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Mel Brooks: Make a Noise

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (2013)

May. 20,2013
| Documentary

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise journeys through Brooks’ early years in the creative beginnings of live television — with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows — to the film genres he so successfully satirized in Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs — to the groundbreaking Broadway musical version of his first film, The Producers. The documentary also delves into his professional and personal ups and downs — his childhood, his first wife and subsequent 41-year marriage to Anne Bancroft — capturing a never-before-heard sense of reflection and confession.


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"Mel Brooks Make a Noise" is different from most "American Masters" episodes in that the subject of the documentary is alive AND he pretty much narrates and talks through much of the show. It looks as if the filmmakers just told Mel to talk and they let him go and go and go. Brooks seemed to have no difficulty talking about himself, his life and his experiences with television, films and Broadway. While this could have come off as boorish, it wasn't mostly because Mel comes off as likable and even a bit self-deprecating...just a bit. The show follows his career post-WWII and follows him from his television years in the 50s and 60s through his films and to today. It's never boring and is a pretty good overview of the man and his craft. Another quality production from "American Masters".


Just watched this "American Masters" ep on DVR. Mel Brooks mostly talks about his career, only occasionally goes into his formative years, with current interviews of Carl Reiner, Richard Lewis, Tracey Ullman, Rob Reiner, Barry Levinson, and Cloris Leachman segued into vintage ones of Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and Brooks' late wife, Anne Bancroft. Yes, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein gets the lion's share of attention as well as The Producers, both the movie and Broadway musical, and Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World-Part 1, and Spaceballs. There's also some good scenes of Mel and Carl doing their 2000 Year Old Man routines. In summary, "Mel Brooks: Make a Noise", is well worthy of your attention if you're a fan. Oh, and since it's not listed here on IMDb, I also enjoyed a Tom Lehrer special from the '60s afterwards in which he sang his satiric songs to an appreciated audience in Oslo, Norway.


Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (2013) **** (out of 4) Excellent entry in the American Masters series has Mel Brooks talking about his life and career. If you were disappointed in the MEL BROOKS' STRIKES BACK! feature that was shown on HBO last year then this here is going to be a dream. Everything that was wrong with that production is corrected here and while there are a few flaws with this documentary, for the most part it's a completely wonderful and entertaining piece of work. I think it certainly helps that we've got Brooks here talking about the films and telling stories. He talks about how he got interested in writing, how he got into the business and then we hear about the various productions he has been involved in. The big titles like BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN get a lot of attention but so does both the film and Broadway version of THE PRODUCERS. We also get to hear about some of the films that Brooks produced including David Lynch talking about THE ELEPHANT MAN. Brooks is constantly telling good stories and I enjoyed the sense of humor that he displays here. This is especially true when talking about SPACEBALLS and hearing what George Lucas didn't want him to do with the film. There's also some great stuff about Alfred Hitchcock's reaction to HIGH ANXIETY. Andrew Bergman, Nathan Lane, Barry Levinson, Matthew Broderick, Carl Reiner, Tracey Ullman, Joan Rivers and Richard Lewis are also interviewed and talk about Brooks. Fans of the director are certainly going to enjoy hearing all the stories as there are many great ones. The only questionable thing is that a couple films are pretty much overlooked including LIFE STINKS.