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Comedy icons Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn star in Mel Brooks' brilliantly outrageous riff on mary Shelley's classic story of Frankenstein. After inheriting his grandfather's castle in Transylvania, young Dr. Frankenstein (Wilder) follows in his ancestor's freaky footsteps as he sets out to reanimate a dead body in Brooks' 'funniest, most cohesive comedy to date.' (The New York Times).
Absurd Dr. Frankenstein visits the family castle in Transylvania and makes a monster. Directed by Mel Brooks.
If you were to argue that Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein ranks among the top-ten funniest movies of all time, nobody could reasonably dispute the claim. Spoofing classic horror in the way that Brooks's previous film Blazing Saddles sent up classic Westerns, the movie is both a loving tribute and a raucous, irreverent parody of Universal's classic horror films Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Filming in glorious black and white, Brooks re-created the Frankenstein laboratory using the same equipment from the original Frankenstein (courtesy of designer Kenneth Strickfaden), and this loving attention to physical and stylistic detail creates a solid foundation for nonstop comedy. The story, of course, involves Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and his effort to resume experiments in re-animation pioneered by his late father. (He's got some help, since dad left behind a book titled How I Did It.) Assisting him is the hapless hunchback Igor (Marty Feldman) and the buxom but none-too-bright maiden Inga (Teri Garr), and when Frankenstein succeeds in creating his monster (Peter Boyle), the stage is set for an outrageous revision of the Frankenstein legend. With comedy highlights too numerous to mention, Brooks guides his brilliant cast (also including Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman in a classic cameo role) through scene after scene of inspired hilarity. Indeed, Young Frankenstein is a charmed film, nothing less than a comedy classic, representing the finest work from everyone involved. Not one joke has lost its payoff, and none of the countless gags have lost their zany appeal. From a career that includes some of the best comedies ever made, this is the film for which Mel Brooks will be most fondly remembered. Befitting a classic, the Special Edition DVD includes audio commentary by Mel Brooks, a "making of" documentary, interviews with the cast, hilarious bloopers and outtakes, and the original theatrical trailers. No video library should be without a copy of Young Frankenstein. And just remember--that's Fronkensteen. --Jeff Shannon
Beyond Young Frankenstein
Stills from Young Frankenstein (Click for larger image)
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But that's before he finds out he inherited his grandfather's Transylvania castle. And library. And laboratory. Then he has a full change of heart.
That little synopsis gives no clue to how "Young Frankenstein" is a perfect comedy. Everything comes together in a beautiful package. The actors are superb, especially Gene Wilder. But you can't ignore any of the performances. I had no clue until years after seeing it in the theater that Gene Hackman was in the film.
The dialogue and physical bits are very funny. And when they work together, as they so often do in this film, it is hilarious. Did you know that Igor's hump changing sides started off as Marty Feldman's joke? He switched it right and left waiting to see if anybody was going to notice. And I always guffaw at Chloris Leachman's Frau Blucher (neeeigh!) declaring, "YES! He vas my boyfriend!"
One of my favorite scenes is when Frederick aims to show the success of his reanimation by impressing a black-tie audience at the Bucharest Academy of Science. He and the Monster sing and dance their way through a rendition of "Puttin' on the Ritz." I dare you to watch it and not grin.
"Young Frankenstein" hit the theaters in December 1974. The screenplay was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
This is my very favorite Mel Brooks movie, though I admit not being impressed with some of them. Brooks directed twelve films in all, acting in all but one. That one was "Young Frankenstein". This was at creator and co-writer Gene Wilder's insistence, because he felt too often that Mel "broke the fourth wall" when he acted. That is, he spoke or referred directly to the audience, and Wilder didn't want that in "Young Frankenstein."
Eight of Mel Brooks movies, including "Young Frankenstein," are collected in a slipcase in Mel Brooks Bx Sm Cb.
This was a safe call in large part thanks to Marty Feldman who was a classic vaudevillian funny man. Here he is cast as Igor (Its pronounced Eye Gore!) and is the face that launched 898 laughs- the other 102 got edited out.
The core of the Mel Brooks regulars, Gene Wilder (The young Frankenstein, Its Pronounced Fraunk en stein!), Cloris Lechman, (Blucher!) and Madeline Kahn (Elizabeth - Taffeta Darling...) all delivere memorable lines even if Gene Wilder does his shouting, meltdown a few times to many. Peter Boyle -The Creature, with no lines for 90% of the movie provides innocence, malevolence, devilish facials and his improvisation of "Puttin on the Ritz" all but steals the show. This is an early movie for Teri Garr. Her character, Inga (He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker *Wuff*) is like Igor, a minor supporting role. Like Igor she adds far more to the humor than the role requires.
At its base this is a loving satire of the great black and white monster movies and especially the early Frankenstein movies. The included Making of Young Frankenstein states that the main inspiration was Bride of Frankenstein. "Son of..." and the original are all referenced. My favorite factoid is that this was the first movie to have the use of the original Frankenstein laboratory complete with Ken Strickfaden one of the original technicians who kept the electrical gear working and created some new toys. What also comes through is a respect for the original intent of the Mary Shelly book. The comedic Dr. Frankenstein never abandons his creation, nor does he ignore his responsibility towards his creature. Shelly's original intent was not: do not play with nature, but rather: take responsibility for what you `do - do'.( I love quoting from this flick).
As much as I have enjoyed watching, and re-watching Young Frankenstein, there are scenes that I tend to fast forward. So an advantage of owning is you can fast forward. Those individual bits that drag or go over the top , can be skipped in favor of favorite bits that many showings later still make this a favorite comedy.
In case you missed it: This is a funny movie. You will want to own it. Its worth many replays even if you find parts you want to skip.