Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I Got It, I Got It, I Ain't Got It

This morning's moment comes from the me I used to be peering forward into the I that I am. (That has to be the single most pretentious sentence I've ever written. Wow.)

As a teen in the '70s it was hard to avoid the cultural pull of Mel Brooks, since his humor seemed to say you could stay adolescent forever and have a rollicking good time. Sure one could love Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles, but already building my arcana-loving cred, I found High Anxiety the apex of his low humor, and at that point I didn't even get half the Hitchcock references (knowing me, thinking I had something to learn was what made me like the Brooks' parody even more).

Of all things, what sticks in my mind most about the film might be the delicious lounge-singer turn Brooks takes, doing his best Sinatra on the title tune itself. There are actually two moments in this performance, the one where he semi-scats a silly "ooh-ziety" into the tune, and the other when he cracks the long mic chord into the floor with a hearty, clearly FX whipsnap and there's a quick cutaway to the delightful Madeline Kahn, who oohs with pleasure and blushes all in one funny reaction.

Speaking of the brilliant Kahn...of course in the '70s I thought What's Up Doc? was the height of humor, too, without knowing there was this thing called Bringing Up Baby and that replacing Hepburn and Grant with Streisand and O'Neal is like replacing Washington and Adams with Bush and Cheney (if a lot less evil). That said, I'd take Austin Pendleton over any of the Bush Cabinet....


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