History of the World: Part I, 1981,USA
Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn & Harvey Korman
Film #53 of The December Project
Despite being a big Mel Brooks' fan, I have surprisingly never seen 'History of the World: Part I', I just don't think Ive ever seen a DVD around anywhere, but thanks to the magic of Piratebay, all is possible!
Mel Brooks puts on his spin on this early stages of the world as only he can, through the dawn of man, the old testament, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition and the French Revolution.
This film is practically an anthology with Brooks' ''analyzing'' several different parts of early human history. Being a Brooks' film, there is obviously a LOT of comedic content throughout, and more often than not it is hilarious. I love Mel's classic comedic antics and this is no different. There is of course a lot of gags related to the times in which the segments are taking place. The writing is very witty and humorous and its references to the times are constantly funny.
Mel can go a little overboard at times throughout this film, as he usually does, but it just doesn't work here like it does in 'Blazing Saddles' for example. The large musical sequence, while glorious and entertaining, did drag on just a little too long and got to a point where it came off as tedious, but was saved by Mel's hilarious facial expressions. The set design is incredible for the most part, and really captures the era's, not correctly of course, but in spirit!
The cast consists of many of Mel's recurring actors, he himself takes the lead role in almost all the segments and its always a joy to him onscreen and as per usual he is great here. The film is mainly an ensemble piece and no actors,other than Mel, stick around for the whole film, but we do have Madeline Kahn, who is one of my favorite actresses and she is of course hysterically funny as always. Harvey Korman, Gregory Hines, Cloris Leachman and everyone else is very funny. Also, I had absolute no idea that was Orson Welles was narrating until after the film finished, mind...blown.
'History of the World: Part I' is not Mel at his absolute finest, he achieved that back in 1974 when he certified himself by creating two comedic masterpieces in 'Young Frankenstein & 'Blazing Saddles', and if we are honest with ourselves, Mel never made a film on that level again but If I had to choose what his best film since that was, I would probably answer with this film. Plenty of great comedic content throughout the film and many laughs to go round. Not Mel's greatest moment but a very fun one in my view. I'm sure that 'History of the World: Part II' is just around the corner now, I mean *looks at watch* its only been 31 years, but I'm sure Mel has something huge planned....any minute now.... (JEWS IN SPACE!)