This is one of those movies that I will watch any time it shows up on cable. No matter when (doesn’t matter since we have DVRs all over the house), it’s laugh-out-loud funny, funny enough to laugh at the jokes in advance after you’ve seen it a dozen times or move. Everyone in it gives a perfect performances. If you haven’t seen it, grab it before it gets away.
It isn’t merely funny. It’s also history, the history of comedy. The crazy kids who grew up to create the movies and television shows that made history and formed the comedy genre as we know and love it.
This is a wonderful, nostalgic, hilarious movie based on the “kids” who wrote the material for the “Show of Shows”, a live comedy show starring the great Sid Caesar. Among the many writers to emerge from this incubator of talent were Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Howard Morris, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Norman Lear, Larry Gelbart (creator of MASH, the TV series) and many others. The writer’s room group reads like the who’s who of comedy.
Much of the story is based on an actual event, the week that Errol Flynn (Peter O’Toole) came to town to guest star on the Sid Caesar show. Mel Brooks, the kid in the movie was in fact assigned to “babysit” Flynn and make sure he stayed sober and showed up for the broadcast. Although the character is a bit of a composite, he’s mostly Mel.
Richard Benjamin directed it. Joe Bologna as “King Kaiser” (Sid Caesar) is wonderful. And as far as I’m concerned, this is far and away Peter O’Toole’s best performance. You may prefer Lawrence of Arabia, but this movie does it for me.
We never get tired of it. We never stop laughing. We watched it last night for maybe the 100th time and laughed as much as ever.
You WILL enjoy it. You have my personal guarantee on that. Or double your money back!
(Not really )
- 42 – The Story of An American Legend. The Story of America. (teepee12.com)
- Mel Brooks (fonsofafool.wordpress.com)
- Comedy Focus: Mel Brooks (mikescomedyblog.wordpress.com)
- Mel Brooks Receives AFI Life Achievement Award (947thewave.cbslocal.com)
- AFI Honors “Art And Farts” Of American Film With Laugh-Filled Mel Brooks Tribute (deadline.com)