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High Anxiety 1977

PG CC

Borrowing liberally from ten Hitchcock films, Mel Brooks takes the case of a paranoid doctor with high anxiety (fear of heights) on the hunt for a mysterious blonde's father.

Starring:
Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn
Runtime:
1 hour, 34 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Mel Brooks
Starring Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn
Supporting actors Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman, Ron Carey, Howard Morris, Dick Van Patten, Jack Riley, Charlie Callas, Ron Clark, Rudy De Luca, Barry Levinson, Lee Delano, Richard Stahl, Darrell Zwerling, Murphy Dunne, Al Hopson, Robert Ridgely, Albert Whitlock, Pearl Shear
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael K. Beusch VINE VOICE on February 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
For some reason, High Anxiety is not nearly as admired as some of Mel Brooks' other films. I don't think I've ever read a truly glowing review of High Anxiety. No one really hates it, but no one really likes it, either. Roger Ebert explained that because Alfred Hitchcock's films contained so much humor, High Anxiety, as a satire was unnecessary and redundant.
If this is indeed the rationale for High Anxiety's lukewarm reception, then I personally think that ALL of the critics just don't get it. While it's true that Hitchcock films contain loads of humor (Robert Donat's political speech in The 39 Steps, the auction scene in North By Northwest and Alec McCowen's "gourmet" meals in Frenzy come to mind), the most vivid Hitchcock moments are dead serious. The burning of Manderley in Rebecca, the fight on the merry-go-round in Strangers on a Train, the bell tower scene in Vertigo, the cropduster attack in North By Northwest and, of course, the shower scene in Psycho are deadly serious scenes. These are the moments that Brooks spoofs in High Anxiety. The humor is dead on, giving the serious Hitchcock buffs several gigantic laughs throughout the film.
Take, for example, Brooks' take on the shower scene from Psycho. Director Barry Levinson plays a psychotic bellboy who is pushed over the edge by Brooks' repeated requests for a newspaper. He bursts into Brooks' hotel bathroom and "stabs" him with the newspaper. Brooks duplicates every angle and visual detail of the original, right down to Janet Leigh's fuzzy bathroom slippers. He uses ink from the newspaper to simulate the blood swirling down the drain in Psycho.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is the funniest movie, and the world awaits the DVD. When, oh when, will it finally arrive????? There are so many of my all time favorite movie moments in this classic comedy. Who could forget Dr. Charles Montague and Nurse Diesel's cagey response after being interrupted during an intimate moment: 'Sorry for the dissssturbance.' (I probably know the dialogue for this entire movie by heart!) Nurse Diesel arrived on the scene long before Madonna and her tectonic bras. What about Dr. Wentworth's trouble with the car radio? Or Brophey's ineptitude? Every scene is memorable, but if I had the DVD, I would repeatedly jump to Dr. Thorndyke's dramatic lounge act where he wooed Victoria Brisbane by singing the very romantic song 'High Anxiety,' all the while slapping the microphone chord on the ground for dramatic effect. Which is to say nothing of Hitchcock--whose movie plots provide endless fodder for this Mel Brooks masterpiece. The cast is superb, and the movie divine. Granted, this is one review that is not written with those who've never seen the movie in mind. My intent is to take a stroll down memory lane, because this movie deserves to be on DVD.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
High Anxiety is my personal favorite Mel Brooks movie along with Young Frankenstein. I was very excited when it was released on Blu Ray and had high hopes for a good to great Blu Ray viewing experience. With that said this review will deal with the Blu Ray transfer, both video and audio rather than the film itself.

Warning: Trying to find the "High" in High Definition on this disc may become a major source of High (Def) Anxiety in your life! What became readily apparent to me while watching this Blu Ray disc is that 20th Century Fox took the easy and cheap way out here and simply used the same old tired transfer being used by the current DVD version, only in 1080p. This is a tired and flat looking print. There is an abundance of bothersome grain (not the good kind we film lovers enjoy) and noticeable dirt throughout the presentation. On the plus side there is no noticeable DNR or edge enhancement, but I will say publicly that THIS print actually could have BENEFITED from some! No major print damage was seen but plenty of crud seems to inhabit the celluloid used for this disappointing print. (yep, it is pretty bad folks)

Is this Blu Ray a step up AT ALL from the DVD? By a nose, yes. But for every decent looking shot or scene, there are 4 or 5 more that look horrendous. On the plus side the colors, while a bit faded are nice enough. The color timing looks correct but the contrast is a bit blown out with an overall brightness and bleached look to the entire movie that detracts from my enjoyment and at times is actually a source of eye strain. I found that I needed to enhance the contrast a bit with my Qdeo processor that resides inside my Oppo BDP-93 player. Also, the original aspect ratio is respected and presented in 1.
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Format: VHS Tape
For my money, the best Mel Brooks' movies are the ones that he doesn't appear or barely appears in, like THE TWELVE CHAIRS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and THE PRODUCERS. This film is one of the exceptions. Also, for my money, the best Mel Brooks' movies are those that are flat out parodies of film genres--like BLAZING SADDLES and SPACEBALLS. This film is the highest achievement of his parodic form.
HIGH ANXIETY is Alfred Hitchcock on goofballs. The references are wide-ranging: "Psycho", "The Birds", "Vertigo" (the main parody plot), "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "Notorious", etc. The result is out and out Brooks' mania, and, of course, a certain reverence to Hitchcock. My only negative comment isn't specific to this film but it does apply: most parodies run out of gas during the course of a feature length film. Once the novelty wears off, the film kind of lags. That's why the best film parodies are usually skits on variety or comedy television shows. Probably the only exception to my theory would be 1980's "Airplane". (See my review of that for a further explanation.) Still, HIGH ANXIETY has enough manic energy to sustain it for the most part. It's a clever film and extremely entertaining.
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