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Young Frankenstein (1974) – Mel Brooks countdown #3

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Concept: A funny sequel to the Universal 1930s version of Frankenstein

Dr Gene Wilder is the grandson of the infamous mad scientist of the Frankenstein family. He is not proud of this, to the point of insisting that his name is pronounced 'Fron-kon-steen', but when he inherits the family castle, he goes off to Transylvania where the lure of attempting to recreate the work of reanimating dead tissue proves too strong.

What's good: The script by Wilder (who had the idea of doing the story of the grandson wanting nothing to do with the family) and Brooks is wonderful.

The leading cast is also very good, especially Wilder, but also Marty Feldman as Igor, Peter Boyle as the Monster, Teri Garr as the assistant Inga, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blücher, Madeline Kahn as Wilder's girlfriend Elizabeth and Kenneth Mars as the local police inspector.

What's not so good: You won't realise just how good this is unless you've seen the original and there's not enough of Madeline Kahn, but that's about it.

Music: Another wonderful score by John Morris.

Miscellany: Lots of the props were originally made for the 1930s films.

Apparently, there was an argument between Wilder and Brooks about including the most memorable scene – the song – but fortunately Wilder won and it stayed in.

The title and main phrase for Aerosmith's 'Walk This Way' comes from the band having seen the film and liked one of Feldman's lines.

Overall: The most loving of the Brooks spoofs, this also has the fewest low points in any of his films. Partly, that's because they were deleted before release, but the script that remains is fabulous, working both as a story and a spoof. A bit(e) like Dracula…, except much better.

You can get an idea of how good Brooks used to be by the way that, great as this is, it's still only the second best film he made that year.

TL;DR Most directors have never made a film as good, never mind as funny, as this.

Film: 4.5/5
DVD: 4/5

On the one I have, there are some rightly deleted scenes – the reading of the Frankenstein will goes on for seven far too long minutes, but has two good jokes – a commentary from Brooks, a 'making of', etc.

Written by Ian

November 15th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Cinema,Countdown,DVDs

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