a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Young Frankenstein (1974), starring Gene Wilder, Terri Garr, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman and Marty Feldman.
Per IMDb: “An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.”
Dr. Frederick Frahnk-in-steen (Wilder), trying to shake his grandfather’s ill-fated legacy, is a professor of medicine at an American university. He denounces the ability to revive dead cells and says his grandfather was a demented and sick man. A man shows up with the will of his great-grandfather that grants Freddy his entire Transylvanian estate, castle and all. He has to leave his annoying socialite fiance named Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) who can’t kiss him, shake his hand or anything else goodbye, as she’s going to some uppity yuppy party after he gets on the train. Then oddly enough, he gets on a train to New York and when he changes trains he’s on a train to Transylvania.
He’s met by Marty Feldman’s Igor – pronounced Eye-gore – at the station who has a remarkable hump on his back that he seems to not notice. He takes him to a hay cart to drive Freddy to the castle. He meets Inga (Garr), his hired lab assistant. Arriving at the castle they meet the very scary Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman) who, at the mere mention of her name sends the horses into a frenzy. Freddy wants to know where the secret library is and Frau Blücher says she knows nothing about that. He and Inga stumble into it a little later and that sets Freddy into a mode to improve his great-grandfather’s work.
They find a large man who was freshly hung. And Freddy sends Igor to get the brain of a genius. Well, something happens and Igor has to, instead, get an abnormal brain. That makes the creation a bit erratic and mostly uncontrollable. Do they get the monster under control? Does he wreak havoc on the town? You’ll have to watch to find out.
To me, this is the second funniest of the Mel Brooks films (after Blazing Saddles). It was co-written by both Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. Wilder has a strange and “wilder” look the entire film like he’s about to lose it at any time. The fact that the film is shot in black and white creates a darker, drearier feel and adds to the ambiance. It’s a wild parody of classic horror films with Brooks’ good friends chipping in. Cloris Leachman is a hilarious witchy woman with a chip on her shoulder the entire time. Peter Boyle who plays the monster breaks the fourth wall a few times and it’s always very funny. Gene Hackman plays the old blind man who the monster encounters in the night. Mel Brooks, oddly enough only appears in makeup and as off-screen voices. He’s usually in the films more prominently.
Peter Boyle who plays the monster breaks the fourth wall a few times and it’s always very funny. Gene Hackman plays the old blind man who the monster encounters in the night. Mel Brooks, oddly enough only appears in makeup and as off-screen voices. He’s usually in the films more prominently. Turns out that most of the jokes were improvised, including Leachman’s “varm milk” and Ovaltine bit, as well as Feldman’s “hump.”
Rotten Tomatoes has it rated 93% Fresh with an Audience Score of 92%. Well deserved. IMDb has it at 8 stars out of 10. We watched it as part of the Mel Brooks collection that I have and 3B laughed throughout most of it. It is available on Netflix, however, so if you’ve not seen it, see it there. I rate it 4.5 stars out of 5. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…”
“For what we are about to see next, we must enter quietly into the realm of genius.” – Dr. Frederick Frankenstein