peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 11 29 YoungFrankenstein

Young Frankenstein (1974)

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Mel Brooks completism. This is the highest rated of his features on IMDB. In black-and-white, of course, being set in the present day but strip mining all the Frankenstein myths and portrayals. Gene Wilder lead and co-wrote with Brooks. As the grandson of Shelley's doctor he's at maximum panto, even more than he was in The Producers. (I preferred his knowing and less amped performance in the far more daring Blazing Saddles of the same year.) Marty Feldman was iconic as Igor: his physical comedy and mugging for the camera are often the funniest things on the screen. Peter Boyle played the monster (most famously played by Boris Karloff) in a style that is recognisable from his later performance in Hardcore. He has a very amusing scene with a young girl at a well. Gene Hackman as a blind man! Cloris Leachman, still a middle-aged vamp three years on from The Last Picture Show. Kenneth Mars, the F├╝hrer-loving playwright in The Producers, equipped with a mechanical arm lifted straight from Peter Seller's Dr Strangelove. Teri Garr as Swedish entertainment, a favoured Brooks trope.

It took me a few goes to get through as the setup is a bit slow. Brooks seemed to be deeply invested in the idea that Madeline Kahn was foxy. Oscar noms for the adapted screenplay and sound.

Roger Ebert: four stars. Vincent Canby. The elbow-rubbing goodbye was ahead of its time.