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High Anxiety Details


This is Mel Brooks' spoof of over ten Alfred Hitchcock classics, including Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock, and Alfred Hitchcock (Brooks actually used the bird trainer from that classic suspense movie in making his film). Brooks plays Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, a renowned Harvard psychiatrist with a concealed fear of heights, or High Anxiety. Thorndyke takes over as the newest director of the PsychoNeurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous after the last director dies under suspicious circumstances. He soon finds himself to be in the company of some very strange colleagues, including longtime Brooks collaborators Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman, with Madeline Kahn as Victoria Brisbane, the eccentric daughter of a patient at the institute and Thorndyke's love interest. Korman takes on the role of Dr. Charles Montague, a psychiatrist with a closeted habit of his own. Leachman plays Charlotte Diesel, a charge nurse with a dark sneer and tendency towards domination. As Thorndyke heads to a psychiatry conference, he is faced with saving the Institute, his reputation, and his own sanity. Although the film was not well-received by critics, it picked up a 1978 Golden Globe nomination for best picture (musical or comedy) and landed Brooks a nomination for best actor. The movie has a number of cameos, from a young Barry Levinson's spot as an unstable bellboy to a small part by Hitchcock's right-hand special effects man, Albert J. Whitlock, who plays Kahn's father. ~ Rachel Koetje, Rovi

  • Release date:December 25, 1977


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Mel Brooks Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1977 Nominee


Mel Brooks
as Richard H. Thorndyke
Madeline Kahn
as Victoria Brisbane
Cloris Leachman
as Nurse Charlotte Diesel
Harvey Korman
as Dr. Charles Montague
Ron Carey
as Brophy
Howard Morris
as Prof. Lilloman
Dick Van Patten
as Dr. Philip Wentworth
Jack Riley
as The Desk Clerk
Charlie Callas
as Cocker Spaniel
Ron Clark
as Zachary Cartwright
Rudy de Luca
as Killer
Barry Levinson
as Bellboy
Albert J. Whitlock
as Arthur Brisbane
Bryan Englund
as Orderly #2
Robert Ridgely
as Flasher
Eddie Ryder
as Doctor at Convention
Bernie Kuby
as Dr. Wilson
Hunter Von Leer
as Policeman at Airport
Ira Miller
as Psychiatrist with Children
Robin Menken
as Cocktail Waitress
Robert Manuel
as Policeman at Airport
Frank Campanella
as Bartender
Sandy Helberg
as Airport Attendant
Bullets Durgom
as Man in Phone Booth
Joe Bellan
as Male Attendant
Mitchell Bock
as Bar Patron
Lee Delano
as Norton
Arnold Soboloff
as Dr. Colburn
Henry Kaiser
as New Groom
Billy Sands
as Customer
Darrell Zwerling
as Dr. Eckhardt
Pearl Shear
as Screaming Woman at Gate
Al Hopson
as Man Who is Shot
Richard Stahl
as Dr. Baxter
Murphy Dunne
as Piano Player


Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Barry Levinson
Ron Clark
Rudy de Luca
Mel Brooks
John C. Howard
Anne McCulley
Set Designer
Rick Kent
Set Designer
Albert J. Whitlock
Special Effects
Jonathan Sanger
First Assistant Director
Walter Doniger
Sound Mixer