The Mel Brooks Collection (Blazing Saddles / Young Frankenstein / Silent Movie / Robin Hood: Men in Tights / To Be or Not to Be / History of the World, Part 1 / The Twelve Chairs / High Anxiety)
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INCLUDES: SILENT MOVIE, ROBIN HOOD-MEN IN TIGHTS, BLAZING SADDLES, HIGH ANXIETY, HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1, TO BE OR NOT TO BE, TWELVE CHAIRS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.
There are plenty of belly laughs in The Mel Brooks Collection, an eight-disc set of most of the director-writer-actor's best-known films. Four of them--Silent Movie, High Anxiety, To Be or Not to Be, and Robin Hood: Men with Tights--are making their debut on DVD, while a fifth, The Twelve Chairs, was briefly available as a non-anamorphic DVD from Image Entertainment (all the DVDs in this set are anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs). That means you can sample a 23-year stretch of Brooks's outrageous and affectionate spoofing of everything from movies to popular legends to movies to historical figures to, hey! more movies.
The earliest film, The Twelve Chairs (1970), is the least known, but is one of the funniest, helped greatly by a good story (adapted from a 1920s Russian tale) and the casting of Ron Moody and Frank Langella as treasure hunters. Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles followed in 1974. The former, a spoof of horror films, is easily one of the top two or three funniest movies of all time, and the latter is justly famous for its often-tasteless send-up of Western cliches. Silent Movie (1976) is just what the title describes, with its only word of dialogue spoken from the least-likely source, and High Anxiety (1977) pays tribute to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. History of the World, Part 1 (1981) mocks historical events and epics, and To Be or Not to Be (1983) is a remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 classic of the same name (it's also the only film in the set for which Brooks didn't receive writing and directing credit). By this time, Brooks was more actively taking the leading roles himself (rather than the bit parts), and unfortunately relying less on his topnotch ensemble of recurring players, which included Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman, and Dom DeLuise. But he does use a new ensemble (including Cary Elwes and, in his film debut, Dave Chappelle), for Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), the feature-length spin on the same hero Brooks had spoofed in his short-lived 1975 television series When Things Were Rotten.
Bonus features are minor. In addition to an HBO featurette on Men in Tights, there's a featurette and interviews on To Be or Not to Be and all the features (Brooks commentary, deleted scenes, interviews, etc.) that were on the original release of Young Frankenstein. Note that while rights issues kept The Producers, Spaceballs, and other films out of this set, 20th Century Fox was able to use Warner Bros.' Blazing Saddles. The features on that disc, however, are the ones that were on the 1997 DVD release, not the 2004 anniversary reissue. Regardless, the set's price for this many films is low, and because it has so many films new to DVD, Brooks fans will want to pick this up faster than they can say... "Frau Blücher!" --David Horiuchi
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Top Customer Reviews
Here is the low down on the collection:
1) The Box and Packaging of the disks is very good. Includes a cover box and a plastic multi-disk case. (The disks did not shift out of their spot in shipping) Disks also go in and out of the case easily. The Silk Screening on the Box Art is well done. Great selection of Cover Art which is a picture of Mel Brooks as a "Director".
2) You receive quite a number of movies for the price. Silk Screening on the disks is clean and crisp.
3) The picture quality is better than DVD, but maybe not as good as I have seen with other box sets. But not to worry they do make good use of the extra room on the Blu-Ray with Extras.
4) I was impressed with the number of extras that were included, an Example of this is: In Young Frankenstein you get additional out-takes, interviews, bloopers, deleted Scenes, etc.
5) I would recommend exploring the extras - they are fun to watch and also give you some insight into the creative process and at times a bigger picture of the story. (I.E. in Young Frankenstein you get to view, as part of the deleted scenes, the reading of the Baron's Will)
6) Includes Trivia Tracks which are fun to play.
7) Downside is it does not contain all of his movies. It would be Nice to have a Volume 2 or 3 which would eventually bring all the features together under one consistently produced collection.
8) Makes a great gift!
I would recommend the collection. So start trading in your DVDs.
This Collection Includes the Following 9 Titles on a set of Blu-Ray Disks:
History of the World Part 1
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
To Be or Not To Be
The Twelve Chairs
Isolated Score Tracks
First, some of the Blu-ray disks in my collection played, but were VERY noisy in my Sony Blu-ray player. It's a new player and it has played other discs without this noise, so I have to assume it's the disc and not the player. It was extremely distracting while watching the movie. Second, the quality of the picture wasn't as good as expected (Robin Hood Men In Tights) and the sound level fluctuation made it frustrating to watch. I didn't notice this with all the films.
I mention these things only for info. Admittedly when you take an older film and put it into Blu-ray format, you're working with the original, which may have these issues already. Just wanted to share a bit of information for you to decide if this collection is right for you.
Again, I didn't notice these issues with all the discs and the collection's contents overall are just what you'd expect - lots of fun!
This is a collection worth getting. I cannot in all honesty say that I personally enjoyed every one of these movies to the fullest. But I can say in all honesty that I got well over 5 stars worth of total enjoyment from at least five of them. The other four were OK in my book but may easily be more than OK in yours. One thing is certain and that is that this is a five star collection. There is no way that 564 of us, to date, can be wrong.
Spoofing Star Wars to Robin Hood to Frankenstein, Mel Brooks has provided countless hours of entertainment in this set. Pick yours up today (and throw in "The Producers" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" to round it out) and may the Schwartz be with you!!!!
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