Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1977. Crossbow Productions. Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy De Luca, Barry Levinson. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann. Produced by Mel Brooks. Music by John Morris. Production Design by Peter Wooley. Costume Design by Patricia Norris. Film Editing by John C. Howard. Golden Globe Awards 1977.
After his terrific success with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ sometimes funny, mostly boring riff on Hitchcockian melodrama is a severe disappointment. Brooks plays a psychiatrist who begins work at the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous and is immediately framed for murder. His attempts to clear his name take him to the big city where he checks into a hotel that does nothing for his intense fear of heights. Madeline Kahn is a riot as the daughter of the murder victim, who teams up with Brooks to help solve the mystery of who really killed him. Despite gemlike performances by Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman, as well as some clever takeoffs of Hitchcock film standards like the Psycho shower scene (now accomplished with an ink-bleeding newspaper instead of a kitchen knife), this one’s jokes run out before it’s over and tedium sets in.