watson himself faints dead away. Holmes' reaction is "I had no idea you'd be so affected." Well duh! Showing that even Sherlock could be dense at times.
With Edward Hardwick taking over for David Burke as Dr. Watson, I find that he is, in my opinion, a livelier Watson than Burke and I much prefer him.
Very interesting as well as rather touching.
Casablanca, the Unique
This, now iconic, old film owes much of its character to the number of actual refugees from Hitler's Third Reich in the non-starring roles, (Bogart, Bergman, and Henreid aside).
A brief appearance by Peter Lorre is a case in point and even more so is S.Z. ("Cuddles") Sakall much of whose family was actually wiped out in the holocaust and who has a sizable role in this film as Carl the Waiter.
The inevitable Sydney Greenstreet plays a friendly rival of Rick Blaine's American Cafe and, of course, Dooley Wilson as the pianist and singer Sam of "play it again" fame. No Hoagy Carmichael (Bogie's later pianist) he, and so his piano playing had to be dubbed as his voice was not. And Claude Rains as the corrupt Captain Louis Renault ("I'm shocked, shocked" and "Round up the usual suspects")
The Song, "as Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld was basically the theme song of "Casablanca" and was used throughout as part of the complete score.
The villainous Nazi Major Strasser was, of course, played by Conrad Veidt who was not Jewish but whose third wife was. Mr. Veidt, however, told the nazis that he was himself Jewish making it certain that he would have to leave Germany. The now-cliched lines have become part of the lore of filmdom but, of course, this film is where they originated!
This is a film that, with all its faults and its occasional historical inaccuracies, still richly deserves its present reputation.
Mr. Holmes (2015)
Even fictional detectives can grow old!
The, perhaps most gifted, classical actor of today, Sir Ian McKellen stars in this film about the most famous fictional detective ever created, who tells us himself, towards the end of the canonical stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that when Sherlock Holmes retired he became a beekeeper. (Several stories occur during and after his retirement.) In addition to McKellen, Laura Linney, with a sometimes shaky British accent, plays Holmes' housekeeper Mrs. Munro and Milo Parker plays her young son Roger, Holmes' young follower and admirer.
Mention should be made of Nicholas Rowe who famously played young Sherlock many years ago but, in this film, he is in a brief satiric "matinee movie" scene, a nice touch.
The similarities to the earlier film "Gods and Monsters" (1998) in which the same star, Ian McKellen, played the director James Whale, of the original Frankenstein films, is also not accidental with the story having to do with the final days of that director surrounded by real and fictional characters. It had the same director Bill Condon, as well.
Based on the Mitch Cullin novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, Holmes here is gradually losing his memory and can't recall the facts of his last case and Watson's account of it he finds untrustworthy. But since Watson is described as rarely being around at this time, I can only wonder if Watson would have written that account.
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
In my youth, the name Florence Foster Jenkins was always a source of laughter as belonging to the world's worse soprano who had an inability to sing on pitch. (A case in point was her infamous attempt at singing the famous Queen of the Night aria, ("Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen") I have not seen the other recent film "Marguerite" (2015) which was very loosely based on her career but this film is closer to her real life. For example, it turns out she was suffering from syphilis caught from her husband Dr. Frank Jenkins early on. So she was perhaps not completely in her right mind afterward.
But she made the best of her life as she saw it.
Meryl Streep plays Florence with her usual skill in another Oscar-worthy performance, Hugh Grant plays her "sort-of-husband" and manager St. Clair Bayfield (they avoided any conjugal relations by mutual agreement and he had his own real marriage.) and is a fine match for Streep.
However, the big surprise is Simon Helberg (Wolowitz on The Big Bang theory) who plays the sorely-tried accompanist to Madame Jenkins, Cosmé McMoon,"McMunn" originally, but that is not mentioned in this film.
Although Helberg doesn't avoid McMoon's effeminate gestures, he doesn't overdo them either. (How about best-supporting actor?) Well-done all around!
Various "Jeremies" excel in this early Grenada TV Sherlock Holmes episode.
I first came upon the Holmes story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" in high school, as well as having Conan Doyle's historical novel "The White Company", which I've mercifully forgotten completely, as required reading.
I saw this episode when it was recently telecast on the City University Station (CUNY) in their summer Holmes series mostly from the Grenada versions.
The rather familiar early episode both in the Conan Doyle canon and in the Grenada Brett series almost looks that you have to be a Jeremy-something to work on this series as in the listing below of the dramatizer as well as the villain: dramatized by Jeremy Paul, Dr. Grimesby Roylott: Jeremy Kemp with the main actresses: Helen Stoner: Rosalyn Landor and Julia Stoner: Denise Armon
A quite straightforward approach here with Watson being played by David Burke. Perhaps it's because I was more familiar with Edward Hardwicke's Watson, that I much preferred him over Burke and I rather miss him here. But all of the acting was excellent especially by the two Jeremies and Ms. Landor. Rosalie Williams, as usual, played Mrs.Hudson, the landlady.
The suspense is nicely sustained to the end even if you are familiar with the story and I highly recommend this version.
The first installment of the Brett series
The dialogue concerning Sherlock Holmes' cocaine use and the famous 7-percent solution was taken from Doyle's "The Sign of Four" and that is probably the real reason Brett didn't repeat it in that episode.
I'm not quite sure why Irene Adler's first name is pronounced in that rather odd way ("Eereyna") especially since she is described as an American from New Jersey but I have little doubt she was based on the "Jersey Lily", Lillie Langtry, who came from the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. (Many of the Holmes stories were written for an American audience.)
In this story, Adler is a prima donna soprano and an "adventuress" who, like the real Langry, had affairs with many royal and noble personages.
In this episode, David Burke is Watson and Gayle Hunnicutt is the excellent Irene Adler. Though Holmes was not an admirer of the female sex, to him, Adler was always "the woman" whose cleverness surpassed his own in the long run.
Wolf Kahler played the fictional King of a fictionalized "Bohemia".
This is the first episode in the presently unsurpassed Brett-Burke-Hardwicke Grenada series.
well-done extrapolation from Doyle's Sherlock Holmes original (spoilers)
Robert Hardy died only 5 days ago at age 91, but here he shows his great talent by brilliantly playing the oily title character.
It must be said at the outset that Charles Augustus Milverton was closely-based on a real (alleged) "master blackmailer", Charles Augustus Howell, a shady art dealer who now has his own Wikipedia page.
In case anyone thinks the denouement of this episode is a case of "wishful thinking", Howell's end in real life was strikingly similar to Milverton's even though his real killer still remains unknown.
The early scene in the Victorian gay bar is, of course, not suggested by Doyle's original and the drag singer is singing Debussy's early song (Beau Soir in an English translation) but it seems a logical scene to include in an updated episode about a blackmailer.
The Sign of Four (1987)
Intricate mystery with Holmes and Watson and more than a touch of "Endeavour"
I didn't previously understand why the scene where Holmes discussed his cocaine use and the famous 7 percent solution wasn't filmed in this episode as in the Holmes canon but it became clear that it was because it was included in the first installment of the Granada series ("A Scandal in Bohemia").
Looming large in the denouement of this installment is the actor John Thaw (1942-2002) who was famous for playing Inspector (Endeavour) Morse in the original series and that explains my summary above.
It must also be mentioned that in the original Doyle story, Holmes reacts very badly to the news of Watson's impending marriage to Mary Morstan and, at the very end, he further reacts by reaching for his cocaine bottle but this is left unmentioned in the Grenada production.
Another scene, better done in the Doyle original, has to do with another appearance by Holmes in a surprising disguise which fools all people present but which is here rather abridged and also abridges the effectiveness of the scene.
This is also the episode where Holmes sends Watson to get his favorite dog Toby to help him in solving the mystery and also where he enlists the aid of his "Baker Street Irregulars" who actually seem more helpful, in the long run, than Toby, although they certainly upset Mrs. Hudson (As always Rosalie Williams) by invading their Baker Street household.
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
A notable indictment of Nazi Germany by Director Stanley Kramer
This famous film from 1961 features some of the most familiar faces of the period, most of which are recognizable by viewers who are old enough. (I only first saw it several nights ago on PBS.) The star of this film is, of course, Spencer Tracy as chief judge Dan Haywood soon after he played, in effect, lawyer Clarence Darrow in "Inherit the Wind" a similar role. Others following are Burt Lancaster whose stature as an actor was rising as he stretched himself more and more and eventually played the starring role in Visconti's "The Leopard" ( Il Gattopardo"). Richard Widmark played the prosecutor Tad Lawson and Maximillian Schell played the defense lawyer, Hans Rolfe. Montgomery Clift also appeared as a victim of the Nazi enforced sterilization law.
The growing friendship between chief Judge Haywood and Frau Bertholt (Marlene Dietrich) seems to defy judicial protocol but it does give Dietrich, (In reality a noted enemy of the Third Reich), a chance to remind people of her association with the World War II song "Lili Marlene".
At one point the character played by Richard Widmark introduces the familiar, still upsetting, graphic photos taken by the Allies at the liberation of the concentration camps.
Towards the end of the film we get some appearances by, of all people, Judy Garland which should remind of us of her acting ability in addition to her stature as perhaps the greatest entertainer of the 20th Century! She plays a woman involved in what was a real case of an elderly Jewish man executed on trumped-up charges of defiling the "racial purity" laws of Nazi Germany.
The first of the many real Nuremberg trials had many defendants but director Kramer concentrates only on four fictional criminals.
Still, this film is a notable indictment of those who evaded their responsibilities towards humanity during one of the biggest blots on human history!
Der Rosenkavalier (1985)
A finely-acted version of Strauss' most famous opera directed by Brian Large
Strauss was not fond of the tenor singing voice and and therefore, the romantic "male" lead is Anne Howells in the "trouser" role of Octavian (Count Rofrano). The opening scene showing "his" romantic relations with "The Marshallin" can be startling to modern eyes, to say the least.
But this production belongs to Kiri Te Kanawa as the dignified Marschallin who poignantly realizes the passage of time and the impermanence of her relationship with the much younger Octavian, and the aptly-named Baron Ochs of Lerchenau is the fine Danish basso, Aage Haugland. Barbara Bonney was Sophie the female romantic lead, a role she played in two different productions, the other starring Felicity Lott.
Brian Large directed this most finely-acted and excellently sung made for TV production from Covent Garden with impressive scenery and props befitting the Royal Opera House.
The final Act 3 showing the comeuppance of Ochs ends with the final most affecting trio with the Marschallin and love duet between Octavian and Sophie and finally the young black page Mohammed's retrieval of Sophie's dropped handkerchief at the very end.
It must be said that the famous waltzes are an anachronism for 1740 when the action is supposed to take place.
A ghost film with an unbeatable cast!
Although the title role is played by Roland Young, the rest of the cast is made up of other quite famous stars and supporting actors and actresses of the period.
Among the others is Cary Grant (no less) as George Kerby and Constance Bennett as his wife Marion, Arthur Lake,only a little pre-Dagwood Bumstead, Billie Burke (post-Ziegfeld but slightly pre-Wizard of Oz), the gravel-voiced Eugene Palette (("No son of mine", he even says something like it in the film.) Alan Mowbray (Hollywood's idea of a butler), Hedda Hopper as a society lady, an uncredited Hoagy Carmichael at the beginning of the film at the piano of course, and lots of others.
The ghostly special effects are quite wonderful for the period and the Thorne Smith-based plot keeps things moving along nicely.
Who could ask for anything more?
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)
The Abominable Snow-Job!
As a non-fan of this overly clever series, I can only say that they should have been on their better behavior in the semi-historic version of Conan Doyle. But, no, we are instead "treated" to "mind palaces", "Wronged women" and, in some of the episodes of this series, references to "Jim" Moriarity (an overly familiar way of describing Doyle's "Napoleon of Crime". Please have some respect!)
After racing through the original meeting of Holmes and Watson and the preparation and background for this episode, I have been left with my own "mind palace" reeling to the point of begging for mercy from the attack of too much information.
Ultimately, this boils down to a feminist viewpoint of the Conan Doyle characters which Doyle probably never thought of. However, it must be admitted that the title role of Emelia Ricoletti played by Natasha O'Keeffe is really quite frightening and almost makes up for the shortcomings of this installment.
also see the page for "The Abominable Bride" on Wikipedia.
A brilliant and funny farce!
Clifton Webb at his most stuff-shirtish is the life of this takeoff on swashbucklers and television commercials. Even today these eerily seem to foreshadow the commercials still shown (only usually in color.) with their pointless animations and annoying voices uttering gross exaggerations.
Ginger Rogers, here without Fred Astaire, proves herself quite a good farceuse as Webb's nemesis, Anne Francis is good as Webb's daughter and Jeffrey Hunter, some years before playing Jesus in "King of Kings" (also known humorously as "I was a Teenage Jesus" because of his youthful looks, even if he was close to the right age) played opposite Miss Francis.
Other reliable character players included Elsa Lanchester, Fred Clark and Ray Collins.
The film was brilliantly directed by Claude Binyon from his own sharp script based on a story by John D. Weaver.
The Little Ark (1972)
memorable but flawed
I don't remember how long ago I saw this but I certainly found it memorable.
Theodore Bikel played the Captain of the "little ark" and, as I recall, he was one of those actors who let his makeup do much of his work! Otherwise, I recall, maybe unfairly, how hammy he could be.
The two children (Philip Frame and Geneviève Ambas) who are rescued from the church tower, were very good as I recall and the final scene with the Academy Award nominated choral song by the Karlins ("Come Follow, Follow Me".) was very upbeat as the kids are taken off to school to resume their lives after the tragedy. What preceded it, which showed bodies of drowned victims of the actual historical flood, though, was anything but upbeat, leading many at the time to wonder what audience the film was intended for.
If you get a chance to see this, I would certainly recommend it for mature audiences, but I think it's too horrific for children.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
a big shrug!
from a "Merlinian" of sorts:
OK, only because of my narrated Symphony no. 1 (Idylls of the King about King Arthur) on You Tube in which Merlin is a character.
Both Nic Cage and Jay Baruchel ham it up predictably with the latter in the Mickey Mouse role; See the broom sequence with its brief quotation from Paul Dukas' composition of the same name. (He doesn't really outact Mickey though!) Alfred Molina, an admirable man in real life is the effective baddie here.
The acting is mostly non-existent but what does anyone expect from a Disney film since the Disneys specialize in often very pretty teenagers of both genders who can't act. (The main heroine also is strictly generic.) The plot throughout is far-fetched but this is also expected under the same circumstances!
You will go out humming the special effects!
history hollywoodized a la Spielberg
I recently saw this film on the tube and I have little doubt it would have been better on the large screen.
Yes, Daniel was all they say. He certainly did his research including getting the Lincoln voice just right (Those who insist that Abe should be portrayed as a booming bass-baritone ought to do their own research!) and completely inhabited the part. Sally Field, who has been criticized for being too histrionic in all her portrayals is here playing a histrionic part and could hardly have done it differently. And she too didn't just fly-in her part. (ow!)
I really, really liked her! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)
The other parts were all carefully cast.
Tony Kushner's script about the original "Angel in America" was properly inspirational and John Williams'score evoked every musical Americana cliché he could get his hands on especially Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait".
But Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Kushner's often falsified the facts at times in order to build the suspense for the 13th Amendment voting scene. If I remember, one state voted yea in fact (Massachusetts?) but, in this film, they voted nay.
The final scene was rather perfunctory, even if necessary, but I won't say what it was in order to avoid giving the ending away.;-)
But, for me, the main interest of the film was the light it shed on present-day politics with a direct parallel between the machinations Lincoln had to go through to get the Amendment passed and the current administration has to go through to get anything done at all. And the same criticism being leveled against both presidents about their "exceeding their authority"!
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (2013)
beating a dead horse?
I wanted to like this new series based on the venerable old programs which are still quite hilarious both in the British and later American incarnations with Drew Carey.
Alas, Aisha Tyler doesn't yet fit in but she may never fit in. She overdoes her reactions and the men of the program, used to "giving it to the host" for instance Wayne Brady's mock sexual advances to Drew Carey are not duplicated so far on this incarnation. Nor are they ever likely to be, no doubt due to political correctness!
Sorry, the chemistry is not there. I don't understand why Aisha can't use her normal voice instead of that affected loud sing-song delivery she insists on. Maybe if she relaxed more she would do better.
Go to YouTube instead and watch the old clips which are the real thing.
additional comments added 9/16/16:
I think that maybe they are finding better ways for the long-time familiar players to interact with Ms. Tyler and she seems to be giving up her affected delivery which never worked. Speaking of her supposed Trans-sexuality for comedic purposes works for the present and if that can be related to her supposed "bossiness" I think they might succeed where they didn't before!
Carnegie Hall (1947)
often brilliant music performances but rather awful drama
The dramatic part of the film is really rather dismal. When you have the mother in the cast played by a woman (Marsha Hunt, a later victim of the Hollywood blacklist, still alive at 95!) who, in real life was younger than her "son" (William Prince), it strains credibility even with Miss Hunt's "old" makeup.
And the usual device of the hero's desire to play "modern"-music-rather-than-classical device is one that surely had whiskers even then! See "The Jazz Singer" for example. In this case, he wants to perform with the rather wooden singer, band leader and trumpeter Vaughn Monroe.
Mr. Prince's character, Tony Salerno finally gets his predicable "big chance" at the end of the film when he "conducts", "plays" his own composition with trumpeter Harry James. It isn't clear who really wrote the music from the listed credits but the anonymity of the author is quite understandable. (Charles Previn?) And none of the other composers suffers from the competition, I have to say.
However, the actual musical performances are as well done as possible with Rubenstein and Heifetz at somewhere near their peaks even with Rubenstein's inevitable Polonaise in Ab (Chopin). And their interactions with the actors is also very well done with, for example, Pinza's "prima donna" temper tantrum about his costume probably not exaggerated at all.
Walter Damrosch's association with the actual opening of Carnegie Hall at which Tchaikovsky also conducted is another welcome reminder of the authenticity of the film as well as the actual hall being used rather than a studio fake and that right after its 1940's renovation.
Though my last piano teacher, Nadia Reisenberg was also in the film in an ensemble, I turned it on too late to see her.
A unique film for the music even with the cringe-making back story!
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
very enjoyable but excessively long.
Saw most of this again on TCM this evening after seeing it complete many years ago.
The cast was charming and carried off the clichés and cartoonish adventure with great aplomb. The villainous Mrs. Meers was played by the great comedienne, Bea Lillie and the rest of the cast especially the women (Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing), were excellent as they continued to prove in their later careers.
Of course the two "orientals" were extremely racist caricatures (played by Jack Soo and Pat Morita) up there with Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffanys in that respect.
But much of it went on far too long and this was further drawn out by the endless "Intermission" with Julie doing the singing throughout, and the unbelievably endless closing credits.
To Have and Have Not (1944)
When Bogie met Hoagy (and Betty)
This almost seems like a study for the now iconic "Casablanca" but in truth it came two years later.
Yes, Bacall made a very stunning debut here and even did some singing. (No she wasn't dubbed by Andy Williams as in the legend!) But Bogie played essentially the same character as in the other film under another name of course.
Hoagy Carmichael essentially echoed the part of Sam as the house pianist in the earlier film but he could really play the piano unlike Dooley Wilson who was only a singer and whose piano playing had to be dubbed. And he played again and sang many times throughout the film, most memorably in "The Hong Kong Blues" which I remembered from seeing the film as a child.
I have to admit that I was thoroughly annoyed by Eddie ("Have you ever been stung by a dead bee?") the Walter Brennan part where he plays a "rummy" who keeps repeating this sentence ad nauseum.
The story is serviceable as a vehicle for these stars if not nearly as memorable as the story in Casablanca and Dan Seymour was good as the villainous fat man. (you know, the Sydney Greenstreet part!)
review of (non-3D) DVD
It must be said from the outset that 3D is not absolutely necessary for the story but it would enhance it greatly, I imagine. But even in a "flat" version, you can easily imagine the 3D effects.
The acting and cinematography are all first-rate especially the acting of Asa Butterfield who plays the title role, Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle, Ben Kingsley as Georges, Helen McCrory as Mama Jeanne, Sacha Baron Cohen as the Inspector, and some nice shorter roles by Jude Law and Christopher Lee.
The station set and the huge clocks are impressive and Martin Scorcese's old film enthusiasms and knowledge are put to good use.
I think most people have missed the reference to Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last!" when Hugo is hanging from a clock. That particular film is also shown as one of the old film excerpts.
The story is, as others have pointed out, a pretty standard action-adventure quite comparable to Pearl White's "Perils of Pauline" and though actors playing Django Reinhardt, James Joyce and Salvador Dali appear briefly, the characters are not identified as they are in Woody Allen's name-dropping "Midnight in Paris". (They actually don't need to be!) A scene for Douglas Fairbank's version of "Thief of Bagdad" is also shown but the character of Hugo is closer to Sabu's in the second version, at least because of his age.
The DVD also includes a "making of Hugo" extra.
Is it a great film? Maybe, maybe not, but the answer is: only time will tell!
A pretty good summation of Hammerstein's career.
I have to say right off the bat that I'm not a big fan of Mr. Hammerstein, but he has certainly done some excellent things. From the classic "Show Boat" which he wrote with Jerome Kern in the 20's to his last work with Richard Rodgers there are many memorable moments but also moments of pure sentimentality, "The Sound of Music" being a case in point.
I could have done with some more extended excerpts in many instances and some mention of Rodgers' collaboration with Larry Hart might also have been mentioned, at least in passing, but I don't recall that it was.
I was very interested in Sondheim's remarks particularly in view of his major differences as a lyricist.
I could have done with a longer documentary but I suppose they wanted to leave time for their fund-raising.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
mixed feelings but mainly irritation!
I've never been a fan of Woody and this is not going to make me one.
One of the problems, I think, is that all the characters are cardboard. Owen Wilson plays Woody and shows such great Romantic Enthusiasm that it wore me down after a while! (At least he didn't try to obviously imitate Woody's mannerisms as Kenneth Branagh did in "Celebrity"!) Rachel McAdams plays his "Crass Fiancée" and Michael Sheen plays "The Pedant".
Yes, we know Woody loves Paris but this too becomes oppressive in my opinion while becoming a near commercial for the city. And Woody has done the fantasy or time-travel shtick more than once before, most obviously in Zelig, Sleeper, and Purple Rose but these have all been done better by others.
And finally, all the celebrities Owen meets are pretty much top of the pops: Cole, Ernest, Gertrude, Alice, Pablo, Luis, Salvador, Scott and Zelda, Man Ray, Josephine, T.S., Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaughuin, Matisse, Degas: they are all here!
In short, a very superficial and obvious, if somewhat entertaining, film.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
A camp non-classic
They played it again on TCM last night and, though I'd seen it before, I lasted about 30 minutes before giving up.
Clearly, the best thing about the film were the Harryhausen fake monsters, especially the Kraken.
The acting by all concerned was hilariously bad even if some of the biggest names in filmdom were involved. The scenes on Mt. Olympus looked like a public school pageant with line readings to match and Olivier as Zeus was clearly in it for the money as were all the others.
Burgess Meredith played an ancient Greek version of his mentor in the Rocky flicks. Bowker and Hamlin fulfilled their eye-candy functions but Harry made the mistake of opening his mouth and ruining the whole effect.
The script was awful and the actors responded in kind.
What is surprising is that this has become the basis for a remake and a sequel which apparently have made or will make even this look like an Oscar-winner.
History of the World: Part I (1981)
succeeds on sheer chutzpah!
Mel succeeds admirably in his outrageousness almost throughout the film despite occasional signs of the feebleness of the "Jesus-yes?" dialog in the Last Supper and the overextended French Revolution scene.
But in most of the film, real outrage rears its head over man's inhumanity to man especially in the Inquisition scene and, though perhaps less so, in the Roman scene. Even his trademark Hitler spoofs, such as the "Hitler on Ice-coming attraction" here show his own obsessive and strong reaction to that horrible period in history.
Some of the jokes have cobwebs such as the "Alms for Oedipus" beggar and Gregory Hines response "Hey there, m.f! But it works because it's carried off with energy.
In the long run, the film is probably more serious than it seems on first glance and has more bite than the really feeble attempts to follow such as "Spaceballs", "Robin Hood" or "Dracula".