“Oh, you are nuts. N-V-T-S, nuts!”
Mel Brooks is the undisputed master of spoof movies. The man just knew how to make excellent comedy. History of the World Pt.1 clearly shows how the man is a true master of comedy. Brooks wrote, produced, directed, and played five different parts in this movie. He takes us through history from the dawn of early man to the cavemen and Vikings, through the Roman Empire to the Inquisition right to the French Revolution.
My favorite parts of the movie are the Roman Empire and the French Revolution. But before these there are two good scenes. One scene is in the cavemen sequence. Orson Welles narrates the beginning and in the cavemen sequence he says “And of course, with the birth of the artist came the inevitable afterbirth… the critic” and a caveman comes and pees in the wall painting haha. I am currently an Art History major and I love that joke because who is to say what is art and what is not. The other scene is Mel Brooks as Moses and God handing him the Commandments. Brooks comes out as Moses and says “The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen... [drops a tablet] Oy! Ten! Ten Commandments for all to obey!”
The Roman Empire part is hilarious it contains some of my most favorite movies scenes. There are little jokes here and there like in all of Brooks’ movies to listen for and a lot of them are completely hysterical. The reason I find these part so funny is because of Madeline Kahn as the Empress Nympho. I cry laughing at the scene when she is being taken around town on her bed and she tells the soldiers carrying her “Could you please step on the same foot at the same time! My tits are falling off!” haha. Her character is looking for love and she saves Josephus a black slave excellently played by Gregory Hines. I also cry laughing with the scene when Empress Nympho has to pick a date for the midnight orgy and has the soldiers do a quick time march! Dom DeLuise is a panic as Emperor Nero especially when he pulls things out of his rear end and says “Wash this!” There are so many great scenes in the Roman Empire part that will have you rolling on the floor laughing.
The French Revolution part is so wrong yet so good in so many ways. Harvey Korman plays Count de Monet and is constantly telling people that his name is not “count de money.” Mel Brooks as King Louis XVI proclaims “It’s good to be the King” whenever he comes across a pretty lady. Cloris Leachman is so hysterical (what I find so funny about her as an actress is she started out as a serious actress and over her many years of acting just became a comedic actress. She was in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and I could not believe it was her acting in a serious role!). She plays an old French lady leading a group of rebellious people named Madame Defarge. She says “We are so poor we don’t even have our own language just this stupid accent” and someone in the crowd says “We all sound like Maurice Chevailer.”
There are so many things in History of the World that only Mel Brooks can get away with such as singing about The Inquisition and executing Jews while he is a Jew himself. No one has ever been able to make a half as decent a spoof movie as Mel Brooks made. Today we have those God awful spoof movies like Meet the Spartans or Epic Movie or Vampires Suck. Those come nowhere near as being spoof movies in any sense they are just annoying. What Brooks does is he takes some points of history or westerns (Blazzing Saddles) or movies (High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein) and respectfully makes them funny. His subtle humor is the best and it’s a shame that no one today wants to see that humor, nowadays is just thrown in our face. Like all of Brooks’ movies, History of the World Pt. 1 is smart and hilarious without going over the top.
It should be warned that Brooks is what I like to call an equal opportunity offender. But then again if you did not have a sense of humor you would not be watching anything Mel Brooks.