Smarter Brother's best material is in the musical parodies and the performances of Madeline Kahn and Dom DeLuise. Kahn plays a musical hall singer who needs detective "S. Holmes" to help retrieve some secret government documents. This Holmes turns out to be Sigerson (Gene Wilder, who also wrote and directed the film), jealous younger brother of the more famous Sherlock. Marty Feldman plays a sidekick police sergeant with "photographic hearing." The documents she needs are being held by a blackmailing opera singer, DeLuise, and are also sought by Professor Moriarty (Leo McKern). There's singing, sword-fighting, sleight of hand, Music Hall numbers, a few great math jokes, and boobies.
But the best part not in the movie was when my Tatar friend burst out laughing at the sight of the conducter at the start of the opera scene. We all looked at her quizzically, and she said, "It's Verdi!" like obviously. "Is it?" She pulls out Wikipedia and whaddyaknow (something we all shoulda, at our age). That's what happens when you grow up under the yoke of communism: OPERA. While the rest of the civilized world was watching Happy Days...
So all this time there was a visual joke that went with the fabulous translation gag (which starts with the chorus):
"We're singing at the party. We ate a great big dinner.
Hot hors d'oeuvres, cold hors d'oeuvres
Oy, did we stuff ourselves.
The chicken was delicious. Everyone is dancing.
Up and down, all around
Let's hope we don't get sick."
This after a couple of naked tushies. Like I said: uneven.
More importanly, there's Madeline Kahn, one of the funniest, most talented comic actresses of all time. There are pitifully few opportunities to see her anymore.