Halloween Review – “Young Frankenstein”

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.

Halloween Countdown to date

16 replies on “Halloween Review – “Young Frankenstein””

  1. Timeshredder says:

    German for glue

    The horses neigh because in old movies, something dramatic always happens to accompany foreboding pronouncements: a clap of thunder, or sinister music. The “glue” reference appears to be an Urban Legend.

  2. Damien says:

    Told you you’d like it!
    See, I said you’d like it! :-)

    “My name is Doctor Fronkensteeeeen!”

    Damien

  3. Gaewyn says:

    Good movie!
    A lot of people don’t know that it was shot in the same castle and with the props from the original (1931) Frankenstein movie. Does lend a wonderful air to the movie.

    This is by far one of my all time favorite movies so :}

    Blucher!

    • dkichline says:

      Re: Good movie!

      A lot of people don’t know that it was shot in the same castle and with the props from the original (1931) Frankenstein movie. Does lend a wonderful air to the movie.

      This is by far one of my all time favorite movies so :}

      Blucher!

      neigh

  4. white.roses says:

    Floor Broker
    Back in high school, I had a friend who wanted to work on Wall Street as a floor broker. Well, that sounded sufficiently like our lovely frau, so every time she mentioned it, we’d all whinny.

    She didn’t get it.

  5. jbrecken says:

    similar
    If you liked this movie, you’d probably like “Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother.”

    • dlpasco says:

      Re: similar

      If you liked this movie, you’d probably like “Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter
      Brother.”

      That’s “SHEER..LUCK!”

  6. nidx says:

    the best line!
    Elizabeth : Oh. Where you going?… Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh… I think I love him.

    • white.roses says:

      Re: the best line!

      Elizabeth : Oh. Where you going?… Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh… I think I love him.

      That’s the best long line. The best short line was a little earlier: Woof!

      • Timeshredder says:

        Damn your eyes!

        Feldman: Too late!

        German words for glue aside, I like the fact that this film has some real affection for the old Universal movies, shown by such things as gathering the original lab equipment. Most of his other parodies are a collection of jokes of various quality placed in a loose parody of a genre. I know other people prefer Blazing Saddles, but I think this is his masterpiece.

  7. mbourgon says:

    Make SURE to check out the commentary track
    The DVD includes a full-on Mel Brooks commentary track. It starts at the opening credits and ends at the very end, with nary a break. It’s really hilarious.

  8. Damien says:

    Glue??
    Ok, my brain mustn’t be working, but what’s the joke about glue?

    Damien

    • Captain_Avatar says:

      Re: Glue??

      Ok, my brain mustn’t be working, but what’s the joke about glue?

      Damien

      Supposedly they made glue from horse bones. Hence the reason the horses get upset at the word “glue/blucher”.

      • dkichline says:

        Re: Glue??

        Supposedly they made glue from horse bones. Hence the reason the horses get upset at the word “glue/blucher”.

        neigh

        • Timeshredder says:

          Re: Glue??

          Follow the link in my first post or the first link in my second post for an explanation of what people (erroneously) believed the blucher joke to be.

          • dlpasco says:

            Re: Glue??

            Follow the link in my first post or the first link in my second post for an
            explanation of what people (erroneously) believed the blucher joke
            to be.

            *Neigh*

            Victor: “Igor, help me with these bags”

            Igor: “Okay, you take the blonde and I’ll take the one in the turban!”

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