Film and TV

Larger Than Life

Originally meant to be called Springtime for Hitler, Mel Brooks' first feature as writer-director was only a moderate success when released in 1968. Now, it is legendary and for good reason. (It has, of course, also spawned a hugely successful musical.) This story of a manic, larger-than-life Broadway producer (Zero Mostel) and a meek accountant (Gene Wilder) conspiring to put on the worst show of all time blasted out the walls of what was permissible in Hollywood comedy. It's also maniacally funny. It remains neck and neck with Young Frankenstein as Brooks' best film, and, despite its frenetic pacing, it benefits from not being the sort of gag-oriented film that Brooks then switched to. Brooks' later attempt at a more "realistic," character-driven film, Life Stinks, was awful, but here the cast imbues the film with genuine emotion that the later film lacked. This is the fabulous Mostel's greatest legacy on celluloid, and Wilder, Dick Shawn and Kenneth Mars aren't exactly chopped liver either.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Andy Klein

Latest Stories