Well deserving of a BAFTA Fellowship.
Mel Brooks is without doubt one of the most esteemed comedy filmmakers that ever lived, which is why he well deserved his lifetime achievement award at the 2017 BAFTAs. For his contributions to cinema, he was awarded The Fellowship last night (February 12th); the highest accolade the BAFTAs has to offer and one that has previously gone to the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.
Mel Brooks wins the BAFTA Fellowship Award
In honour of his legacy of hilarity, we reflect on some of his greatest films:
The Producers (1967)
1. The Producers - The film that won Mel Brooks his Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, 'The Producers' was released in 1967 and starred Gene Wilder in what was to be the first of a lasting comedy partnership. The story followed two Broadway producers that set out to deliberately write a terrible play.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
2. Young Frankenstein - Co-written by Gene Wilder, who also plays the part of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, this next project landed two Academy Award nominations - one of which was for Best Adapted Screenplay. As the title suggests, it's a 1974 play on the popular 1818 novel and was shot in black and white which by this time had become quite the rarity.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
3. Blazing Saddles - Another Mel Brooks classic which went on to be nominated for three Oscars, this was a 1974 Western satire in which the filmmaker worked with a larger than usual team of writers including Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor and Alan Uger. Brimming with hilarious anachronisms, the film's main theme was a satire against the racist Hollywood Westerns of the day.
Silent Movie (1976)
4. Silent Movie - This four-time Golden Globe nominated comedy was released in 1976 and was co-written by Ron Clark (another talent with whom Brooks would continue to work with). Brooks starred as the protagonist Mel Funn in the film, which is as silent as the title suggests and follows a filmmaker who sets out to make the first big silent film in four decades.
High Anxiety (1977)
5. High Anxiety - Nominated for two Golden Globes, this 1977 comedy was Mel Brooks second collaboration with writer Ron Clark and is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock movies like 'The Birds', 'Spellbound' and 'Vertigo'. Mel has the starring role again as Richard H. Thorndyke, his second major on-screen part.
Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
6. Dracula: Dead and Loving It - From Mary Shelley to Bram Stoker, Mel Brooks embarked on another gothic horror parody with this 1995 gem in which he played Professor Van Helsing opposite Leslie Nielsen's Dracula. The film was co-written by Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman, and while it was hardly award-winning comedy genius, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
7. Spaceballs - 1987's sci-fi comedy parodying various science fiction films such as 'Star Wars', 'Star Trek', 'Alien' and 'Planet of the Apes'. It's practically the very definition of a cult classic and it was later turned into an animated series where Brooks reprised his role by voicing President Skroob.
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