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Mel Brooks’ The Critic

criticlogo.jpgBrew reader Charles Brubaker wrote in to tell me that Mel Brooks Academy Award winning animated 1963 short, The Critic, had popped up on You Tube. I always forget how funny this film is. I did some searching around and found a better version on If you haven’t seen it in a while, or not at all, here it is. Created and narrated by Mel Brooks. Produced and Directed by Ernest Pintoff: The Critic.


  • This simply confirms for me what an absolute genius Mel Brooks is. I’d almost forgotten about this–certain cable stations would air short films like this as interstitial material back in the seventies, and I haven’t seen it since. Thanks for bringing back a pleasant memory.

  • It’s like swimming in a Saul Bass poster while my uncle yells at me.

    I can just see those beautiful shapes at the beginning assembling itself into an iPod for Apple’s next campaign.

    I hope not.

    seriously beautiful.

    “fella like that could probably drive a truck. do something constructive. Make a Shoe!”


  • Esn

    Good film.

    Strange thing is, I kinda agree with what that guy’s saying.

    Brooks did a great job at showing the reaction of the average person to “abstract art”.

  • Christopher Cook

    I actually saw this during a test run of the projectors at a theater that was being built in the neighborhood around 1977.

    I got to talk with cartoon writer Jack Mendelson on the phone in 1983; he told me that Pintoff wrote the original storyline for “Yellow Submarine” (1968) and then was to do the first script but was rejected. Mendelson wound up writing the accepted script and producer Al Brodax brought Erich Segal (of “Love Story” fame–or infamy) to punch it up. As such, Brodax gave four screenplay credits, himself included.

  • I’d give Mel Brooks every award in the world for that film (and many others he did). That was sheer brilliance.

    “Make a shoe”??!! Nice one, Mel. B)

  • Christopher Cook

    I stand corrected on the previous comment, gang. Pintoff submitted the first screenplay draft for “Yellow Submarine” after Lee Minoff wrote the storyline. Sorry for the error and any confusion.

  • Wow. It’s been a realllly long time since I’ve seen this. It was packed together in a compilation callled “famous Director’s First Films”. I was quite young at the time and I didn’t get most of what I was seeing (inlcuding this film). But this one in particular always popped up in my mind. It really paints a picture of a time and a place. Thanks for bringing back some memories. I miss you Cinema du Paris!

  • mwb

    Good catch on the cleaner version.

    It’s interesting how this is picking up new found steam after all these years thanks to youtube.

    Nina Paley posted about it with youtube link about two weeks ago

    I posted about it with youtube link about three months ago

    And I swear I saw it even earlier somewhere else, but for the life of me I can’t remember where.

    It’s another reason I’m grateful for youtube for helping some folks re-discover forgotten treasures like this and introducing a new generation to these gems.

    It so needs to be on DVD.

  • Jonathan Green

    So Brett Ratner actually does a good deed by posting The Critic on the Internets.

    I saw it originally as a child at a kid’s matinee at the Jerry Lewis Cinema. Don’t remember the feature, but the audience went absolutely wild when Mel said “what the the hell is it?” In simpler times, it was the first time any of us had been exposed to curse words in a movie.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    First time I just watched this after having heard of it a decade ago. The kind of thing that needs to be on DVD (or stuck up on iTunes, whichever comes first).

  • Oh gawd. Too funny. I haven’t seen this since CalArts. Which is a pity, ‘cos it’s great.

    DEFINITELY needs to be on DVD and widely available.

  • Michael J. Ruocco

    My friend introduced me to this film several months ago, & I relly enjoyed it. Mel Brooks is a comic genius. His narration throughout this short makes me laugh every time I hear it.

  • mwb

    Yeah, iTunes would be good too.

    I pretty much grab any animated short put up from Shorts International on iTunes (and even a few of the Disney ones.)

    It seems to be the only way to get a lot of animated shorts. In lieu of physical media, it works just dandy.

    I wish they would increase their selection animated shorts and have a deeper (older) catalog.

  • amid

    mwb – Your wish for a more diverse and classic catalog of online animated shorts will be coming true soon. It just won’t be happening through iTunes.

  • precode

    Well, now I know why Ratner borrowed that 35mm print from me some time back–and never returned it!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    – Well, now I know why Ratner borrowed that 35mm print from me some time back–and never returned it!

    At least he put it to good use! (worst I was expecting was a typical 16mm transferred 10th generation VHS copy myself)

  • this is so cool. how relevant this is to us all improvised critics of beauty. i don’t think we ever had it aired in france. they should definitely do it, it would help to destroy our cultural habits for good – basically, cynism as art AND expertise.

  • Joe Strike

    “This is cute… this is nice… what the hell is it?” “Oy, two dollars out the window Murray.” God, I love this film! Thanks to Mel & Ernie, I’ve never been able to watch abstract/non-narrative animation without bursting out laughing.

  • *sigh* It makes me miss Ernie (yup, we called him Ernie). He was my Writing For Animation professor at the Univ. of Southern California in the 90’s. He was the best. He even called me “Sparky” when many of my professors refused to use a nickname. :)

  • FINALLY! I saw this short for the first time in art school about 20 yrs ago and laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. I’ve occasionally searched for it to no avail. Several months ago I looked for it online and could only find about 3 or 4 sites that even mentioned it. It would be great to get a high resolution copy on DVD!

  • wadp1

    Everybody remembers when they first saw this–for me it was no later than 1967 in college. I didn’t know who Mel Brooks was then, but I laughed my head off! I have looked for it online before, but all I remembered was the title. I am delighted to see it again and have the chance to share it with friends and family who have never seen it! Thanks!!