After seeing Blazing Saddles last week I thought I would venture into Young Frankenstein, which has 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’d seen a part of this on SyFy a few years ago, but had to leave before it was over. Since that initial viewing I have watched the original film Frankenstein with my daughter so I was able to get more of the references.
Fredrick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), who is the grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein, travels to his family’s home country and discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. With the help of Inga (Teri Garr) and Igor (Marty Feldman), Fredrick will attempt to recreate his grandfather’s experiment. The film is written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks and directed by Brooks so it is, of course, a satire.
The film is definitely funny and features some great moments, but my favorite has to be the musical performance with the monster (Peter Boyle). Putting on the Ritz has never sounded better than Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle’s rendition. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, but that was definitely the one where I was probably annoying my wife in the other room.
I believe I’ve heard some stories about Gene Wilder and that he’s not a good person. However, on screen he has so much charisma. I grew up watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and was a fan of his from that, but the more I see with him in it the more I enjoy his onscreen presence. He brings the film to life and even the most ridiculous moments seem hilarious with his delivery of them.
It’s not correct, but from my perspective a lot of the jokes seem like they’ve been done before. They have of course, but this movie was likely the motivation for them. Thus, the bad isn’t the jokes its that I didn’t see this film early enough. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t take away my enjoyment of the film at all, but it does give some perspective. How influential can a parody film be? The answer is very influential if it’s well written and well performed.
I am glad that I’m working my way through the Mel Brooks collection. I’ve always loved satires and parody (I do own many of the Weird Al albums) so it makes sense for me to go to one of the masters. I give Young Frankenstein an 8 out of 10 abnormal brains.