Watch High Anxiety
- 1 hr 34 min
High Anxiety is a 1977 American satirical comedy film directed by and starring Mel Brooks. The film co-stars Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Harvey Korman, among others. It is a parody of the films of Alfred Hitchcock, particularly his 1960 film Psycho. The film follows Dr. Richard Thorndyke, the new director of the Institute for the Very Very Nervous, a mental institution. Dr. Thorndyke is afraid of heights (hence the film's titular reference to Hitchcock's Vertigo) and has been sent to the Institute to cure his own anxiety. However, upon arrival, the good doctor finds himself embroiled in a complex murder plot involving the Institute's previous director, Dr. Montague, and a number of other suspicious characters.
Throughout the film, Brooks pokes fun at many of Hitchcock's trademark filmmaking techniques, such as dramatic close-ups, eerie background music, and suspenseful camera angles. In one particularly memorable scene, Dr. Thorndyke attempts to climb a staircase, only to be overwhelmed by the height and forced to crawl his way up on all fours.
The film is also notable for its many celebrity cameos, including appearances by Barry Levinson, Dick Van Patten, and even Hitchcock himself (in a brief cameo at the beginning of the film). Additionally, the film features a number of original songs, many of which are parodies of popular songs from the 50s and 60s.
Despite its parodic nature, the film still manages to incorporate some fairly serious themes, particularly regarding the treatment of mental illness. The Institute's patients are often treated as objects of ridicule by their caretakers, and the film suggests that even the supposedly sane members of society may be just as mentally unstable as those in the Institute. This combination of humor and social commentary has made High Anxiety one of Brooks' most enduring and beloved films.
Overall, High Anxiety is a hilarious send-up of Alfred Hitchcock's iconic thrillers, featuring Brooks' signature blend of zany humor and sharp satire. It offers plenty of laughs, some clever meta-commentary, and a surprisingly nuanced exploration of mental health issues. If you're a fan of Hitchcock, Brooks, or just good old-fashioned comedy, this film is definitely worth a watch.
High Anxiety is a 1978 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 55.