As I mentioned in my post on watching previously reviewed films on big screen, I recently watched Young Frankenstein for the first time. My friend over at Dellens 456 and I have been looking at the National Film Registry and deciding if the films deserve their spot. This month we selected Young Frankenstein, which was perfect timing since it was getting a big screen release by Fathom Events.
Young Frankenstein was made in 1974 and was directed and co-written by Mel Brooks. Gene Wilder had the idea to do a parody of the Universal Frankenstein movies and did the lion-share of the script but it definitely has a lot of Mel Brooks signature style as well.
In this version Gene Wilder plays the lead, a man named Frederick Frankenstein who is a brain scientist. He is embarrassed by the legacy of his Grandfather Victor Frankenstein and insists on being called Fronkenstein.
After finding out he has an inheritance in Transylvania, Frederick heads there and becomes more interested in his Grandfather’s work by the minute. He eventually creates a monster played brilliantly by Peter Boyle. A hilarious cast of characters then comes into play including Igor or “Eye-gor” played by Marty Feldman and an assistant Inga played by Teri Garr. They are all so funny. This script doesn’t settle for the easy sight gag like so many parodies do today but it goes deeper and it carries gags longer. Like there is one character who whenever they say her name the horses neigh. You think they’d eventually forget about that but no. Every time they say her name they neigh.
There is also a sense of love for these horror movies and it is not mocking in tone at all. I loved a scene where Frederick and the monster sing Putting on the Ritz before a group of scientists. It was funny but also kind of sweet.
Cloris Leachman and Madeline Kahn are also a riot in their roles. I loved the black and white cinematography and the carefully made production design and costumes. There is nothing here that feels cheap or tacky like most parodies today.
I personally have seen The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs by Mel Brooks, and I think this is much better. I laughed more and it is more carefully made.
So should it be in the National Film Registry? Yes absolutely it should!
Have you seen Young Frankenstein? What did you think?
Overall Grade- A