It’s Good to be the King- An Evening with Mel Brooks

If you read my last post I mentioned my love of the American Cinematheque.  Throughout undergrad I was known as the human Blockbuster (a fact a majority of my sorority took advantage of on a regular basis).  My love of movies started in high school and is a story I’ll save for another blog, but suffice it to say that my film collection is in the top three of my favorite possessions and the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself was a giant display cabinet for my collection.

I’ve always had a particular fondness for Mel Brooks films. I can remember my dad quoting Blazing Saddles- “Badges?! We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!!”**- from when I was but a wee tot and I was quickly enamored with the musical numbers in Robing Hood: Men In Tights and The Producers.  Once in high school I had the opportunity to go to a taping of  Late Late Night with Craig Ferguson and his guest was Carl Reiner, famous for his 2000 Year Old Man sketch with Mel Brooks. He was amazing and I made it a life goal to eventually get to hear Mel Brooks speak.  I even wrote my final paper in undergrad on Mel Brooks and his trademark use of sight gags (titled It’s Good to be the King: How Parody and Sight-Gags Define Mel Brooks’ Films; yea I like how this all just came full circle).

(** Yes I know this is also from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but the Blazing Saddles parodied it)

2000 Year Old Man:

On Friday I finally got my chance! This past week was the TCM Film Festival, it takes full advantage of the films in its library and the slew of celebrities that live in LA and puts together (in my opinion) the most consistently impressive film slate of all the festivals. It’s a rare opportunity to get to see a classic film presented by the director or lead actor and in the company of a fellow group of film lovers. On Friday night the festival was showing Young Frankenstein along with a Q&A with Mel Brooks so I roped my best friend Megan (another resident cinefile) into going with me.

Program and ticket stub

Mel Brooks! Sorry for the poor quality, that light shining on them kept messing up the pictures 😦

It was such a treat to hear Mel Brooks talk about the making of the film (how he gave all of the execs at Fox a heart attack when he told them he was filming in black and white) and stories of his other films (Gene Wilder filling in after filming had already started on Blazing Saddles). The movie was obviously spectacular and brings together some of the funniest people (Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr). I cannot emphasize enough how different an experience it is to watch movies on such a large screen (with a beautiful print) and with a group of people who love the film. Movies are supposed to be a collective experience and it truly enhances the experience to watch it in a setting like that.

In closing- everyone should attend a screening at The American Cinematheque (calendar), go with your parents, your friends, or make new friends there!

My favorite scene from Young Frankenstein- Gene Hackman and Peter Boyle ❤


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