Mel Brooks has been called many things…but doesn’t “incredible” have a nice ring to it? The fine folks at Shout! Factory clearly think so, anyway. The inimitable, indefatigable and yes, incredible, auteur is being celebrated this November 13 with a 5-DVD/1-CD box set that’s unlike any other yet dedicated to Brooks. Unlike past boxed collections, this one doesn’t feature any of Brooks’ beloved films. Instead, it sheds light on those movies with an array of rare material including performances, interviews, film clips, commercials and archival television footage, with plenty of laughs promised along the way.
The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy is built around a new, five-part documentary entitled Mel and His Movies, with one segment included on each DVD in the box. Of course, the former Melvin Kaminsky is only one of eleven people in entertainment history to possess the “EGOT” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards), so the box set delves even deeper than just his most acclaimed motion pictures. Surrounding the documentary on each disc are a plethora of other features spotlighting Brooks as comedian, actor, writer, composer/lyricist and director over a span of six decades.
Among the television material, you’ll find 2011’s Emmy Award-nominated Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again, an evening with the two comedy legends; episodes of Get Smart and When Things Were Rotten (both created by Brooks) and Mad About You; and appearances from The Dick Cavett Show, The David Susskind Show, The Tracey Ullman Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In addition to Mel and His Movies, other documentaries include I Thought I Was Taller: A Short History of Mel Brooks, produced by the BBC in 1981 and Excavating The 2000 Year Old Man, a PBS special from earlier this year which explores the prehistoric partnership between Brooks and Carl Reiner. The Incredible Mel Brooks also boasts short films, tributes, and rare footage, compiled with Brooks’ consent. The great man himself even provides introductions to some of the material.
The sixth disc in the box set is an audio CD. It follows in the footsteps of the recently-reissued Mel Brooks’ Greatest Hits album, but differs from that collection in that it includes comedy sketches alongside the classic songs from Brooks’ films. Among its rare selections is the title song to 1979’s Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety, performed by Brooks himself – in French! The five DVDs and CD are packaged with a 60-page book of liner note from luminaries like Leonard Maltin, Robert Brustein, Gene Wilder and Bruce Jay Friedman as well as many vintage photos and program notes.
After the jump, you’ll find more, including a complete rundown of the set’s contents and a pre-order link!
If you’ve ever felt that special features were lacking on some of Brooks’ previous DVD releases, here is the remedy for you! The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy is essentially the ultimate supplemental tribute to the filmmaker, though it contains more than enough entertainment value to stand on its own. It’s due in stores from Shout! Factory on November 13 and can be pre-ordered below!
The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy (Shout! Factory, 2012)
- The Hitler Rap (1983)
- Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again (2010)
- The Tracey Ullman Show: “Due Diligence” (1990)
- The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
- Mel and His Movies (Part 1)
- Peeping Times (1978)
- Inside Danny Baker (1963)
- In the Beginning: The Caesar Years
- 60 Minutes (April 15, 2001)
- American Comedy Awards (1991)
- Mel And His Movies (Part 2)
- The Critic (1963)
- I Thought I Was Taller: A Short History of Mel Brooks (1981)
- The Dick Cavett Show (April 6, 1970 and January 21, 1972)
- Excavating The 2000 Year Old Man (2012)
- Bonus 2000 Year Old Man Routines
- Mel And His Movies (Part 3)
- Mel's Television Debut
- An Audience With … Mel Brooks
- Wogan talk show appearance
- Mad About You: “The Penis”
- The Electric Company appearance
- Mel And His Movies (Part 4)
- My Son, The Hero Trailer (1963)
- The David Susskind Show: How to Be a Jewish Son
- Get Smart Pilot "Mr. Big"
- Hollywood Walk of Fame Induction
- When Things Were Rotten: "The French Dis-connection"
- New Faces Sketch: “Of Fathers & Sons”
- Free to Be … You and Me Sketch "Boy Meets Girl"
- Mel And His Movies (Part 5)
- Melvin Kaminsky at The New School (1:33) - February 24, 1947
- The Inquisition (4:06) – from The History Of The World: Part I (1981), performed by Mel Brooks and cast
- The New Les Crane Show (21:50) - August, 3, 5 & 6, 1964
- Springtime for Hitler (3:25) – from The Producers (1968)
- Open End Starring David Susskind - March 22, 1964
- Theme From Blazing Saddles (2:05) from Blazing Saddles (1976), performed by Frankie Laine
- I'm Tired (4:39) from Blazing Saddles (1976), performed by Madeline Kahn
- Circus Nuts (6:11) – Circus Peanuts commercials performed by Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett
- Le Grand Frisson (aka High Anxiety) (2:30) – from the French version of High Anxiety (1979), performed by Mel Brooks
- The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (2:58) – April 21, 1964
- Men in Tights (1:19) from Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1997)
- It's Good to Be the King (4:10) from The History Of The World: Part I (1981), performed by Mel Brooks
- The Celebrity Game (6:06) - July 15 and August 12, 1965
- Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst (2:44) from the film The Twelve Chairs (1972)