Mel Brooks: Make a Noise

PBS American Masters, Shout! Factory

In this latest installment of PBS’ American Masters series (currently streaming at for free), Mel Brooks tells a story of his time as a soldier in World War II when he grabbed a megaphone and sang to the German soldiers across enemy lines. From across the battlefield, he could hear his enemy’s applause. It’s the applause that makes this a Mel Brooks story. Through film, photos, and archived and new interviews with Brooks and his friends, such as Carl Reiner, Nathan Lane and Cloris Leachman, this documentary traces the artist’s career spanning more than six decades. From The Show of Shows and Get Smart to The Producers and the film’s Broadway production, Brooks deserves his status as one of only 14 EGOT—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony—winners. The segment on Brooksfilms (The Fly and The Elephant Man) will be of interest to fans who know Brooks for his genre spoofs such as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, while the behind-the-scenes stories on his well-known comedies are as hilarious as the films themselves. A notoriously private man, we see only glimpses of Brooks’ personal life, but when he opens up about struggling as an artist and his 41-year marriage to Anne Bancroft, it is clear this is a man who’s passionate about life and not simply comedy.