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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)

4.6 out of 5 stars 457 customer reviews

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(Apr 04, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Amazon.com

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


Special Features

  • First time on DVD, and only available in this set: High Anxiety, To Be Or Not To Be, Silent Movie, Robin Hood: Men In Tights
  • Disc 1 "Blazing Saddles" (Warner Brothers)
  • Audio: English: 5.1 / French: 1.0 Mono / Castillian Spanish 1.0
  • Subtitled: English, Spanish, & French
  • Special Features: Interview with Mel Brooks, Back in the Saddle, Segments from Intimate Portrait: Madeline Kahn, & TV Pilot: Black Bart
  • Disc 2 "High Anxiety"
  • Widescreen - 1.85:1
  • Audio: English: Stereo / Spanish: Mono / French: Mono
  • Subtitled: English & Spanish
  • Special Features: Theatrical Trailer, Fox Flix: Robinhood Men in Tights, Silent Movie, To Be or Not To Be, & Young Frankenstein
  • Disc 3 "History of the World Part I"
  • Widescreen - 2.35:1
  • Audio: English & French: 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitled: English
  • Special Features: Menus: Brain Soup & Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Disc 4 "Robin Hood: Men in Tights"
  • Audio: English: Dolby Surround / Spanish: Dolby Surround / French: Dolby Surround
  • Special Features: HBO Special, Theatrical Trailer, Fox Flix: High Anxiety, Silent Movie, To Be or Not To Be, & Young Frankenstein
  • Disc 5 "Silent Movie"
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Audio: English: Dolby Surround Stereo / Spanish: Dolby Surround Stereo / French: Dolby Surround Stereo
  • Subtitled: English & Spanish / Forced French Subtitled
  • Special Features: Theatrical Trailer, Spanish Trailer, Portuguese Trailer, Fox Flix: High Anxiety, Robinhood Men in Tights, & To Be or Not To Be
  • Disc 6 "To Be or Not to Be"
  • Subtitled: English & Spanish / Forced Spanish & French Subtitled
  • Special Features: Featurette, Profile: Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, & Theatrical Trailer
  • Disc 7 "Twelve Chairs"
  • Audio: English: Stereo & Mono / Spanish: Mono
  • Subtitled: English / Forced Spanish Subtitled
  • Special Features: Mel Brooks Theatre: High Anxiety, History of the World Part I, Robinhood Men in Tights, Silent Movie, & To Be or Not To Be
  • Disc 8 "Young Frankenstein"
  • Audio: English: Stereo & Dolby 4.0 & French: Mono
  • Special Features: Widescreen Feature with optional Mel Brooks Commentary, 36 minute documentary: "Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein" out takes/bloopers & deleted scenes, Trailers: Showrama A, B, International, and Re-Release, TV Spots: 1:60, 3:30, & 5:10, Mexican Interviews with Leachman, Feldman and Wilder, Production Stills, and Theatrical Trailer.

Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Elwes, Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn
  • Directors: Mel Brooks, Alan Johnson
  • Writers: Alan Uger, Andrew Bergman, Barry Levinson, Doris Mudie, Edwin Justus Mayer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 772 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (457 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E6ESIK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "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)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2006
Format: DVD
Most of the movies here are classics which makes it a problem if you don't want all the movies. The version of "Blazing Saddles" is the earlier release from Warner which doesn't look as good as the 30th Anniversary re-release and the extras aren't any great shakes. The transfer looks so-so and lacks the sharper look of the later 30th Anniversary Edition. "Young Frankenstein" resembles the first DVD release of the film from Fox with the same extras. Reportedly "Young Frankenstein" was supposed to be remastered in anamorphic widescreen but the wrong master used or the wrong discs shipped with this set. For those that care it's not anamorphic. The film looks extremely good but if you already have these classic films, I'd suggest waiting for these to be released individually.

Fans of Brooks will be buying this for the previously unreleased films "Silent Movie", "Robin Hood:Men in Tights", "To Be or Not to Be" (which Brooks didn't direct but stars in) and "High Anxiety". All these films look pretty good here (although "The Twelve Chairs" is probably going to be of the least interest to fans that grew up on Brooks other classic films). "Robin Hood" comes with an featurette produced for HBO on the film. Most of the others come only with theatrical trailer(s). "To Be or Not To Be" comes with a short featurette and some profiles of Brooks, the late Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning. Clearly they weren't produced for the DVD but must be some sort of promotional bits for another format (you're guess is as good as mine)possibly for an Electtronic Press Book.

If you have problems with any of the discs you can contact Fox at their customer service phone number 1-888-223-2FOX.
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Format: DVD
FYI everyone, Mel Brooks only shot TWO films in wide screen: "Blazing Saddles" and "History of the World Part 1".

If you compare the rest of the films to the original full frame laserdiscs you will see that FOX just masked off the top & bottom of the picture to make the films look widescreen. They should have been presented in full frame to give us the complete picture, some signs & faces get cut off.

So now I have to keep my 1987 laserdiscs, even though these new transfers look sharper.

The missing films not in this box set are not owned by 20th Century Fox. We are lucky they made a special arrangement with Warner Brothers to include Blazing Saddles (although it is the old master) in this set.

"The Producers" , "Space Balls" and "Life Stinks" are owned by MGM.
"Dracula Dead and Loving it" is distributed by Warner Brothers & owned by Castlerock.
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Okay, I admit I was pretty dissapointed to not see the 2004 SE release of Blazing Saddles, but since my Dad owns the SE release already, I'm not too worried. Otherwise this is sheer kick-ass movie set of my favorite comedy director of all time (along David Zucker), Mel Brooks.

Here are my given thoughts of the eight movies presented in this set:

Blazing Saddles-10/10 One of my all-time favorite comedies, this one literally pokes fun at all the early Western movies we've seen. A recently hired black sheriff tries to protect the peaceful town of Rock Ridge from certain troubles, most of which come from Attorney General Hedy Lamarr ("That's Hedley!") trying to destroy the town and build a railroad across the area.

High Anxiety-9/10 A hilarious sendup to the Hitchcock stories, this one shows Dr. Richard A. Thorndyke, a psychiatrist with an huge fear of heights, become head of a pyschiatric institute, and realizes that he's dealing with a much bigger fear than his own.

History of the World, Part I-8/10 Hilarious. This one is a ragbag of sketches, showing the timeline from the evolution of men to the Roman Era, to Spanish Catholic conversion to the French Revolution, all shown Brooks style. The Spanish Inquisition song, is a real hoot.

Robin Hood: Men In Tights-7/10 Not Brooks's best, but still quite enjoyable. It's basically a parody on Robin Hood, which its jokes hit more than miss.

Silent Movie-8/10 First time I've seen it, and I like it. The title here explains it all: A silent movie about a crew of moviemakers making a silent movie for the Big Studios before the company Engulf and Devour takes over the studio. A simple plot, but still lots of fun.
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Format: DVD
I just received my copy of the Mel Brooks Collection today. THe Young Frankenstein disk is indeed in Anamorphic Widescreen, so they must have fixed the problem. This is a great set with great movies!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Despite many of the other reviews posted here, I'm quite pleased with this collection. They appear to be using the premium versions of the previously released titles (something that surprisingly didn't happen with the Blazing Saddles box), and are finally releasing High Anxiety and Silent Movie, in addition to the other fine titles. Glad to see the severely underappreciated Twelve Chairs included also. This buy is a no-brainer, from my perspective.
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Buyer beware: the Blazing Saddles included here is the older release without ANY of the special features on the 30th anniversary edition
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