Movie Review of High Anxiety (1977)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1977 movie starring Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn.

Synopsis: A psychiatrist takes a new job at an insane asylum and, shortly after accepting the position, is framed for murder. Facing all sorts of obstacles, including his own condition, "high anxiety," he must find a way to clear his name while, at the same time, elude both the authorities and those who want to kill him in an effort to keep him from revealing the truth about who was really behind the murder.

Who's in it?

A Great Alfred Hitchcock Spoof

I absolutely love Alfred Hitchcock thrillers and enjoy Mel Brooks' movies just as much. So, considering this particular film consists of the latter spoofing the former, I really can't resist watching it whenever I happen to come across it.

The movie, which largely follows the same plot as Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" but throws in scenes from quite a few other Hitchcock films, is just fun to watch. Brooks hits the mark with quite a few of his jokes, whether they are related to his psychological condition (which, in itself, is a spoof of the movie "Vertigo") or trying to avoid a bunch of pigeons.

I think the funniest scene in this movie, in my opinion, had to be Brooks and Kahn as their characters attempted to get through airport security. It was such a fast-paced comedy routine and that scene did a great job showing off the chemistry of that pair (she, of course, was a star in quite a few other Brooks' films) and isn't as predictable as I thought it would be the first time I saw that scene, especially when he slips through the metal detector while carrying a pistol.

I also personally enjoy the murder scene involving Dr. Wentworth (Van Patten), just because his death happens in such an unexpected and funny way and Van Patten does a great job selling the scene. You don't see that in a lot of spoof movies today.

High Anxiety

Mel Brooks' renowned spoof of the most famous Hitchcockian classics-"Vertigo," "The Birds," "Psycho" and "Spellbound"-is one of his most outrageous comedy classics. After a Harv...

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Final Opinion

As I said before, this movie features one of my favorite film directors spoofing another one of my favorites and that alone makes the movie worth watching. However, some very funny and brilliant acting combined with Brooks' ability to keep the material fresh, unique and even somewhat unexpected at times, makes this movie memorable. If you haven't taken the time to watch it before, I do recommend doing so. I know I enjoy it every time I see it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/17/2016, StevenHelmer
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