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April 02, 2009

Young Frankenstein (Classic Film Pick)

POSTER - YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Mel Brooks caught comic lightning in a bottle in 1974 with his appropriately black-and-white spoof of James Whale's 1931 classic horror film. Brooks was on a tear with his hugely popular film "Blazing Saddles" when he unleashed the innuendo-laced "Young Frankenstein" on unsuspecting audiences who found themselves with stomach aches from sustained fits of laughter.

Gene Wilder brilliantly plays the semi-mad college lecturer Frederick Frankenstein who insists on the proper pronunciation of his name as "Fronkenschteen." As the grandson of the more famous mad scientist, Wilder's zany doctor inherits his family's Transylvanian estate where he travels to. He is soon inspired to pick up with his grandfather's failed experiments of creating life from parts of corpses.

Frankenstein's comely blonde lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr) distracts the doctor from his soon-visiting fiancé Elizabeth (hilariously played by Madeline Kahn). With the help of the very funny Marty Feldman as Igor (pronounced Eyegor), Wilder's goofball character makes a Frankenstein monster of his very own.

Peter Boyle fill's the creature's clunky dancing shoes — yes there's a song-and-dance-sequence that you will never forget. Cloris Leachman strikes many a funny chord as Frau Blucher, whose name excites horses whenever it's mentioned.

As part of his homage, Brooks used many of the actual props created by Kenneth Strickfaden from James Whale's original film to give "Young Frankenstein" an atmosphere of reverent delight beneath its bawdy puns and outrageous physical humor. "Young Frankenstein" remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time.


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