384. The Critic – Mel Brooks

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SUMMARY: An abstract film is accompanied by the soundtrack of a confused elderly man’s comments.

WHY IT’S HERE: With experimental, abstract or limited animation dominating theatrical bill in the early 60s, Ernest Pintoff’s ‘The Critic’ was a beautifully timed satire. Written and performed by Mel Brooks, ‘The Critic’ is an abstract display of random moving shapes, the sort of arty cartoon that was appearing before many films of the day. However, we also get a voiceover from Brooks as a baffled 71 year old man who cannot make head nor tail of what’s happening or why he has to sit through this to get to the main feature. His rantings are hilarious but the true genius of this 4 minute piece is how it manages to please everyone. Fans of the new animation style could laugh at Brooks’ satire of those who didn’t get it while those who detested the new style could agree whole-heartedly with the old man’s complaints. ‘The Critic’ still works today since most people are familiar with this sort of arty cartoon, which means it hasn’t dated and is still funny. In its historical context, however, ‘The Critic’ is absolute dynamite.

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