Mel Brooks Unwrapped Airs on HBO

Mel Brooks. Courtesy of HBO.

Mel Brooks Unwrapped is the result of almost forty years of interviews between the legendary actor-writer-comedian and BBC’s Alan Yentob.

If you’re looking for a groundbreaking documentary that offers something new to say about Brooks, it’s not going to be found in this comedy special.  You’ll have better luck by watching the American Masters documentary a few years ago.  This isn’t to say you won’t have a fun time because you most definitely will!  It doesn’t matter how many times I watch “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers because I will always crack up!

What former BBC creative director Alan Yentob does and does so well is combine these candid conversations with mock interviews.  Because of the way the special is edited, it’s less of a documentary and more of a comedy special.  Yentob’s work with Brooks dates back to 1981.  Brooks being Brooks means that Yentob appears as the straight man in the special.

Yentob finds a way to mix in all of the footage, including both present-day interviews and verité footage.  There’s a whole bit on finding an ending, which includes Brooks being kicked out of an office or working out of a bathroom closet, etc.

In terms of the verité footage, we’re privilege to seeing one of the many visits to Carl Reiner’s home.  Naturally, there’s clips of their classic special.  Meanwhile, a clip is shown of Brooks sharing memories about the time that Cary Grant bought their comedy album.

If you’re a Mel Brooks fan, Mel Brooks Unwrapped will be provide a lot of fun in viewing.  Sure, nothing here really breaks now ground but it’s a good time.  In connection with the Brooksfilm-produced special, both Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen and Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again will be available through HBO Go and HBO NOW.

DIRECTOR:  Alan Yentob
FEATURING:  Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks Unwrapped airs December 13 at 9:00–10:10 PM ET/PT on HBO.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.