Young Frankenstein - 1974

Young Frankenstein - Released Dec 15, 1974. Directed by Mel Brooks

Classic Universal monster movies collide with Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, and though the film is a comedy, it's also an affectionate homage to the 1930s Frankenstein films, with emphasis on borrowed plot from the Basil Rathbone Son of Frankenstein.

In Young Frankenstein, Gene Wilder plays Frederick Frankenstein, an "other" son of the famous doctor, and member of an expansive family. If you're keeping count: "Henry" (Colin Clive) is in the original 1931 Frankenstein, "Baron Wolf von Frankenstein" (Basil) is in the 1939 Son of Frankenstein, "Ludwig Frankenstein" (Cedric Hardwicke) is in the 1942 Ghost of Frankenstein, and not exactly a son, there's also Ilona Massey as a daughter "Baroness Elsa Frankenstein" in the 1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman.

For Young Frankenstein, the story consists of the building of the monster, his running loose about the countryside, and then pacifying the angry villagers. The plot is identical to any number of the original Frankenstein movies, but the implausibilities of the science and the goofiness of the Gothic setting get roundly satirized by Wilder and Brooks.

Mel Brooks has said he had to fight to get the film made in black and white, and this meant studios eager to work with the team that made Blazing Saddles suddenly went cold when Brooks refused color (Brooks has also said that Gene Wilder's original idea for Young Frankenstein was discussed while making Blazing Saddles, and that Wilder and Brooks began the script on the set of that film).

This lack of color in Young Frankenstein keeps the film so closely imitative of the original 1930s films, that aside from the haircuts and humor style, Young Frankenstein would likely pass as belonging to the era it is parodying to the average moviegoer, something that is rarely accomplished in Hollywood where art directors tend to over-recreate when making historically accurate stories from the 20th century, an epoch where there is already a wealth of filmed material showing us what that time frame "really" looked like.

Another aspect of Young Frankenstein is that so many of the original 1930's films were made by recently naturalized Jews coming from Europe, and they informed the Frankenstein, Dracula, etc., films with an aura of heavy old world Gothicism, Young Frankenstein is a perfect offspring in that Brooks and Wilder's Jewish-tinged humor is a natural relation to the original, and not just in the parodying of the stories. Another direct relation is that James Whale's Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein were both marinated in Whale's English sense of humor, and the UK born Marty Feldman (as "Igor") provides much of the same for Young Frankenstein.

Original Page October 2017

You will see Amazon links on this web site because I am an Amazon affiliate. I earn from qualifying purchases.

Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon Hardcover

Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon - 512 Pages

"A dazzling portrait of an incredible woman. Elizabeth's life was more captivating than any film could ever be."— Demi Moore

"Brower’s book takes the reader into the private world of the most famous celebrity of the 20th century. Elizabeth’s heart, mind, and passion come vividly alive on each page. We see her as a woman who struggled and ultimately survived to rewrite the playbook on celebrity and power. I never wanted it to end!" — Brooke Shields

"Brower is quickly becoming a brand-name Washington writer because of her ability to deliver juicy tidbits and insider information while steering her books toward a mainstream audience without sacrificing historical credibility." — Christian Science Monitor on TEAM OF FIVE

Amazon Link to pre-order Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon Hardcover

Audio Book version - Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon

[This is an affiliate Amazon link which may provide a commission earned for this site. If that happens, we'll probably buy an old movie on Blu Ray with the proceeds.]

What's Recent