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History of the World, Part I

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Mel Brooks
Written by Mel Brooks
Starring Mel Brooks
Dom DeLuise
Madeline Kahn
Harvey Korman
Cloris Leachman
Music by John Morris
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) June 12, 1981
Running time 92 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Gross revenue $43,265,425

History of the World, Part I is a 1981 film written, produced and directed by Mel Brooks. As he does in many of his other films, Brooks also gives himself a great deal of time in front of the camera, this time playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Tomás de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques, le garçon de pisse. The large ensemble cast also features Sid Caesar, Shecky Greene, Gregory Hines, Charlie Callas, and Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Andreas Voutsinas, and influential Irish comedy writer/actor and former Goon Show star Spike Milligan. The film also has cameo appearances by Bea Arthur, Hugh Hefner, John Hurt, Barry Levinson, Jackie Mason, Paul Mazursky, and Henny Youngman, among many others. Orson Welles narrates the film, and briefly appears on screen in that capacity.

Contents

Plot

The film’s story is a parody of the “historical spectacular” film genre, including the “sword and sandal epic” and the “period costume drama” sub-genres. The four main segments of the film consist of stories set during the Dawn of Man, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and the French Revolution. The film also contains several other intermediate skits including reenactments of the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Last Supper.

The Dawn of Man

A group of cavemen (led by Sid Caesar) depict the invention of fire, the first marriages (the first “Homo sapiens” marriage which was swiftly followed by the first homosexual marriage), the first artist (which in turn gives rise to the first critic), and early attempts at comedy and music, by smashing each other's feet with rocks and thus creating an orchestra of screams.

The Old Testament

Moses (Mel Brooks) is shown coming down from Mount Sinai after receiving the Law from God (the voice of an uncredited Carl Reiner). When announcing the giving of the reception of the law to the people, Moses proclaims “The Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen...” (whereupon he drops one of the tablets, which promptly shatters) “Oy...Ten! Ten Commandments! For all to obey!”

The Roman Empire

Comicus (Brooks again), a stand-up philosopher, acquires a gig at "Caesar's Palace". En route to the palace Comicus meets and falls in love with a Vestal Virgin named Miriam (Mary-Margaret Humes) and befriends an Ethiopian slave named Josephus (Gregory Hines). Josephus is conscripted into the service of the Empress Nympho (Madeline Kahn).

At the Palace, Emperor Caesar (Dom DeLuise) listens to Comicus’ performance. Comicus soon forgets his audience and begins to joke about Caesar's obesity and corruption. Josephus absentmindedly pours a jug of wine into the emperor’s lap and Caesar orders Josephus and Comicus to fight to the death in a gladiatorial manner. They fight their way out of the palace, assisted in their escape by Miriam and Empress Nympho.

The group is chased by several Roman soldiers, but they distract them by burning a patch of marijuana. The group then sets sail from the port to Judea. While waiting tables at a restaurant, Comicus blunders into a private room where the Last Supper is taking place, interrupting Jesus (John Hurt) repeatedly. Eventually Leonardo da Vinci arrives to paint the group’s portrait.

The Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition segment is performed in the style of a grandiose Busby Berkeley production. The segment is one long song-and-dance number featuring Brooks as the infamous Torquemada. The segment opens with a herald introducing Torquemada and making a play on his name, noting that despite the pleas for mercy from the condemned, that you "can't Torquemada anything" (talk him outta anything). Several instances of "comical" torture are shown including a spinning iron maiden and "water torture" re-imagined as an Esther Williams-style aquatic ballet. Jackie Mason has a cameo in this scene as a Jewish torture victim.

The French Revolution

In the tavern of Madame Defarge (Cloris Leachman)she incites a mob to plot the French Revolution. Meanwhile, King Louis of France (Brooks again) is warned by his advisor, the Count de Monet (Harvey Korman), with the news that the peasants do not think that he likes them. A beautiful woman, Mademoiselle Rimbaud (Pamela Stephenson), asks him to free her father, who has been imprisoned in the Bastille for 10 years. He agrees to the pardon under the condition that she have sex with him that night.

De Monet manages to convince the king that he needs to go into hiding and that they will need a stand-in to pretend to be him. Thus Jacques (also Brooks), the garçon de pisse is chosen to impersonate the real king. Later that night, Mlle Rimbaud, unaware of the subterfuge, arrives and offers herself to the piss-boy dressed as the king. As she invites him to take her virginity, he pardons her father without requiring the sexual favors. After Mlle Rimbaud and her senile father (Spike Milligan) return from the prison, the peasants burst into the room and capture the piss-boy “king” and Mlle Rimbaud. Miracle suddenly arrives, drawing a cart with Josephus driving. The last shot is of the party approaching a mountain carved with the words “THE END.”

Previews of coming attractions

At the very end of the film, there is a teaser trailer for History of the World: Part II, narrated by Brooks, which promises to include Hitler on Ice, a Viking funeral, and Jews in Space. Despite the preview, no sequel has been released, and the “Part I” of the film’s title is merely a historical joke (The History of the World was a book written by Sir Walter Raleigh while prisoner in the Tower of London; he had only managed to complete the first volume before being beheaded).

Cast

“It’s good to be the king”

This catch phrase is used repeatedly during the French Revolution segment of the film. Brooks, as Louis XVI, says this blatantly into the camera on several occasions as if to justify the king’s wanton behavior. Brooks also portrays “Le Garçon de Pisse,” the lowly pissboy, who carries a bucket for royalty to urinate into and later impersonates the king. Brooks as the piss boy delivers the same line with a sense of surprise when he is able to sample the king’s luxurious lifestyle for the first time. Brooks recorded a hip-hop song of the same name which reached the 67th position on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The line would be used by Brooks thrice more: once in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, when King Richard kisses Maid Marian, another time in Spaceballs when President Skroob is in bed with the twins "It's good to be the president" and later in his stage musical version of the film, The Producers, as a lyric in a musical number about a Broadway producer titled “The King of Broadway”. In an episode of Spaceballs: The Animated Series, Skroob, voiced by Brooks, uses the phrase "its good to be the president" as a tribute.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to History of the World: Part I article)

From Wikiquote

History of the World, Part I a 1981 film directed by American film director, Mel Brooks.

Contents

The Stoner Age

Announcer - Even in most primitive man, the need to create was part of his nature. This need, this talent clearly separated early man from animals, who would never know this gift.

Announcer - And here, in a cave about 2 million years ago, the first artist was born. [a drawing of a buffalo is shown, and a proud artist] And, of course, with the birth of the artist, came the inevitable after birth... The critic. [the critic urinates on the drawing]

The Old Testament

Announcer - Moses went to the mountain and God spoketh to him.

God - Moses, this is the Lord, thy God, commanding you to obey my law. Do you hear me?
Moses - "Yes, I hear you, I hear you... a deaf man could hear you!
God - What?!
Moses- Nothing, forget about it, Oh Lord! Why have you chosen me? What would you have me do for you?
God- I shall give you my laws, and you shall take them unto the people.
Moses- Yes, Lord!

Moses - The lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen... (drops stone tablet) Oy. Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey!

The Roman Empire

Roman Guard - Seize him!!
Josephus - (grabbing his crotch) Seize this, honkus!

Roman Policeman - Seize him! Do you know the punishment for a slave who strikes a Roman citizen? (the crowd starts shouting and raising hands) OK, you, you had your hand up first.
Man 1 - Death by torture!
Roman Policeman - Nooo. You?
Man 2 - Crucifixion!
Roman Policeman - Wrong! You?
Man 3 - They shove a living snake up your ass!
Roman Policeman - Whew, ahh. No, but that's very creative! You?
Man 4 - They send you to the lions!
Roman Policeman - Right!
Miriam - No!
Roman Policeman - Whaddaya mean, no? He was right! They send you to the lions!

Comicus - (to the Last Supper attendees) Are you all together or are there separate checks?

Emperor Caesar - What's under the sheet?
Marcus Vindictus - Sheet? Oh! Oh, the sheet. Yes. To begin with, number one, a beautiful hand-carved alabaster bathing vessel!
Emperor Caesar - Nice. Nice. Not thrilling...but nice.
Marcus - Aha! But to fill the tub, behind curtain number two, treasure from the Orient! (music starts to play)
Emperor Caesar - Treasure. Bathtub... Treasure bath. I'm going to have a treasure bath! Treasure baaath! (laughs and screams)
Marcus Vindictus - Oh, Nympho. I would do anything, anything if you'd only grant me your favours. How can I entice you? How can I ensnare you? What bait must I use to catch your love? I am your servant.
Empress Nympho - Ahh, but the servant waits, while the master baits!
Emperor Caesar laughs, then pulls a serious face, then pulls a golden disc from his behind. - Here, wash this.
Servant - Oh, yes, sire.
He groans

Stoned Roman Soldier 1 - (very stoned) So, do you care if it falls?
Stoned Roman Soldier 2 - (equally high) What?
Stoned Roman Soldier 1 - The Roman Empire.
Stoned Roman Soldier 2 - Fuck it!

Roman Soldier - Chemist, can you help me?
Chemist - What are you looking for?
Roman Soldier - A pack of Trojans.
Chemist - Gee, I just ran out!

Man Outside of the Temple of Eros - (Hugh Hefner cameo) It's a new concept. It's called a 'centerfold'.

Marcus Vindictus - Don't you know your left flank from your right flank?
Captain Mucus - I'm sorry, sir, I flunked flank.
Marcus Vindictus - You flunked flank? Get the flunk out of here!

Dole Office Clerk - Occupation?
Comicus - Stand-up philosopher.
Dole Office Clerk - What?
Comicus - Stand-up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human existence into a viable and meaningful comprehension.
Dole Office Clerk - Oh, a bullshit artist!
Comicus - Hmmmmmm...
Dole Office Clerk - Did you bullshit last week?
Comicus - No.
Dole Office Clerk - Did you try to bullshit last week?
Comicus - Yes!

Empress Nympho - (to her litter bearers) Could you please step on the same foot at the same time! My tits are falling off!

Judas - No. No. Leave us alone!
Comicus - All right, all right! Jesus!
Jesus - Yes.
Comicus - What?
Jesus - What?
Comicus - What?
Jesus - Yes.
Comicus - Jesus!
Jesus - Yes.
Comicus - What?
Jesus - What?
Comicus - You said what.
Jesus - Yes.
Comicus - Nothing.

Empress Nympho - Oh Bob, do I have any openings that this man might fit?
Crowd - Whooooaaaaaaa!
Bob - Well, we could use another wine steward.
Josephus - I got a great corkscrew!
Crowd - Whoooaaaaaaa!
Josephus - Damn, this a hip crowd!

Oedipus - (begging in the street) Give to Oedipus! Give to Oedipus! Hey, Josephus!
Josephus - Hey, motherfucker!

Miriam - Miracle! Oh, what a beautiful name! What's yours?
Comicus - Miracle. Uh, Comicus. I'm a stand-up philosopher.
Miriam - Oh, I'm Miriam, I'm a vestal virgin.
Comicus - I'm really sorry to hear that.

Empress Nympho-I love quick time march.

The Spanish Inquisition

Narrator - The year was 1489. The Black Plague ravaged the continent, it was the hour of the infamous, Auto de fé where, for public amusement, heretics and non-believers would be tortured in a carnival like atmosphere; and it was guided by the most fearful specter to ever sit in judgment over good and evil. The Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada.

Chief Monk - All pay heath, thou enters his holiness, Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.

Chief Monk - Torquemada, do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada, do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada, do not ask him for mercy. Let's face it - you can't Torquemada anything!
Torquemada - Let all those who wish to confess their evil ways and accept the true church, convert now, or forever burn in hell! For now begins the Inquisition!

Jew - I was sitting in a temple, I was minding my own business, I was listening to a lovely Hebrew mass. Then these Papist persons plunge in and they throw me in a dungeon and they shove a red-hot poker up my ass! Is that considerate? Is that polite? And not a tube of Preparation-H in sight!

Jew 2- I was sittin' flickin' chickens/ An' I was lookin' through the pickin's/ When suddenly these goys break down my walls/ I didn't even know them/ But they grab me by the scrotum/ And they started playin' Ping Pong with my balls/ Oh, the agony/ Oh, the shame/ To make my privates public for a game!

Monk - Who knows, Torque- you might win a buck!

Torquemada - How we doin', any converts today?
Guards- Not a one, nay nay nay.
Torquemada - We've flattened their fingers, we've branded their buns, nothing is working...send in the nuns!

Everybody- (singing) The Inquisition, what a show! The Inquisition, here we go! We know you're wishin', that we go away! So come on you Muslims and you Jews, We've got big news for all of yous! You better change your point of view today! 'Cause the Inquisition is here and here...to... stay!

The French Revolution

Count De Monet - Sir, the peasants are revolting!
King Louis - You said it. They stink on ice.

Madame Defarge - We don't even have a language! Just a stupid accent!
Peasant Man - Yeah she's right. We all sound like Maurice Chevalier. Honh, honh, honh!

Madame Defarge - Now, repeat after me. (cough, cough, cough)
Peasants - Cough, cough, cough.
Madame Defarge - No, no, no. Dumb scum. I mean death to King Louiiiiiiiis!
Peasants - Death to King Louiiiiiiiis!

Madame Defarge - Let us end this meeting on a high note. (hits a high A) Eeeeeeee!
Peasants - Eeeeeee!

Count De Monet - Your Majesty- you look like the piss boy!
King Louis - And you look like a bucket of shit!

King Louis - It's good to be the king.

King Louis - Of course ya do it. Everybody does it. I just did it, and I'm ready to do it again.

King Louis - They are my people! I am their sovereign! I LOVE Them. Pull! (shoots peasant flung into air) Drifting to the left...

Count De Monet - Oh! But this long trip is exhausting conversation, I'm famished!
Count De Monet - Bearnaise?
Bernaise - Yes?.
Count De Monet - Bearnaise, do we have any of those delicious raisins left?
Bernaise - You ate yours, these are mine.
Count de Monet- Au contraire, they are mine! I paid for them! Hand them over!
Bearnaise- (mimicking) I paid for them! They're mine! (blows a raspberry)
Count De Monet - Don't be saucy with me, Bearnaise.

Bernaise - You should get rid of your tailor.
Bernaise - Your cuffs, your cuffs, I don't like your cuffs. A man's cuffs should be even with the tip of his peepee, yours are all the way down to your balls!
Count De Monet - At least I have mine.
Bernaise - You bitch.

Count de Monet- Gerald!
Gerald - Count da Money!
Count de Monet- de Monet... Monet! Say it! Monet!
Gerald and Count de Monet - Moonnet, Moonnet, Moonnet
Gerald, Count de Monet, Bearnaise- Mooonnnet!
Count de Monet - Perfect, don't forget! Give it to me again! Monet.
Gerald and Bernaise- Monet.
Count de Monet - Very good, where is his majesty?
Gerald - Sir, the King is playing Chess.
Bernaise - Chess!?! I hate Chess!

(King Louis is playing chess on a giant chessboard)

King Louis- Knight jumps Queen! Bishop jumps Queen! Horns jump Queen!
King Louis- Gangbang! Come on jump the Queen!
Assistant- Are you going to speak to his majesty?
Count de Monet- Perhaps later.

Preview of Part II

See... A Viking Funeral
See... Hitler On Ice
See... Jews In Space
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History of the World: Part I







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