Show Business: Blazing Brooks

He is a short, thick-chested, cinnamon-gum-chomping cinematic subversive, dedicated to the perpetration of mindlessness over matter. His films are collages of chaos seemingly cut out by some giant pair of deranged scissors, pitiless assemblages of sight gags, smart cracks and terrible puns. A hard-riding posse of cowhands is held up by a single-file tollbooth in the middle of the Great Western Desert. A sweet, about-to-be-married young thing brushes her hair in the moonlight and bellows out The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Mel Brooks is not a subtle man.

His punch lines can...

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