High Anxiety

( 6 )

Overview

This is Mel Brooks' spoof of over ten Alfred Hitchcock classics, including Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds Brooks actually used the bird trainer from that classic suspense movie in making his film. Brooks plays Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, a renowned Harvard psychiatrist with a concealed fear of heights, or High Anxiety. Thorndyke takes over as the newest director of the PsychoNeurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous after the last director dies under suspicious circumstances. He soon finds himself to be in the ...
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Overview

This is Mel Brooks' spoof of over ten Alfred Hitchcock classics, including Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds Brooks actually used the bird trainer from that classic suspense movie in making his film. Brooks plays Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, a renowned Harvard psychiatrist with a concealed fear of heights, or High Anxiety. Thorndyke takes over as the newest director of the PsychoNeurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous after the last director dies under suspicious circumstances. He soon finds himself to be in the company of some very strange colleagues, including longtime Brooks collaborators Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman, with Madeline Kahn as Victoria Brisbane, the eccentric daughter of a patient at the institute and Thorndyke's love interest. Korman takes on the role of Dr. Charles Montague, a psychiatrist with a closeted habit of his own. Leachman plays Charlotte Diesel, a charge nurse with a dark sneer and tendency towards domination. As Thorndyke heads to a psychiatry conference, he is faced with saving the Institute, his reputation, and his own sanity. Although the film was not well-received by critics, it picked up a 1978 Golden Globe nomination for best picture musical or comedy and landed Brooks a nomination for best actor. The movie has a number of cameos, from a young Barry Levinson's spot as an unstable bellboy to a small part by Hitchcock's right-hand special effects man, Albert J. Whitlock, who plays Kahn's father. ~ Rachel Koetje
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Mel Brooks' brand of humor -- over-the-top, non-stop, often outrageous -- tends to be a matter of taste, although when he's in top form (e.g., The Producers, Young Frankenstein) he's appreciated by almost everyone. High Anxiety is definitely lesser Brooks and wildly uneven, but partisans will embrace it wholeheartedly. As a Hitchcock parody, it includes some excellent visual touches, such as skewed camera angles, use of "caged" shadow motifs, Madeline Kahn's icy blond wig, and especially the Psycho shower scene, here staged with Brooks the victim of a crazed bellhop with a newspaper. Unfortunately, the take-off on The Birds, which starts out well, degenerates into cheapness, though fans of the Farrelly Brothers will probably appreciate it. Brooks is fine in the lead role; as usual, there's both a "distance" and an excess to his performance that keep him from being as good as he should be. Kahn is delightful, though her role doesn't make wise use of her considerable talents. (Do watch for her reaction when she thinks she's getting an obscene phone call, however, as well as her airport scene.) Cloris Leachman gives a performance of tremendous skill and total commitment and creates another memorable character; unfortunately, much of what she and Harvey Korman are called upon to do, while daring in 1977, is a little embarrassing today. After High Anxiety, Brooks went into something of a commercial decline as his style of humor fell out of favor with audiences.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/1/1997
  • UPC: 086162110733
  • Original Release: 1977
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mel Brooks Richard H. Thorndyke
Madeline Kahn Victoria Brisbane
Cloris Leachman Nurse Charlotte Diesel
Harvey Korman Dr. Charles Montague
Ron Carey Brophy
Howard Morris Prof. Lilloman
Dick Van Patten Dr. Philip Wentworth
Jack Riley The Desk Clerk
Charlie Callas Cocker Spaniel
Ron Clark Zachary Cartwright
Rudy de Luca Killer
Barry Levinson Bellboy
Lee Delano Norton
Richard Stahl Dr. Baxter
Darrell Zwerling Dr. Eckhardt
Murphy Dunne Piano Player
Al Hopson Man Who is Shot
Robert Ridgely Flasher
Albert J. Whitlock Arthur Brisbane
Pearl Shear Screaming Woman at Gate
Arnold Soboloff Dr. Colburn
Eddie Ryder Doctor at Convention
Sandy Helberg Airport Attendant
Bernie Kuby Dr. Wilson
Billy Sands Customer
Ira Miller Psychiatrist with Children
Jimmy Martinez Waiter
Robert Manuel Policeman at Airport
John Dennis Orderly
Robin Menken Cocktail Waitress
Frank Campanella Bartender
Henry Kaiser New Groom
Bullets Durgom Man in Phone Booth
Joe Bellan Male Attendant
Mitchell Bock Bar Patron
Bryan Englund Orderly #2
Alan U. Schwartz Psychiatrist
Hunter Von Leer Policeman at Airport
Technical Credits
Mel Brooks Director, Songwriter, Producer, Screenwriter
Ron Clark Screenwriter
Rudy de Luca Screenwriter
Walter Doniger Sound Mixer
Jack Hayes Musical Arrangement
Andrew Horvitch Editor
John C. Howard Editor
Rick Kent Set Decoration/Design
Barry Levinson Screenwriter
Paul Lohmann Cinematographer
Anne McCulley Set Decoration/Design
John Morris Score Composer
Pat Norris Costumes/Costume Designer
Jonathan Sanger Asst. Director
Ernest B. Wehmeyer Production Manager
Albert J. Whitlock Special Effects
Peter W. Wooley Production Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    NOT up to Mel Brooks' reputation & standards

    A real disappointment ...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Wonderful Underrated, Underapprecated Movie from Mel Brooks!

    I'm a fan of Mel Brooks' comedy movies and High Anxiety is a very good movie and one of my favorites. Mel not only directs this movie but also stars in it and he is great in the lead roll. The rest of the cast is great too, Madeline Kahn, Chloris Leachman, Harvey Korman, etc! I recently bought the Mel Brook's DVD collection and High Anxiety is one of the movies in the collection and I love that I now have this underrated movie on DVD!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews