ould you take over the work of an insane, reviled scientist - even if he was your grandfather?
This is the dilemna facing the young Dr Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) who is so aware of his family legacy he insists on being called "Dr Fronkensteen". Imagine his surprise when after a particularly unsuccessful class at the university he lectures at, he hears that he has inherited his grandfather's estate, including his castle in Transylvania. He doesn't want to accept, but to get the money, he needs to travel there and tie up all loose ends.
When he arrives at the railway station, he is met by two of the locals - Igor (Marty Feldman in an inspired role) and Inga (a very young and playful Teri Garr). Igor immediately gets into the swing of things ("Actually, it's pronounced eye-gor") and they set off back to the castle, traditionally sited on top of an imposing mountain. When they get there, they meet the other resident, Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman), the mere mention of whose name send the horses into a wild panic (this becomes a running gag through the entire movie)
Now Dr Frankenstein has no real intention of starting up his grandfather's experiments again, but the lure of the castle proves irresistable, and he's very soon sending Igor out on shopping trips to collect bodies and brains. The trouble is, Igor drops the one he is meant to get (some genius professor) so picks up another one, which was marked up at the Brain Repository (where else?) as Abnormal.
This time round, the experiments work well, and soon the Monster (Peter Boyle) is up and about, causing mayhem in the village. Soon, Frankenstein has to cope with problems all around: The Monster, the villagers, led by the one-armed Police Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars), Frau Blucher being a little too attentive for comfort, and the shock when his fiancee Elizabeth (Madeleine Kahn) arrives and puts the dampers on his attraction to Inga.
Who will get to the Doctor first (and where will his demented experiments take him?)
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By: Paul Shrimpton
Young Frankenstein is a classic of its time. Many people within the industry use this as a benchmark for spoof comedy horror. These days they get a little too graphic, or a little too crazy, or somehow miss the mark in a hundred different ways. Not so here. Mel Brooks has captured this genre in the same way that "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" caught the film noir gangster movies - hitting the nail on the head every single time.
Wilder is brilliant, and his scenes with the superbly underplayed Feldman are magical to watch. The three female leads (Leachman, Garr and Khan) offer excellent support to the main players, and together they weave a tapestry that you just have to stand back and admire. Peter Boyle has maybe the least to do, but he generates empathy and feeling from the word go. And if you want to see a demented police officer of the highest calibre, look no further than Kenneth Mars. He's the icing on a superb cake.
The film was shot in the same castle and with the same props and lab equipment as the original Frankenstein movie, shot in 1931.
When Dr Frankenstein finds his grandfather's private library, he finds a book titled "How I Did It." This is actually a joke for those people who have read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In the book, Frankenstein, Shelley never reveals how the Doctor reanimated dead flesh. The screenwriter obviously knew this and inserts the "How I Did It" book as a joke.
When Dr. Frankenstein descends the stairs into the basement of the castle there is a gargoyle on the wall made to look like director Mel Brooks.
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|Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, Notes, OutTakes|
|Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, Notes, OutTakes|
1. Main Title from "Young Frankenstein"
2. That's Fron-Kon-Steen!
3. Train to Transylvania/The Doctor Meets Igor
4. Frau Blucher
5. Grandfather's Private Library
6. It's Alive!
7. He Was My Boyfriend
8. My Name Is Frankenstein!
9. Introduction/Puttin' on the Ritz
10. Riot Is an Ugly Thing
11. He's Broken Loose!
12. Monster Talks
13. Wedding Night/End Title
14. Theme from "Young Frankenstein"
Soundtrack Available: Used On CD
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