- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 108op/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,English Dolby 2.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Cantonese, French, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 11, 2010
- List Price: $24.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
In Mel Brooks’ 1981 film, History of the World — Part I, he takes on the first part of human history, the way only he can, by spoofing everyone and everything relentlessly. Narrated by Orson Welles with a the most serious, stentorian air, Brooks’ History unfolds in three parts and stretches from the dawn of man, through the Roman Empire, through to the French Revolution.
All the Brooks regulars are in tow, such as Madeline Kahn, Clorise Leachman and Harvey Korman as are numerous celebrity cameos from the likes of Bea Arthur, Sid Caesar, and Hugh Hefner, just to name a few. Gregory Hines offers a standout performance early on as Josephus, an Ethiopian slave in the service of the empress Nympho (Kahn).
Among one of its strongest points, making the Spanish Inquisition funny, History of the World unleashed some of Mel Brooks most memorable characters, such as his rendition of Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher and Jacques, le garçon de pisse. In a similar vein to Monty Python material such as Life of Brian and just as hysterical, History of the World is Mel Brooks on top of his game.
History of the World — Part I arrives on Blu-ray with a strong transfer that looks clean and detailed with deep stable blacks and strong shadow delineation. There is fine layer of grain offering a film-like quality, but occasionally grain level jumps just a tad and background detail softens.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is nothing spectacular and is similar to every other mix from the recently reissued Mel Brooks catalogue on Blu-ray. The surrounds are mainly utilized for some low-level ambience with a decent stereo spread of sound across the front soundstage, Dialogue is clean and sound effects sound natural.
All of the supplements on this stand-alone release of History of the World are identical to what appear on the disc in The Mel Brooks Collection. They aren’t overwhelming, but there’s at least some effort to offer a little added value.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Isolated Score Track (DTS-HD Master Audio)
- Musical Mel: Inventing “The Inquisition” (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:10.24) — Mel Brooks and the crew discuss creating the musical number for the Spanish Inquisition scene from The History of the World — Part I and Mel’s love of Broadway shows.
- Making History: Mel Brooks on Creating the World (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:10.04)
- The Real History of the World Trivia Track
- Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
- Mel Brooks Trailers
The Definitive Word
This is a solid effort from 20th Century Fox of a rip-roaring Mel Brooks film that turns he mirror on the silliness that is human history, It is a must-own item for any comedy buff.
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