The Critic (1963)
Created and Narrated by Mel Brooks
Directed and Produced by Ernest Pintoff
Associate Producer - Arnold Stone
Design and Animation - Bob Heath
A Pintoff-Crossbow Productions
Mel Brooks created and narrates the voice for this Academy Award winning short (though he personally did not receive an award for it). I've been told the film is/was highly regarded as a teaching aid in film schools but I can't confirm this. Originally (1999) I found an educational print of this film on eBay and quickly converted it to electronic format. Other than what was printed on the can/inside the can I couldn't find any other information about it. I didn't even know if the short actually screened in theatres or was purely an educational 16mm reel. A few weeks ago (2006) a fan wrote in to tell me that the short indeed appeared in theatres and that he thoroughly enjoyed it many years ago. Well, in a strange twist of fate I've found the theatrical version of the short online! I've also updated my educational source to a much higher quality file. Now all Mel Brooks fans can enjoy both!
The Critic - Educational Print
Educational 16mm Reel Can External Educational 16mm Reel Can Internal
(inside of film can)
You pay three bucks for a ticket, you take your seat in the darkened theatre, and there on the screen is the newest, "avant garde" creation from the film industry - and it looks like nonsense to you? Well, laugh with - and at - your unseen neighbor, Mel Brooks, as he gives you his opinions. A spoof on the audience as well as the creators of today's cinema and art gallery offerings, this animated film ridicules both "art" that is a hoax, and people who mistake their own ignorance for wit and wisdom. Academy Award Winner 1963.
AIMS OF THE FILM:
- As entertainment of classroom and library use.
- To provoke discussion about "art" , and the relationship between a work's merit and its acceptance by an audience.
- To illustrate, for film study, a unique approach to animation and film satire.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
- What are we laughing at in the film? Describe the qualities of the dialogue that make it humorous.
- Describe the unseen "critic." What is his attitude toward what he is seeing? Do you think he is ignorant or astute?
- Give a definition of "art." Do you think a work of art must communicate to a great many people to be considered very good?
- Psychologically, is one influenced by others in the audience while watching a film, or attending any art function? How?
- Why do you think abstract art is meaningless to so many people?
- How would the film have been different if the "critic" had been shown?
GRADE LEVELS: Junior High School through Adult, General Audiences.
SUBJECT AREAS: Communication Arts, Film Study, Psychology.
The Critic - Theatrical Print
The Critic Theatrical Lobby Card
The Critic Theatrical Full Size Poster
Please click here for corrections.