Young Frankenstein (1974) A-
Mel Brooks followed his hit Western “Blazing Saddles” with the far superior “Young Frankenstein,” an effective parody of the 1930s Universal horror movies.
Arguably his most satisfying and most fully realized feature, “Young Frankenstein” shows artistic evolution from the episodic and anachronistic Western spoof, “Young Frankenstein.”
The gifted comedian Gene Wilder, who’s credited as co-writer of the funny scenario, plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, a scientist determined to live down his family’s reputation; among other eccentricities, he insists on pronouncing his name “Fronckensteen” and has no interest in replicating his grandfather’s experiments.
However, when he is lured by Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman) to discover the tantalizingly titled journal “How I Did It” in his grandfather’s castle, he cannot resist the temptation.
With the help of voluptuous Inga (Teri Garr), wall-eyed assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), and a purloined brain, Frankenstein creates his monster (Peter Boyle). Igor, however, stole the wrong brain, and the monster tears off into the countryside, encountering a little girl and a blind hermit (Gene Hackman).
Frankenstein finds the monster and trains him to do a little “Puttin’ On the Ritz” soft-shoe, but the monster escapes again, this time seducing Frankenstein’s uptight fiancée Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) with his well-endowed penis.
With his love life and experiment in shambles, Frankenstein finally finds a way to create the being he had planned.
The acting of the entire ensemble is superb, especially Peter Boyle as the naively charming monster, Marty Feldman as the hunchbacked Igor, Cloris Leachman as the hatchet-faced housekeeper, Teri Garr as the ditzy villager, and Kenneth Mars as the chief of police.
Shooting in black-and-white, with sets and props from the 1930s and evocative period music by John Morris, Brooks’ attitude towards the Hollywood past attracted a large audience, turning it into one of the most popular releases of 1974.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Screenplay (Adapted): Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks
Sound: Richard Portman and Gene Cantamessa
Oscar Awards: None
The winners of the Screenplay Oscar were Coppola and Mario Puzo for “The Godfather, Part II.”
The disaster movie “Ëarthquake” won the Sound Oscar.
MPAA Rating: PG.
Running time: 108 Minutes.
Directed by:Mel Brooks.
Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks
December 15, 1974.
DVD: November 3, 1998
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