I brought a fruit salad & some water for you all while you read the Blog today.
Okay, let me just install this water in the dispenser. “I got it. I got it. I got it. I ain’t got it.” “When I ring the bell, you are tardy! And those who are tardy do not get fruit cup! Okay, come up & get your fruit cup & water.
You’re probably thinkin’, [feminine] ‘You’re so strict, Professor!’ I’m strict, but fair! And, as you can see, I did work long & hard on this speech!” As Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety opens, a plane is landing & Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (Brooks) is petrified. I’m not an aerophobe, but I can relate. I hate flying. The only good thing about it is getting there fast. I particularly hate the post-9/11/01 airport security process. A couple of years ago, my wife Cindy & I were flying to New Smyrna Beach FL with a couple carry-ons each. She went first & made it thru fine. My laptop was A-OK but then when they screened my backpack, am alarm went off and, already a nervous wreck, I turned to Cindy & said, [Jewish] “‘What is this, a game show? What did I win, a Pinto?’ as a TSA agent asked, [baritone]‘Whose bag is this?’ I raised my hand & he said, ‘Follow me! I’m sorry sir, we’re going to have to search you & your bag.’. ‘Please sir, what did I do? What did I do? What’s my crime?’ ‘You beeped.’ ‘I beeped! I beeped! Take me away! Take me to Alcatraz! Put me in irons! I beeped! The mad beeper is loose! Take away the beeper! Take me away!’” It turned out that my kids had a party at our house while we were out the Saturday night before, and one of their friends left some cans of Busch Beers in the fridge. I took a few to the movies the night before, drank all but one & forgot to empty the backpack before leaving for Bradley. When he discovered the offending item, he said smiling, ‘Mr. Marino, life is too short to drink crappy beer.’, and I was on my way fully aware of my need for more of this ===> .
Alfred Hitchcock often utilized the potential danger in various modes of travel as a plot ploy, and Mel Brooks’ captures the idea perfectly as double Golden Globe Nominee High Anxiety begins. Dr. Thorndyke is the new head of [Dr. Colburn] The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very VERY Nervous. Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman) is angry that he didn’t get the post when the previous head suddenly died of a coronary. Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman) , undoubtedly a parody of Nurse Ratched from Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest , really runs the Institute. Thorndyke immediately notices the suspicious goings on there . There are many great comic performances in the picture, including: Ron Carey as Thorndyke’s assistant, Brophy ; Howard Morris as the Dr. Sigmund Freud character , Professor Lilolman ; Madeline Kahn as Thorndyke’s love interest, Victoria ; and Brooks’ 3 co-writers all appear in the film, as does Charlie Callas in a cameo as Cocker Spaniel .
Hitchcock perfected the MacGuffin, a plot ploy used to move the characters along in the story. MacGuffins seem important, but aren’t. The best way to know if something is a MacGuffin is to substitute the word & see if anything changes. For instance, in Psycho , Marion (Janet Leigh) steals $40000 & flees Phoenix where she meets Norman (Anthony Perkins) & her demise at the Bates Motel . But if she stole a MacGuffin instead, wouldn’t her fate have been the same? Watch the trailer at the bottom of the Blog, then add the film to your Netflix Queue. As you watch the film, you can use the table just above the trailer to see where MacGuffin & the other Hitchcock references mentioned in High Anxiety can be found: It’s the most comprehensive list I’ve seen documented anywhere. Not to sound like The Man Who Knew Too Much, but my Suspicion is that my Blog readers know I’m Notorious for film analysis so Rich and Strange that if I was anyone else, even if I was Young and Innocent, Under Capricorn and beyond a Shadow of a Doubt it’d give me Stage Fright, make me Spellbound, cause Vertigo, send me into a Frenzy, and drive me Psycho. If I’m wrong, you can take me Downhill The 39 Steps, throw me out the Rear Window hanging from a Rope until The Birds peck at me, leaving nothing for the Family Plot. And now, even if you’re a Secret Agent, I’m The Wrong Man to Blackmail, I Confess, Bon Voyage, <=== The Lady Vanishes ===> , leaving my tribute to Mel Brooks’ tribute to The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock: High Anxiety! 4 Stars!