Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finish Your Strudel: A Close Up

For my entry for the Close-Up Blog-a-Thon at The House Next Door, I wanted to zag a bit with a scene from High Anxiety.

What makes Mel Brooks so good with satire is that he attacks it from every angle. Like Abrams and Zucker, Brooks does more than just to spoof scenes and characters. It's his knowledge of the genre that allows him to create satire so good, you think it's a spoof of a scene but it's actually original material.

Here we find Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman) and Dr. Montague (Harvey Korman) plotting their next move. The camera attempts to capture the drama and build the suspense but is met with constant resistance from over propping. Shot from beneath a glass table, the camera attempts to do the scene justice, but finds itself constantly having to out-maneuver cream dispensers and dessert plates. It's an excellent nod to the genre without being too overt and may be the only example in movie history where the actors make it impossible for a good close-up.


Burbanked said...

When movie fans discuss Brooks' work, we usually hear constant raves for the deserved The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein - but rarely for High Anxiety, and it's a shame. This is truly one of his best, most classic genre spoofs and it's not praised nearly enough. I can remember, for weeks after seeing it, my friends and I all entertaining each other with choruses of "...high an...XIETY!" and, of course, "HERE'S YOUR PAPER! HERE'S YOUR PAPER!"

This is a terrific scene and a delightful examination of the non-close-up. Nicely done.

PIPER said...

Thank you, sir

In my opinion, it was his last great movie and one that is often overlooked.