Let’s take a look at a truly classic interpretation of Mary Shelley’s timeless story – Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.

Production Info

Gene Wilder …. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
Peter Boyle …. The Monster
Marty Feldman …. Igor
Madeline Kahn …. Elizabeth
Cloris Leachman …. Frau Blucher
Teri Garr …. Inga

Complete info available from imdb.com

The DVD release can be found at Amazon.com

Premise

A young not-so-mad scientist, grandson of Victor Frankenstein, inherits the legacy of his family – and pays the price. Hilarity ensues.
I was exposed to this movie only a few years ago. I don’t have the sentimental attachment my parents or in-laws have to it, and I don’t have the love of it as a cherished memory of my young geekness. I’m a newcomer, with a perspective that most other people don’t have – and with that perspective I can say without bias that this is one of the funniest movies ever made.
An excellent performance from Gene Wilder (someone I’m not normally all that thrilled with) as young Frederick Frankenstein coupled with Marty Feldman’s inspired Igor (“that’s ‘eye-gore'”) would make this an amazing comedy by themselves. Throw in a liberal helping
of Teri Garr as eye candy with real acting talent and the always enjoyable Madeline Kahn, and I just don’t know what to do with myself. For those of you expecting a typical Mel Brooks movie, don’t be fooled – Mel Brooks’ name was on the picture primarily to give it a box-office boost. His contributions to the film itself (while noticeable) are mere flavor in the overall humor that actually seems to come from the characters, rather than despite them. (I *do* like Mel Brooks’ movies. This is just better than those have any right to be)

If you were sitting on the fence about seeing this one, get down off that fence. What are you doing sitting on fences? Go see this movie!

High Point

Marty Feldman. Absolutely. He steals every scene he’s in.

Low Point

This is extraordinarily difficult to choose – for once, not because I have too many but because I have too few. I think I’ll have to go with the fact that for the first three times I saw the movie, I didn’t realize that “blucher” is german for “glue”. Kind of ruins the joke.

The Scores

The originality of this picture is remarkably high – it’s not a retelling of Frankenstein with a comedic twist – it’s an extension of the story, able to go its own direction however it chooses. And boy does it. 5 out of 6.

The effects in this movie aren’t very good – but that’s intentional. It’s a black and white movie by conceit, not by necessity, and all the effects reflect that (I don’t mean to say that black and white films have bad effects, but rather that they made the effects to match what would have been done when movies of this type were being made. They hit the mark they were aiming for dead-on). With that in mind, the effects are quite good. I give them a 5 out of 6

The story could have been neglected – it is, after all, a comedy based around one-off gags – but it wasn’t. Gene Wilder made the story important to the gags – and a lot of the gags integral to the story. Definitely a 5 out of 6.

The acting is, on the whole, excellent. I can’t come up with anything more intelligent to say on the matter, so I’m going to let it rest and give it a 5 out of 6.

The emotional response, being that of laughter, is incredible. The first time I saw it I laughed until my sides hurt. I still laugh every time I see it. My mother – who never laughs out loud at movies – tells me about how hard she laughed at the “walk this way” gag the first time she saw it. It gets a 6 out of 6.

Production was amazing. The set design and camera work were all intended to replicate the production of black and white and silent movies – and did exactly that.
6 out of 6.

Overall, this really does rank up there in my top 5 movies of all time (I know, because I had to list them for my last job interview) for a reason. I have to give this a 6 of 6 as well (I got the job).

In total, Young Frankenstein gets 38 out of 42.

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