The Critic is a 1963 animated short film (only four minutes!) directed by Ernest Pintoff, written by and starring Mel Brooks, in his film debut.
The short is a series of animated abstractions, with lines, squiggles, and other abstract figures moving and changing shape against a plain background that changes colors. Playing over this is the voice of an old man, a cranky 71-year-old Russian Jew. The old man, who apparently thought he'd bought a ticket to a European Erotic Film, struggles to make sense of the avant-garde animation and complains throughout.
Brooks had recently gotten his big break playing a character called "The 2000-Year-Old Man," and in this short plays a very similar cranky old man character.
Not to be confused with the animated TV series of the same title.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Norman McLaren's idiosyncratic animation.
- Alter Kocker: A cranky old Jewish man mumbling about art.
- Born in the Theater: The old man complains about having paid $2 to see the short. At one point a woman tells him to be quiet.
- Faux Symbolism: In-Universe, this is the old man's opinion of the cartoon he is watching."It must be some symbolism. I think it's symbolic of junk."
- Le Film Artistique: An abstract animated short film, lines and squiggles moving around to music, much to an audience member's disgust.
- Pastiche: Supposedly Mel Brooks had gone to see a screening of a Norman Mc Laren abstract animation short, only to hear another audience member grumble and mumble throughout. The animation in this short thus is done in a deliberately abstract McLaren style.