This is the history of the world according to Mel Brooks, from the dawn of time through the French Revolution (hence the Part I). There is a group masturbation scene before the title is shown. If that doesn't tell you what to expect, and you are easily offended, you deserve what you get. For me, the dirtiest jokes were the funniest. The rest was hit or miss.This movie has yielded its share of favorite quotes. Because the memorable bits are so funny, the movie as a whole may start to take on a rarefied glow in your memory. This is what happened to me. However, in watching it again I realized that it wasn't as hilarious as I had recalled. Rent before you buy.
We start in the Stone Age with Sid Caesar, billed as "Chief Caveman." He struggles with the acquisition of fire, the very first art critic, etc. This part is short, but it has a lot of laughs.
Next comes the Old Testament section, mainly comprised of a short bit with Moses.
We move into a longer story about the Roman Empire. Mel Brooks plays Comicus, a stand-up philosopher, who performs at the whim of a deliciously hedonistic Emperor Nero (Dom DeLuise). It is here, too, that we meet Josephus (Gregory Hines), a slave who can entertain. We get to see him dance, and he is very funny. The highlight of this section, though, is Madeline Kahn as Empress Nympho. She wrings the most out of every single line and is devilishly saucy. The movie is worth seeing for her performance alone.
Next comes a sweeping musical number about the Spanish Inquisition. This cannot be described, only seen.
Finally, we revisit the French Revolution. Harvey Korman is a foppish Count de Monet, who bounces and flounces about, to great comic effect. This section contains my favorite Mel Brooks character in the movie, a sex-crazed Louis XVI. "It's good to be the king."Maybe I remembered it a little too fondly, setting myself up for disappointment. A ninety-minute movie designed only to make you laugh is going to have some jokes that soar and others that fall flat. Batting .500 isn't bad.