In the 1963 short film “The Critic”, a young Mel Brooks does a hilarious impression of an old man who has been asked to interpret an animation featuring modern abstract art. Brooks, who wrote the film, gave his character a distinct Yiddish accent, a witty sense of humor, and a sense of impatience for such strange things.
What the hell is it? Oh, I know what it is. It’s garbage, that’s what it is. Two dollars I paid for a French movie, for a foreign movie and I gotta see this junk. …I’m 71. I got a right to be loud lady. I’m gonna die soon. What is this? Dots. Could be an eye, could be anything. It must be some symbolism. I think it’s symbolic of junk.
The character was based on a real person whom Brooks observed while at an art gallery.
The film was reportedly inspired by an actual incident. In Spring, 1962 Mel Brooks attended a movie theater, which among other films screened an animated short by Norman McLaren. It featured surrealistic, abstract imagery. During the screening of this short, Brooks listened to another audience member “mumbling to himself”. He was an old immigrant man who was voicing his disappointment at the lack of a plot. Brooks was inspired to make a film out of this experience.
The film won an Oscar for Short Subject (Cartoon) in 1964.
via Boing Boing