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History of the World: Part I (1981)

Reviewed on 2010 February 18

Warped Mel Brooks take on the Fractured Fairy Tale (remember those things, kiddies?), as he spins his in-your-face version of the story of man. Well, until he lampoons the French Revolution, anyway.

We hear a sonorous narration by Orson Welles, making what ensues even more incongruous and silly, as he pontificates on THE DAWN OF MAN. We see a group of early hominids in a scene that will forever ruin 2001: A Space Odyssey for you, and Brooks just gets loopier from there. My favorite bits are Bea Arthur as a crabby Roman Empire-era unemployment officer, and Dom DeLuise as a booze-sodden Caesar. Mr. Shukti loved the Torquemada send-up. The fourth wall is broken, timelines are shattered, sacred cows are shish kabobed, and the whole time you feel vaguely like maybe you shouldn’t be enjoying this stuff as much as you should, but you do anyway.

Tasteless. Tacky. Politically Incorrect. Funny.

Three chocolate morsels.

Shukti

morsel morsel morsel

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