High Anxiety

Wednesday, August 20 – 7:30pm
Summer Classics Series: Two Standout Comedies from the 1970s
USA 1978. Director: Mel Brooks
Cast: Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Dick Van Patten

ImageAssuming the post of Chief of Staff at the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous, Nobel Prize-winning psychiatrist Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) comes across evidence of embezzlement and unexplained disappearances. He’s hustled off to a psychiatric convention by scheming Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman), she of the impossibly pointy breasts and Teutonic moustache, and her snivelling sidekick Dr. Montague (Harvey Korman), who has a predilection for S-M. While Thorndyke falls madly for blonde bombshell Victoria (Madeline Kahn), whose wealthy father is being held against his will at the Institute, dastardly Diesel and Montague succeed in framing their new Chief of Staff for murder. To prove his innocence, Thorndyke must confront his own “high anxiety” — acrophobia, the fear of heights — in a vertiginous climax. Actor-director Brooks makes merry mocking the psychiatric profession and its practices in this marvellous spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound. The film contains a wealth of references to other Hitchcock works as well (Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Dial M for Murder); much of the silly fun is in trying to spot them. Hitchcock (to whom High Anxiety is dedicated) reputedly loved the film, and is said to have sent Brooks a case of wine as a thank you. Colour, DVD. 94 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Diane McIntosh. Dr. McIntosh is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and has a busy private practice and clinical research program. She has particular interest and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Co-sponsored by Anxiety BC


Frames of Mind is a monthly film event utilizing film and video to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.