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High Anxiety (1977)

aka High Anxiety

"A Psycho-Comedy."

Directed By: 
Details: 94 mins · English · PG (USA)


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Small Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke
Small Victoria Brisbane
Small Nurse Charlotte Diesel
Small Dr. Charles Montague
Small Brophy
No_movie_poster Professor Lilloman
Small Dr. Philip Wentworth


No_movie_poster John Morris Original Music Composer
Small Barry Levinson Screenplay
No_movie_poster John C. Howard Editor
Small Mel Brooks Director
No_movie_poster Paul Lohmann Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Ron Clark Screenplay
No_movie_poster Rudy De Luca Screenplay
Small Mel Brooks Production
Small Mel Brooks Writer


"A Psycho-Comedy."

"Danger, Intrigue, Romance...and a Touch of Kinkiness!"

"The Master of Comedy takes on The Master of Suspense!"


The story begins at Los Angeles airport, where Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) has several odd encounters (such as a homosexual man disguised as a police officer). He leaves for the institute with his driver, Brophy (Ron Carey). Upon his arrival, he is greeted by the staff, Dr. Montague (Harvey Korman), Dr. Wentworth (Dick Van Patten) and Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman). When he goes to his room, a large rock is thrown through the window, with a message of welcome from the Violent Ward.

Thorndyke then hears strange noises coming from Nurse Diesel's room and when he and Brophy go to investigate, Diesel claims it was the TV. However, it was a passionate session of BDSM with Dr. Montague. The next morning, Thorndyke is alerted by a light shining through his window. It is coming from the violent ward.

Later, Nurse Diesel is talking with Dr. Wentworth. He wants to leave, but she won't let him. However, after some arguing, she says she'll let him go. When Wentworth is driving home that night, his radio blasts rock music loudly and will not shut off. He is trapped in his car, and he dies from an ear hemorrhage.

After this, Thorndyke goes to the grand hotel - the broad-atriumed, vertigo-inducing Hyatt Regency San Francisco, where much to his dismay he is relegated to a room on the top floor, due to a reservation change by a "Mr. MacGuffin". He pesters the bellboy (Barry Levinson) with repeated requests for a newspaper, wanting to look in the obituaries for information concerning Dr. Wentworth's demise. He then takes a shower, during which the bellboy comes and in a frenzy mimics stabbing Thorndyke with the paper while screaming "Here's your paper! Happy now?! Happy?" The paper's ink runs down the drain, a reference to Psycho.

After his shower, a woman bursts through the door; she is Victoria Brisbane (Madeline Kahn), the daughter of Arthur Brisbane (Albert Whitlock). She wants help regarding her father. He agrees to the terms, but then finds out Nurse Diesel's plot. The patient is not the real Arthur Brisbane.

To stop Thorndyke, Diesel and Montague hire a killer, "Braces" (Rudy De Luca), to impersonate Thorndyke and shoot a man in the lobby. Now with the police after him, he must prove his innocence. After he is briefly attacked by pigeons, he contacts Brophy, and realizes Brophy took a picture of the shooting. The real Thorndyke was in the elevator at the time, so he should be in the picture.

He orders Brophy to enlarge the picture. When he goes to call, "Braces" tries to strangle him; however, Thorndyke is able to kill him. Brophy enlarges the photo, and Thorndyke is indeed visible in the picture. Nurse Diesel and Montague capture Brophy and take him to the North Wing. They also take the real Arthur Brisbane to a tower to kill him.

As Thorndyke runs up the tower to save him and Brisbane, Nurse Diesel leaps out from the shadows in a witch's costume with a broom, and falls out the tower window. Thinking she really is a witch, she tries to act like she's flying, ending in her crashing into the rocks below, thus killing her.

Dr. Montague appears from the shadows and gives up before being hit in the head by the trap door by Brophy. Victoria is reunited with her father and gets married to Thorndyke who go off on Honeymoon.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2006-04-04

DVD : 2006-09-05