A young neurosurgeon inherits the castle of his grandfather, the famous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. In the castle he finds a funny hunchback called Igor, a pretty lab assistant named Inga and the old housekeeper, frau Blucher -iiiiihhh!-. Young Frankenstein believes that the work of his grandfather is only crap, but when he discovers the book where the mad doctor described his reanimation experiment, he suddenly changes his mind...
Directed by: Mel Brooks
. Starring: Gene Wilder
, Peter Boyle
, Marty Feldman
, Madeline Kahn
, Cloris Leachman
, Teri Garr
, Kenneth Mars
, Richard Haydn
, Liam Dunn
, Danny Goldman
, Oscar Beregi Jr.
, Arthur Malet
, Richard A. Roth
. Music by: John Morris
"Young Frankenstein" isn't just funny, it's a masterpiece that transcends every standard of comedy with such brilliance and grace that calling it a parody or a spoof is almost insulting.
After watching "Young Frankenstein", I discovered that it was only nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Sound and Best Original Screenplay (co-written with Mel Brooks from Gene Wilder's original draft). Had the movie been nominated for other awards, it wouldn't have surprised me: the photography is top notch and perfectly renders the feeling of old 30's horror classics, the black and white cinematography perfectly conveys the haunting shadowy atmosphere of the original "Frankenstein", the score is perfect for the story, Mel Brooks' directing never seemed so tactful and professional and I can think of any of the main cast deserving a nod for the acting. I guess that the film being released the same year than "Chinatown" or "The Godfather Part II" didn't help; Mel Brooks wasn't the only one at the top of his game.
But let's get back to "Young Frankenstein". Besides being an undeniable technical achievement, the film is an excellent comedy that contains some of the most hilarious lines and moments in cinematic history and certainly the greatest comedic cast ever (thunders' sound effects to emphasize). Indeed, each actor, each actress occupies the screen with a unique magnetism, starting by Gene Wilder, the one with whom it all started. As Wilder said, he wondered how he would act if he was the descendant of the infamous Baron Viktor von Frankenstein, the answer couldn't have been more intelligent and hilarious. The Professor is so ashamed of his affiliation that he wants his name to be pronounced 'Fron-kon-steene', but this attitude reflects an interesting contradiction as he finally realizes he can't escape his destiny and must go to Transylvania to accomplish the same miracle than his glorious ancestor. After a decent start, Mel Brooks 'elevates' the film.
The doctor meets a wonderful gallery of colorful characters, the voluptuous assistant Inga, played by Teri Garr, in a knock-out performance, Cloris Leachman as the frightening Frau Blücher whose any mention of her name never ceases to make the horses rear in fright, and there is Fronkonsteen's fiancée, in a role that could have been secondary if it wasn't for Madeline Kahn's extraordinary scene-stealing ability. The film also features Kenneth Mars barely recognizable in his policeman's disguise, and an even less recognizable performance by Gene Hackman as a well-mannered blind man (I can't believe I missed it during the first viewing). But in all cinematic objectivity, the film's greatness relies on two pillar performances, and I'll start with the most memorable one.
First, there's Marty Fedlman's role as Igor (pronounced eye-gor) as the hunchback and butler of the Transylvanian mansion. Igor's character inspired what would remain for me the greatest character's introduction in any comedy, with this sudden and unforgettable close-up on his smile and incredibly bulged eyes. To appreciate the comical talent of Feldman requires both a voracious appetite and a gourmet's delicacy. His comical genius can take you totally off- guard when his face shows up from nowhere, or when he ad-libs a scene -I won't say which but it's so hysterical that even Gene Wilder looks like he's totally losing it- OR you just have to pay attention to his mimics, his reactions when a gag is already over, and realize that Igor himself, is a punchline within a punchline. The "What hump?" moment is pure comedic gold.
The other pillar is of course Peter Boyle as the Creature, monster is too cruel a word to even be used on this gentle giant with high-pitched screams and touching hobby of catching imaginary butterflies in the air. Boyle beautifully incarnates the syndrome of the misunderstood monster and the spirit of Mary Shelley's novel. And this epitomizes the merit and the force of "Young Frankenstein": each actor and actresses doesn't play a character, but reinvent a role with such an intensity that the film stands alone as a classic. Of course, it has all the elements of the "Frankenstein" series, but you don't need to be a fan to appreciate Mel Brooks' film on its own. It's not just a masterpiece of stylish copy, it's a masterpiece as a story, as an ambiance, as an ensemble cast performance, as a comedy where visual and written comedy works in perfect harmony (the farewell in the train station scene is a perfect demonstration)
I often blamed "Blazing Saddles" for being too broad on the parody-thing, and to let the movie evolve to an extreme where the humor ceased to be enjoyable story-wise and overused the whole meta-referential jokes, almost insisting upon itself until a throw-away climax. "Young Frankenstein" doesn't evoke itself; it doesn't try to imitate but succeeds in duplicating an atmosphere to provide a whole other reaction from the audience. And the adaptation is so original that it can be regarded as one of the greatest 'Frankenstein' films, any genre combined, and Peter Boyle's performance has nothing to envy on Boris Karloff, it's simply ... magical and it contributes to one of the highlights of the film.
Indeed, if you wanted a last proof that "Young Frankenstein" is an original classic, forever rooted in cinematic memories, just start singing this: "If you're blue and you don't know where to go to why don't you go where fashion sits..." any movie expert would say "Puttin' in the Ritz" referring to some Fred Astaire dance routine, but a true movie lover would immediately reply "PUDDIN' ON A RHEEEEEEZ" in a high-pitched voice. The movie features one of the most hilarious musical duets ever that would make even the most abnormal brain laugh.
And if only for that piece of hilarity, Mel Brooks's masterpiece "Young Frankenstein" deserves to its place as one of the funniest films ever, it's raunchy, outrageous, irreverent, poetic, sensitive, inventive and as would shout the Creature: "OOPAH DOOPAH".
Review by ElMaruecan82 from the Internet Movie Database.