High Anxiety

(1977)

Genres: Comedy, Thriller

Classics from the Vault: Mel Brooks or Woody Allen? (1980)

Transcript for Classics from the Vault: Mel Brooks or Woody Allen? (1980)

Christy Lemire: 
I'M CHRISTY LEMIRE.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
AND I'M IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY. THIS WEEK, WHO IS FUNNIER, MEL BROOKS OR WOODY ALLEN. EBERT PRESENTS CLASSICS FROM THE VAULT.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
HELLO AND WELCOME TO A SPECIAL EDITION OF EBERT PRESENTS AT THE MOVIES, I'M IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY OF MUBI.COM.
 
Christy Lemire: 
AND I'M CHRISTY LEMIRE OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. WOODY ALLEN IS RIDING HIGH THESE DAYS ON THE SUCCESS OF HIS MOVIE "MIDNIGHT IN PARIS."
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
BUT 31 YEARS AGO, THEY WERE DEBATING WHO WAS FUNNIER, MEL BROOKS OR WOODY ALLEN. WE ARE TAKING A LOOK AT CLASSICS FROM THE VAULT.
AND WHAT A SHOCK, ROGER AND GENE DIDN'T AGREE ON THIS ONE.
 
[ LAUGHTER ]
 
Roger Ebert: 
MEL BROOKS AND WOODY ALLEN, THE TWO MOST SUCCESSFUL COMEDY DIRECTORS. WHO IS FUNNIER? I LIKE MEL BROOKS.
 
Gene Siskel: 
AND I SAY IT'S WOODY ALLEN. HIS COMEDY MAKES ME LAUGH AND THINK.
 
Roger Ebert: 
WE'LL TAKE THE FORM OF A DEBATE WITH FILM CLIPS. THE ISSUE IS WHO IS FUNNIER, MEL BROOKS OR WOODY ALLEN. IN WOODY'S CORNER IS GENE SISKEL, FILM CRITIC WITH THE "CHICAGO TRIBUNE."
 
Gene Siskel: 
AND FOR BROOKS ASK ROGER EBERT WITH THE "CHICAGO SUNTIMES."
BOTH ARE BROOKLYN BORN JEWS WHO BEGAN THEIR CAREERS AS GAG WRITERS AND A STANDUP COMIC. THEY WORKED TOGETHER AS WRITERS FOR THE SAME TELEVISION PROGRAM, "SID CAESAR'S SHOW OF SHOWS" AND THERE ARE DRAMATIC DIFFERENCES IN THE FILMS.

WE WILL LOOK AT THEIR IDEAS WITH CHARACTERS AND COMIC SITUATIONS AS THE DEBATE CONTINUES. HERE WE GO.
 
Roger Ebert: 
OKAY.
 
Gene Siskel: 
WE START WITH THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE, WHICH IS THE SUBJECTS THEY MAKE FUN OF.
 
Roger Ebert: 
WHAT MEL BROOKS HAS THE MOST FUN WITH IS MOVIES OLD MOVIES.
HE SPENT HALF OF HIS CHILDHOOD MEMORIZING THE FILM CLASSICS OF THE '30s AND '40s. THEY MUST STILL BE TUCKED AWAY IN THE BACK OF HIS HEAD SINCE ALMOST ALL OF MEL BROOKS' PICTURES MAKE FUN OF OLD CLICHES. HE STARTED OUT WITH "THE PRODUCERS" IN 1968, BUT THE FIRST REAL TARGET FOR SAT FIRE WAS "THE WESTERN."
IN "BLAZING SADDLES." MEL BROOKS TURNED EVERY WESTERN CLICHE UPSIDE DOWN. BAD GUY ALEX CARIS IS DOING THE PUNCHING.

>> HEY, YOU CAN'T PARK THAT ANIMAL OVER THERE! IT'S ILLEGAL!
 
Roger Ebert: 
"YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN" WAS A TAKEOFF OF THE 1935 HORROR FILM "THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN." THEY ALL HAD TRICK BOOKCASES AND MEL'S IS NO EXCEPTION.

>> THERE'S ALWAYS A DEVICE. IF I CAN SPOT THE TRIGGERING MECHANISM. HELLO!
>> IT SEEMS LOUDER OVER HERE.
HAND ME THAT CAMERA, WILL YOU?
PUT THE CANDLE BACK!
ALL RIGHT.
I THINK I HAVE IT FIGURED OUT NOW.
TAKE OUT THE CANDLE AND I WILL BLOCK THE BOOKCASE WITH MY BODY.
DON'T PUT THE CANDLE BACK.
 
Roger Ebert: 
NEXT BROOKS POKED FUN AT GLAMOROUS MOVIE STARS IN SILENT MOVIE.
HE DID THE MOVIE STAND BY, THE BATHTUB SCENE. THIS TIME IT'S A SHOWER AT BURT REYNOLD'S HOUSE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
SO MEL BROOKS SATIRIZES OLD MOVIES. HE PLAYS OFF OUR SHARED SENSE OF MOVIE HISTORY BECAUSE WE KNOW THE CLICHES AND STEREOTYPES AS MUCH AS HE DOES. IT'S PART OF THE JOKE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
AND NOW COMES TO THE PART WHERE I ATTACK YOU AND MEL BROOKS.
I THINK HE'S A TERRIFIC COMEDY FILMMAKER AND HE'S MY SECOND FAVORITE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
RIGHT AFTER WOODY ALLEN AND VICE VERSA FOR ME.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I THINK WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT DIRECTIONS INTO THESE TWO FILMMAKERS' CAREERS. WE SEE DANGER SIGNS. WE WANT TO POINT THOSE OUT TO EACH OTHER. IN MEL BROOKS, I THINK IT'S THE LAST TWO PICTURES. HE'S PARROTING SILENT MOVIE AND THEN THE HITCHCOCK PARODY, "HIGH ANXIETY." I THINK HE'S GETTING STALE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED IF HE CAN CONTINUE TO BE INVENTIVE AS HE CAN.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I SEE WARNING SIGNS OF REPUTATION. I LIKE A FILMMAKER WHO STRETCHES AND GROWS AND I'M THINKING 
 
Roger Ebert: 
A RANDOM EXAMPLE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I THINK WOODY ALLEN GROWS AS A FILMMAKERS. IT'S MOSTLY ABOUT HIS DIFFICULTY, EVERY MAN'S DIFFICULTY IN ESTABLISHING A LONGLASTING RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN. HERE'S A SERIES OF SCENES FROM THREE WOODY ALLEN FILMS FOR NINE YEARS. WE BEGIN WITH THE FIRST FILM HE DIRECTED "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN."

>> YES, I AM, ACTUALLY.
>> OH, THAT'S NICE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
HERE WOODY ALLEN HAS FALLEN HOPEFULLY WITH JANET, MARGOLIN.
HE TELLS US ABOUT HIS FEELINGS IN NARRATION, IN A PRIMITIVE MOVIE STYLE, LIKE ONE OF HIS OLD NIGHTCLUB ROUTINES.

>> I KNEW I WAS IN LOVE.
I NEVER MET SUCH A PRETTY GIRL AND I GUESS I'M SENSITIVE.
REAL BEAUTY MAKES ME WANT TO GAG.
PLUS, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO ACT WITH GIRLS.
YOU KNOW, I'M SHY.
I'M NERVOUS AROUND WOMEN.
I HAVE A TENDENCY TO DRIBBLE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
IN "LOVE AND DEATH." HE CAN TALK TO WOMEN, BUT SHE TAKES THE DIRECTION WHEN IT COMES TO SEX.

>> HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU MADE LOVE TO A WOMAN.
>> WHAT IS TODAY?
MONDAY, TUESDAY  TWO YEARS.
>> TWO YEARS YOU? REMEMBER HOW, OF COURSE?
>> YOU START ME, IT WILL COME BACK.
>> REMEMBER THAT?
>> YES, IT WAS JUST LIKE KISSING RIGHT?
 
Gene Siskel: 
THIS IS A MORE POLISHED FILM THAN THE LAST ONE. AND EVEN THOUGH WOODY STILL ACTS LIKE A SEXUAL BUNGLER HERE, HE'S BEGINNING TO HAVE HIS POTENT MOMENTS.

>> YOU ARE THE GREATEST LOVER I EVER HAD.
>> WELL, I PRACTICE A LOT WHEN I'M ALONE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
IN 1977, ALLEN IS ABLE TO DEAL WITH WOMEN CONFIDENTIALLY.
HERE HE IS ON HIS FIRST DATE WITH DIANE KEATON IN "ANNIE HALL" LISTEN TO HOW HE TAKES CHARGE.

>> GIVE ME A KISS.
>> REALLY?
>> YEAH, WHY NOT. WE ARE JUST GOING TO GO HOME LATER AND THERE WILL BE ALL OF THAT TENSION AND WE NEVER KISSED BEFORE AND I WILL NEVER KNOW WHEN TO MAKE THE RIGHT MOVE OR ANYTHING.
SO WE'LL KISS NOW AND GO AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT. WE'LL DIGEST THE FOOD BETTER.
>> OKAY.
 
Gene Siskel: 
IT'S A WARM, HUMAN COMEDY RICH WITH LAUGHS AND IDEAS. MAYBE THAT'S WHY IT WAS THE FIRST COMEDY IN 38 YEARS TO WIN THE ACADEMY AWARD AS BEST PICTURE. IT'S A MOST INVENTIVE PIECE OF FILMMAKING.
 
Roger Ebert: 
IT WON THE OSCAR. I LIKE "ANNIE HALL" IS A GREAT MOVIE, BUT I'M NOT TOO SURE I WAS CRAZE ABOUT "INTERIORS." AND THEN "MANHATTAN" HE TAKES THE ISSUES THAT HE RAISES QUITE SERIOUSLY IN TERMS OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, WHAT HE STANDS FOR AND WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT WOMEN AND SO FORTH. THAT'S OKAY.

MAYBE IT'S GREAT IN THE WORK OF ANOTHER DIRECTOR, BUT DARE I SAY THERE'S SUCH A THING AS GROWING TOO MUCH, GOING BEYOND COMEDY.
YOU LOOK AT THE TWO GREAT AMERICAN DIRECTORS KEATON AND CHAPLAIN. KEATON REMAINED HIMSELF AND HE TRIED TO PERFECT THAT PERSONA AND MAKE IT BETTER AND BETTER. CHAPLAIN GOT CREEPING SERIOUSNESS, IT WAS ALMOST LIKE A DISEASE. IN "THE GREAT DICTATOR" HE TALKED ABOUT THE STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT DEADLY DULL.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I THINK "MANHATTAN" IS A FINE FILM. HE'S PERFECTING HIS ART.
HE DOESN'T WANT TO MAKE "ANNIE HALL" PART TWO. AND HE'S DEALING WITH DIANE KEATON WHO DOESN'T WANT TO REPEAT HERSELF.
YOUR ISSUE IS RIGHT, ROGER. I THINK YOU MIGHT BE FLAGGING WOODY ALLEN A LITTLE TOO EARLY.
 
Roger Ebert: 
MAYBE I'M TRYING TO PUT UP A DEFENSE FOR PURE COMEDY. A DIRECTOR LIKE ALLEN DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE OR GET MORE OR MORE SERIOUS TO JUSTIFY HIS EXISTENCE. I HAVE TAKEN SOME SCENES FROM WOODY ALLEN FILMS. SOME THINGS THAT ILLUSTRATE WHAT I REALLY LIKE AND LATER ON SOME STUFF FROM "MANHATTAN" INDICATING THINGS I'M NOT SO CRAZY ABOUT. I WILL START WITH THE GOOD STUFF.

WOODY ALLEN HAS CREATED THIS ALL PURPOSE COMIC PERSONA LIKE CHARLIE CHAPLIN OR BUSTER KEATON DID. HE'S THE SKINNY, INTELLECTUAL WITH THE HORNRIMMED GLASSES. NOW YOU SAY THE ALLEN CHARACTER IS MORE SECURE AROUND WOMEN IN HIS LATER FILMS BUT I THINK THE ALLEN CHARACTER WILL ALWAYS PROBABLY BE A LOT LIKE HE IS IN THIS SCENE FROM "ANNIE HALL." HERE HE IS, 3:00 IN THE MORNING AND THERE'S A SPIDER IN HIS FORMER GIRLFRIEND'S BATHROOM AND HERE COMES WOODY TO THE BATHROOM.

>> DID YOU GO TO A ROCK CONCERT?
>> YEAH.
>> OH, YEAH, REALLY?
REALLY?
HOW DID YOU LIKE IT?
WAS IT  I MEAN, WAS IT HAPPY?
DID YOU ACHIEVED 
>> IT WAS JUST GREAT!
>> OH.
THAT'S A WONDERFUL IDEA.
WHY DON'T YOU THE GUY WHO TOOK TO THE ROCK CONCERT AND WE'LL CALL HIM AND HE WILL KILL THE SPIDER.
>> I CALLED YOU.
DO YOU WANT TO KILL HIM OR NOT?
>> WHAT ARE YOU TURNING INTO?
>> I LIKE TO GET ALL POINTS OF VIEW.
>> WONDERFUL.
THEN GET ASK HIM TO KILL THE SPIDER?
YOU ARE A LITTLE HOSTILE.
>> YOU LOOK TIRED.
>> IT'S 3:00 IN THE MORNING.
YOU GOT ME OUT OF BED.
I TOOK A TAXI.
I RAN UP THE STAIRS.
YEAH, I WAS A LOT MORE ATTRACTIVE WHEN THE EVENING BEGAN.
ARE YOU GOING TO THE ROCK AND ROLL STAR?
>> HEY, WHAT AM I YOUR SON?
I CAME OVER TO 
>> WHERE'S THE SPIDER?
IS IT IN THE BATHROOM?
>> HEY, DON'T SQUISH IT AND AFTER IT'S KILLED, PUT IT IN THE TOILET.
>> I'VE BEEN KILLING SPIDERS SINCE I WAS 30, OKAY?
>> VERY BIG SPIDER.
THERE WERE TWO OF THEM.
>> TWO?
>> I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS THAT BIG, BUT MAJOR SPIDER.
>> OH.
I THINK I LEFT IT AT YOUR HOUSE.
>> OH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
>> THERE'S A SPIDER IN YOUR BATHROOM THE SIZE OF A BUICK.
 
Roger Ebert: 
THE BASIC WOODY ALLEN CHARACTER, COURAGEOUSLY ABLE TO FACE ANY SITUATION AND BE DEFEATED ABOUT IT. HE HAS A WHISTLING IN THE DARK BRAVERY AND WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN AND THERE'S A BIG HAIRY SPIDER IN THE BATHROOM, I'M NO MORE CRAZY ABOUT GOING INTO THE BATHROOM THAN WOODY IS. I LIKE AS HE PLAYS EVERY MAN AS A SCHLEPP BUT IN HIS RECENT MOVIES ALLEN HAS BEGAN TO PLAY CHARACTERS CLOSER TO HIMSELF. THEY RESEMBLE THE FAMOUS WOODY ALLEN, THE INSECURE NEW YORK INTELLECTUAL THAT WE READ ABOUT.
LOOK AT THIS SCENE FROM "MANHATTAN" WHICH IS FILMED IN BLACK AND WHITE.
WOODY AND HIS FRIENDS, INCLUDING THE TEENAGER WHO HE'S DATING AND DIANE KEATON ARE ENGAGED IN ONE OF THE FAMOUS INTELLECTUAL WORD GAMES, THE PUT DOWN.

>> YOU DON'T WANT TO LEAVE OUT MOZART WHILE YOU ARE TRASHING PEOPLE.
>> HOW ABOUT VINCENT VAN GOGH.
>> VAN GOGH?
>> BERGMAN?
>> BERGMAN IS THE ONLY GENIUS.
>> YOU ARE SO THE OPPOSITE.
I MEAN YOU LIKE THAT ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS TELEVISION SHOW AND IN HIS VIEW, IT'S SCANDINAVIAN AND BLEAK.
ALL OF THAT CHUTZPAH.
>> BUT COMPARE THE FEELING IN THOSE SCENES AND WHEN WE WERE WATCHING "ANNIE HALL" DO YOU CALL THAT GROWTH IN HIS RELATIONSHIP?
BECAUSE I DON'T.
HIS CHARACTERS HAVE BECOME SELFCONSCIOUSLY INTELLECTUAL, ANALYTICAL AND NOT AS FUNNY.
YOU CAN SEE WOODY ALLEN THERE SLIPPING AWAY FROM THE ALL PURPOSE COMIC PERSONA THAT HE DEVELOPED IN THE OTHER MOVIES AND A CHARACTER THAT MIGHT BE A LOT CLOSER TO LIFE BUT HE'S ALSO A LOT LESS FUNNY AND I DON'T CALL THAT GROWTH, GENE.
I THINK HE'S IN DANGER OF LOSING WHAT MADE HIM UNIQUE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I THINK THAT THIS CAN BE SAID, THAT WOODY ALLEN, A LOT OF PEOPLE WANTED TO MAKE "ANNIE HALL" PART TWO. HE DIDN'T MAKE THAT.
HE'S GOT A BRIGHTER MIND THAN THAT. MAYBE HE COULDN'T BE CONTAINED IN DUPLICATING HIMSELF. HE DID IT ONCE AND WANTS TO MOVE ON. DIANE KEATON DOESN'T WANT TO PLAY ANNIE HALL AGAIN.
I THINK THEY JOKED ABOUT THE SAME ISSUE ONCE, THEY WANT TO PUT A HARDER EDGE ON IT. AND I LAUGHED AT THE VAN GAW.
 
Roger Ebert: 
I'M CONCERNED WITH "MANHATTAN" BEING. IN ADDITION TO THE THINGS THAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT AND NOW SERIOUS. I THINK THEY ARE BEING REALLY MORE SERIOUS AND I'M NOT SURE "MANHATTAN" OR A WOODY ALLEN PICTURE IS THE RIGHT VEHICLE FOR THAT.
 
Gene Siskel: 
I HAVE SOME OBJECTIONS TO WHAT'S GOING ON IN MEL BROOKS' COMEDY.
MY FAVORITE OF ALL IS "THE 12 CHAIRS" MADE RIGHT AFTER "THE PRODUCERS" AND "BLAZING SADDLES."
IT'S SET IN RUSSIA DURING THE REVOLUTION. THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR A FORTUNE IN JEWELS HIDDEN IN THE SEAT OF ONE OF A SET OF 12 MATCHING CHAIRS THEY TRACK DOWN 11 OF THE CHAIRS AT THE MOSCOW MUSEUM OF FURNITURE.

>> THE CHAIRS ARE NOT HERE!
LOOK SEE THAT CABINET EMPIRE AND THOSE WRITING TABLES, LOUIS.
THEY ARE ON IT.
>> TAKE IT EASY.
TAKE IT EASY.
>> AND WHAT IF THEY ARE NOT HERE AT ALL?
HOW WOULD WE EVER FIND THEM?
AND WHERE WOULD WE LOOK?
WHO WOULD WE ASK?
I NEVER SHOULD!
¶ 
>> MY CHAIRS!
MY CHAIRS!
THAT'S MY FURNITURE!
I WONDER WHICH ONE IT IS.
>> DON'T YOU WORRY ABOUT IT.
WE WILL KNOW SOON ENOUGH.
WE WILL GET THE CHAIRS AT CLOSING TIME.
>> CLOSING TIME.
>> CLOSING TIME.
CLOSING TIME.
CLOSING TIME.
CLOSING TIME.
CLOSING TIME.
>> WHAT WILL WE DO?
>> WAIT UNTIL THESE PEOPLE GO BY.
>> GET THOSE HANDS DINING ROOM CHAIRS AND PUT THEM ON THE CART.
>> DON'T.
 
Gene Siskel: 
SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THE 12 CHAIRS THAT MAY HAVE CHANGED MEL BROOKS' CAREER. IT WAS A FINANCIAL FLOP AND THAT FLOP CAME RIGHT AFTER THE BOX OFFICE FAILURE OF "THE PRODUCERS" WHICH WAS A WONDERFUL FILM BUT IT DIDN'T MAKE ANY MONEY EITHER.
WITH "THE 12 CHAIRS" MEL BROOKS' FILM CAREER WAS IN JEOPARDY.
AFTER THREE LONG YEARS OF WORK, HE FINALLY GOT FINANCING FOR "BLAZING SADDLES" WHICH WAS A TREMENDOUS BOX OFFICE SUCCESS.
EVER SINCE THEN HE HAS GONE FOR THE BELLY LAUGHS AND THE PROFITS, CONSIDERABLE PROFITS TO BE FOUND IN PARODIES OF OLD MOVIES.
THAT FORMULA IS GROWING STALE AND BROOK PARODIES ALFRED HITCHCOCK, INVOLVING A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY.
 
>> DR. THORNGUARD.
>> YES?
>> HERE'S A LITTLE PRESENT FOR YOU.
>> THIS IS FOR YOU!
>> WHY YOU, CRAZE  WAIT!
WAIT!
WHO ARE YOU?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
[ SCREAMS ]
>> THAT'S THE MAN!
THAT'S THE MAN WHO SHOT HIM.
>> NO, WAIT, WAIT.
YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
THIS IS NOT ANY GUN.
OH, MY GOD.
>> I DIDN'T  HE SHOT HIM.
I'M SURE.
HE TOOK OFF A MASK.
HE TOOK OFF MY FACE.
IT WAS GIVEN TO ME BY SOMEBODY WHO LOOKED JUST LIKE ME.
>> WHY DID YOU DO IT?
WHY DID YOU DO IT?
 
Gene Siskel: 
THAT'S NOT VERY SCARY AND I DON'T THINK VERY FUNNY. YOU HAVE TO BE A FILM STUDENT TO KNOW THAT BROOKS IS PARODYING AN ALFRED HITCHCOCK WHERE THE TWO CHARACTERS WERE ACCUSED OF A CRIME AND THEY HAVE TO PROVE THEMSELVES. I THINK HE HAS FORMULA PARODIES ESPECIALLY FOR FILM FREAKS. IT'S A FORMULA THAT'S WEARING OUT AND THAT'S WHY I PREFER THE DIRECTION THAT WOODY ALLEN'S CAREER HAS TAKEN HIM.
 
Roger Ebert: 
I THINK YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE HITCHCOCK FILMS TO GET THE JOKE IN THAT FILM. HITCHCOCK WAS THERE FIRST WITH THE JOKE. IT'S MUCH EASIER IN A PARODY TO TAKE SOMETHING 
 
Gene Siskel: 
LIKE THE WESTERN MAYBE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
OR THE MONSTER MOVIE. BUT IN THE CASE OF HITCHCOCK, HE KNOWS THE JOKE HIMSELF AND IT'S HARD TO OUT FLANK HIM.
 
Gene Siskel: 
OKAY.
 
Roger Ebert: 
AS FAR AS HIS OTHER FILMS ARE CONCERNED, FIRST OF ALL, I'M NOT SURE THE OTHER BROOKS' FILMS ARE THAT WARM AND HUMAN. I THINK THE PRODUCERS WAS COLD AND CYNICAL AND ALL THE FUNNIER IN THAT.
AND IN TERMS THE PARODIES OF THE MOVIE GENRES. I THINK WHAT MEL BROOKS WANTS IS THE SOUND OF LAUGHTER COMING FROM INSIDE.
THAT'S WHAT I WANT WHEN I GO TO A BROOKS' MOVIE. I CAN DEFEND HIS CAREER ON THAT BASIS, THAT HE WANTS TO AMUSE ME. THAT'S ENOUGH. I'M SATISFIED.
 
Gene Siskel: 
ROGER, I'M NOT SAYING THAT LAUGHTER IS NOT WHAT I WANT OR I THINK LAUGHTER IS TRIVIAL. I WANT TO LAUGH TOO. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF MEL BROOKS MAKING ME LAUGH IS HIM NOW WANTING TO HAVE HIMSELF STAR AS THE CENTER STAGE CHARACTER IN HIS OWN FILMS LIKE WE JUST SAW IN "HIGH ANXIETY."
FOR ME, THAT DOESN'T WORK. I PREFER AS A LEADING MAN IN THE PICTURE A LITTLE BIT MORE OF AN INNOCENT ACTOR, LIKE DOM DELOUISE. I THINK THEY COME ON AND MAKE A WILD STATEMENT IN ONE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
NOW I THINK YOU ARE SHIFTING THE AREA OF ATTACK. BUT I DEFEND BROOKS AS A FILM ACTOR. I THINK HE WAS FINE IN "SILENT MOVIE" AND "HIGH ANXIETY." I DEFEND HIM AS A TREASURE FOR HIS ABILITY TO MAKE ME LAUGH. I THINK THAT'S ENOUGH. AND HE DOES MAKE ME LAUGH. IT'S A RARE ABILITY AND IT'S PLENTY FOR ME.

HERE'S A SCENE FROM BROOKS' FIRST FILM "THE PRODUCERS" MADE IN 1968. THIS REMAINS FOR ME ONE OF THE SINGLE FUNNIEST AND MOST MEMORABLE SCENES THAT MEL BROOKS OR WOODY ALLEN OR ANYBODY ELSE HAS DONE. IT STARS A CROOKED BROADWAY PRODUCER WHO COOKED UP A SCHEME TO MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BY DEFRAUDING THE INVESTORS IN A SHOW HE PLANS TO PRODUCE AND GENE WILDER IS A NERVOUS CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT WHO IS SUPPOSED TO JUGGLE THE BOOKS. HE'S TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM THEY WILL MAKE MILLIONS, ENOUGH TO FLY OFF TO RIO.

>> RIO?
¶ RIO, OH, MEO, MYO ¶¶
>> I'M AN HONEST MAN.
YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
>> NO, BLOOM, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
THIS IS FATE.
THIS IS DESTINY.
THIS IS KITSMA.
>> FIVE MINUTES AGO, I DOCTORED YOUR BOOKS AND THAT THE START OF MY CRIMINAL LIFE.
>> WAH!
I WANT THAT MONEY!
>> PLEASE DON'T JUMP ON ME.
[ SCREAMING ]
>> WILL YOU GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF?
>> I'M HYSTERICAL.
I CAN'T STOP WHEN I GET LIKE THIS.
I CAN'T STOP.
I'M TERRIBLE.
I'M WET!
I'M WET!
I'M HYSTERICAL AND I'M WET.
 
Roger Ebert: 
THAT'S GOT TO BE A CLASSIC SCENE.
 
Gene Siskel: 
SURE.
 
Roger Ebert: 
FOR YEARS WHEN EVERYTHING BROKE OUT AT THE SAME TIME, I SAID, I'M HYSTERICAL AND I'M WET.
 
Gene Siskel: 
NO, IT'S A GREAT LINE. I WANT TO POINT OUT THAT'S EARLY MEL BROOKS WHICH IS THE MEL BROOKS I REALLY LOVE.
HERE'S MY LAST CHANCE AT CONVINCING YOU THAT WOODY ALLEN IS FUNNIER THAN BROOKS. THIS IS ONE OF WOODY ALLEN'S GREATEST SCENES IN THE GUINEA OF "ANNIE HALL." HE TELLS US ABOUT HIS CHILDHOOD IN A CLEVER AND TENDER MOMENT. HE TAKES HIS BACK TO HIS SECOND GRADE CLASSROOM.

>> I ALWAYS THOUGHT MY SCHOOLMATES WERE IDIOTS.
MELVIN, AND HENRIETTEA FARROW AND SHE WAS PERFECT ALL THE TIME.
AND IVAN ACKERMAN, ALWAYS THE WRONG ANSWER.
ALWAYS!
THEY WERE JUST JERKS.
IN 1942, I DISCOVERED WOMEN.
>> HE KISSED ME.
HE KISSED ME.
EW!
>> THAT'S THE SECOND TIME THIS MONTH.
STEP UP HERE.
>> BUT I DO.
>> STEP UP HERE.
>> WHAT DID I DO?
>> YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!
>> I WAS JUST EXPRESSING HEALTHY SEXUAL CURIOSITY.
>> 6YEAROLD BOYS DON'T HAVE GIRLS ON THEIR LINE.
>> I DID.
>> THERE'S A LATENCY IS PERIOD.
>> WHY COULDN'T YOU BE MORE LIKE DONALD.
THERE WAS A MODEL BOY.
>> WHERE ARE YOU?
>> I OWN A DRESS COMPANY.
>> SOMETIMES I WONDER WHERE MY CLASSMATES ARE TODAY.
>> I'M PRESIDENT OF THE PLUMBING COMPANY.
>> I USED TO BE A HEROIN ADDICT.
NOW I'M A METHADONE ADDICT.
>> I'M INTO LEATHER.
 
Gene Siskel: 
THOSE KIDS ARE PRICELESS. IT'S A VERY, VERY CREATIVE SCENE.
IT'S WISE AND A LITTLE BIT SAD TO SEE A BUNCH OF KIDS AND FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM. IF WOODY ALLEN HASN'T TAKEN RISKS, HE WOULD HAVE NEVER MADE "ANNIE HALL." HE SHOULD KEEP TAKING BIG RISKS.
 
Roger Ebert: 
YOU KNOW ONE THING IN THE '20s WE HAD CHAPLAIN AND KEATON AND THEN WE HAD McKERRY AND NOW WOODY ALLEN AND MEL BROOKS. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR NEXT FILMS AND SO MUCH FOR MEL BROOKS AND WOODY ALLEN, WE AGREE ON ONE THING, THEY ARE TWO FUNNIEST FILMMAKERS WORKING TODAY. THAT'S IT FOR THIS SHOW. JOIN US NEXT WEEK FOR "SNEAK PREVIEWS" AND UNTIL THEN, WE'LL SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
I DON'T THINK YOU WOULD HAVE THIS DEBATE NOW, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WOODY ALLEN, 31 YEARS LATER IS AS WELL KNOWN AS BEING A DRAMA DIRECTOR AS WELL AS HE IS FOR BEING A COMEDY DIRECTOR.
 
Christy Lemire: 
AND PUMPING OUT A MOVIE EVERY YEAR WHETHER HE SHOULD OR NOT.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
AND MEL BROOKS, HE'S HAD SOME SUCCESS WITH ON BROADWAY WITH "THE PRODUCERS."
 
Christy Lemire: 
THIS WAS SHOT BEFORE MINOR AND FORGETTABLE WOODY ALLEN STUFF.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
THIS RAISES THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK IS FUNNIER, MEL BROOKS OR WOODY ALLEN.
 
Christy Lemire: 
I HAVE TO GO WITH ROGER AND PICK MEL BROOKS FOR THE SHEER UNABASHEDNESS OF RAUNCHINESS OF THE HUMOR.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
I FIND ALLEN FUNNIER.
 
Christy Lemire: 
AND MORE CEREBRAL.
 
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: 
BUT BROOKS IS MORE LIBERATED. HE WILL DO ANYTHING FOR A GAG. HE WILL MAKE ANY JOKE REGARDLESS OF HOW STUPID IS.
 
Christy Lemire: 
I THINK I WOULD RATHER POP A MEL BROOKS MOVIE INTO THE DVD PLAYER THAN WOODY ALLEN ONE.
SO JOIN US NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER SPECIAL LOOK BACK AT "SNEAK PREVIEWS." ALSO DON'T FORGET YOU CAN FOLLOW THE DISCUSSION ON FACEBOOK AND ON TWITTER. UNTIL THEN, THE BALCONY IS CLOSED.
 
FOR MORE REVIEWS AND MORE FROM ROGER'S OFFICE, VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT EBERTPRESENTS.COM.