It is a credit to director Mel Brooks and to Gene Wilder, co-author of the screenplay, that this film has lost none of his comic impact since it was first released almost 30 years ago. Seeing it and The Producers (1968) again recently, I was reminded of the fact that Brooks' best comedies are those in which he does not appear. Also, I was again impressed by Brooks's respectful treatment of the original material (i.e. Mary Godwin Shelley's novel), more so than any of the earlier film versions, notably one starring Boris Karloff as The Monster.
What else to say? The ensemble cast of Brooks regulars (Boyle, Kahn, Leachman, Mars, and Wilder) are all outstanding, joined by Marty Feldman, Terri Garr, and a surprisingly effective Gene Hackman as the Blind Hermit. In only a few other films has Hackman's gift for comedy been utilized. The ones I recall are three of the Superman films, Get Shorty (1995), and The Birdcage (1996): to a lesser extent in Unforgiven (1992) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
Nonetheless, the irrepressible Brooks could not resist the temptation to add some special seasoning of his own such as, for example, the schtick involving the word Blucher. (Frau Blucher finally admits that the late Henry Frankenstein was her "boyfriend"). As Brooks well knew, Gebhard von Blucher was a Prussian field marshal during the Napoleonic wars, infamous for his abuse of horses. (Following retirement from military service, his mental health was questioned when he claimed that he was pregnant with an elephant after being raped by a French grenadier. Such a claim could indeed raise questions.) Igor's shifting hump is also vintage Brooks as are the scenes when Frederick von Frankenstein (Fronk-un-STEEN!) bids farewell to Elizabeth (Kahn) before his train departs and then later when Inga (Garr) is happily "rolling, rolling, rolling in the hay" wagon.
However, Brooks never allows such zaniness to overcome (obliterate?) the flow of the narrative as is sometimes the case in his other comedies. Although it may be difficult to believe, there is great dignity in this film which never serves as a target for ridicule. (That is what I meant earlier when suggesting that Brooks and Wilder are respectful of the original.) Even the slapstick (slapschtick?) such as it is helps to advance the plot.
For these and other reasons, this is my favorite Brooks comedy.
Stephanie's Favourite Movies: Young Frankenstein This is definitely a classic comedy and a spoof done right. The problem I have with spoofs today (especially those done by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg) is that they just throw in the exact same scenes from the movies that they're ripping off with more dick and boob jokes while throwing in as many pop culture references as they can, whether or not they pertain to the genre they're satirizing. Spoofs work … more
WARNING: This film may lead to incontinence due to hysterical laughter! Mel Brooks' 1974 film, Young Frankenstein is arguably the funniest film ever made. Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, who had previously collaborated on The Producers and Blazing Saddles, wrote the script together. This film is a superbly crafted parody of the Universal Studios Frankenstein films. The story begins with young Doctor Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced … more
It's always a bit dangerous when a medium uses itself as its subject. So paintings about painting, plays about the theatre, rock and roll songs about how hard it is to be a star all tend to run along the edge of tedious and self-important. Movies about movies are the worst. If you want me to understand some other film before I see yours, buy me a ticket. What keeps Young Frankenstein from being tedious is that some of the eternal pillars of comedy are present. There's lesson … more
"I am a scientist!" Gene Wilder rants to his class, "My grandfathers work was doo doo!" Young Frankenstien is a person who has liveed his life under the morbid shadow of his grandfather, Baron Von Frankenstien. This is withoutadoubt (one word) one of the funniest movies you could watch. The movie itself is only partially old, but its black and white filming gives a great classic feeling. There are so many puns that there is no way in heck you could memorize them without repeated viewings. I love … more
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
If you were to argue that Mel Brooks'sYoung Frankensteinranks 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 filmBlazing Saddlessent up classic Westerns, the movie is both a loving tribute and a raucous, irreverent parody of Universal's classic horror filmsFrankenstein(1931) andBride of Frankenstein(1935). Filming in glorious black and white, Brooks re-created theFrankensteinlaboratory using the same equipment from the originalFrankenstein(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 titledHow 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 Frankensteinis a charmed film, nothing less than a comedy ...