Saturday, August 27, 2016

History Of The World Trivia Part 1

History of the World Part 1

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10.  Director Trademark
Mel Brooks: [sequel] At the end of the film, a trailer is shown for "History of the World: Part II". There never has been a movie called this. The Part 1 in this movie's title is a joke.

9.  The film is responsible for popularizing the catch-phrase "It's good to be the king". The expression is repeatedly said by Mel Brooks during "The French Revolution" segment.

8.  When the Court Spokesman is whispering "Remember thou art mortal", that actually happened. When a Roman general entered Rome after a successful campaign, he had a servant riding in his carriage with him, whispering that in his ear.

7.  John Hurt did this movie because he had just gotten through doing two seriously dramatic films, and said that he wanted to have some fun and do a comedy. Hurt previously started in the title role in the Mel Brooks produced The Elephant Man (1980). 

6.  Mel Brooks came up with the name for this film because he was tired of people asking him what his next movie would be.

5.  Mary-Margaret Humes receives an "introducing" credit.

4.  The mispronounced name that the Count de Monet (Harvey Korman) was mistakenly called was the "Count da Money". This is the second Mel Brooks film in which Harvey Korman's character has to correct someone on the pronunciation of his name. The first one was Blazing Saddles (1974).

3.  The name of the white horse actually was "Miracle".

2.  At the beginning of the French Revolution segment, the street sign reads "Rue De Merde", which is French for "Shit Street".

1.  Average Shot Length ~6.0 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~5.7 seconds.

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EXTRAS


The movie is an "episodic comedy in the spirit of Monty Python" according to Paul Brenner at Allmovie stating also that "the French revolution section is a broad parody of The Man in the Iron Mask story".

Gregory Hines replaced Richard Pryor. Just like in Mel Brooks' earlier Blazing Saddles (1974), Pryor was originally cast but had to pull out of the picture. Pryor's part eventually was taken by Hines in his screen debut. Just before filming was to begin, Pryor had his infamous drug-related accident, catching fire and getting severely burnt.

In The Old Testament segment, the writing on the tablets are the correct two word Hebrew version of the commandments: Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't lie etc'. The five more Don'ts on the third tablet that Moses accidentally drops, are: Don't impregnate, Don't laugh, Don't buy, and the last one: Don't break. the letters of the fourth commandment on that tablet make the sounds of TLRT but that's not a word in Hebrew (could be a production mistake).

According to Mel Brooks, the Moses scene was a last minute addition. "Sometimes, you will get very lucky and the set will give you ideas for jokes," Brooks said in a 2012 interview with the Directors Guild of America. One day, he was gazing out at the scenery that had been built for the caveman segments when the gears in his head started turning. "I immediately thought, 'Well, where do I go from here?'" Brooks recalled. Heading into the shoot, his plan was to "skip the Bible and go to Rome.'" But eventually, he realized that the Stone Age set might enable him to explore another chapter in world history. With a few minor alterations, Brooks converted his faux caves into a mountaintop, and the Moses bit was born.

In an interview with Gene Siskel, Mel Brooks revealed that he'd filmed a brief scene that made light of the notorious Three Mile Island incident. "I had a father and a mother made up to look like half a dog and half a cat as a result of a nuclear meltdown," Brooks told Siskel. When test audiences reacted poorly, this bit was removed. However, at least one journalist managed to see an extended cut which contained the footage.

Mel Brooks himself claimed that the film's budget-an estimated $11 million-exceeded that of his previous three films combined. Particularly expensive was the Inquisition scene, in which the set alone cost $1 million. By comparison, the entire budget of The Producers (1967) was a paltry $941,000.

The movie's title is a play on "The History of the World, Volume 1" by Sir Walter Raleigh. According to Wikipedia, "The History of the World was a book about the ancient history of Greece and Rome, written by Sir Walter Raleigh while prisoner in the Tower of London; he had only managed to complete the first volume before being beheaded". According to the British Explorers website, "whilst in the Bloody Tower he [Raleigh] wrote the "History of the World"...which was first printed in 1614. It was composed of five volumes but only reached as far as the second Macedonian War in 130 BC".

When Mel Brooks cast himself as Comicus, he proceeded to copy some of his idol's manic facial expressions. "I made my eyes pop out in reactions, like he did," Brooks says. "My Comicus was a tribute to Eddie Cantor. He was my timing, my excitement." Even the character's wardrobe, a "short little toga," was modeled after the outfit Cantor wore in Roman Scandals (1933).

Beforehand, it was agreed that Orson Welles would receive $5000 per day in exchange for his services. Figuring that he'd have to spend five eight-hour days recording and re-recording these lines with Welles, Mel Brooks paid him $25,000 up front. But by noon on the first day, Welles had recorded every single one of his lines to perfection. "Oh my god, I could've paid you $5000," Brooks lamented. After kicking himself for a few minutes, the funnyman asked Welles how he planned to spend the bounty. "Cuban cigars and sevruga caviar," Welles replied.

The film makes quite extensive use of matte paintings for backgrounds. Every segment (except "The Stone Age" and "The Old Testament") features backgrounds that are nothing more than paintings, especially in the segments' establishing shots and in numerous wide shots. Such paintings were used for the harbor and for many of the city shots in "The Roman Empire", the castle in "The Spanish Inquisition" and both the city and the countryside in "The French Revolution."
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