Young Frankenstein tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced Frank-en-steen) as he journeys to his infamous grandfather’s Transylvanian estate and connects with the work that cast a shadow over the familial legacy: the re-animation of the dead.
Of course, this being a Mel Brooks film, it is absolutely chuck-full of hijinks, gags, one-liners, and other hilarity. Even in black and white the film is so captivating and hilarious that after a little while, you don’t even notice anymore. Gene Wilder is at peak form, and this has to be my second favorite performance, considering few roles could ever outdo his iconic Willy Wonka. Still, he is incredible as Dr. Frankenstein, who makes a monster of his own (played by the beloved late Peter Boyle) with hilariously disastrous results.
Still I would say not only the scene-stealer, but the film-stealer has to be Marty Feldman’s Igor (pronounced eye-gor). Literally every joke is one-the-nose hilarious and he is absolutely the star of this film. Madeline Kahn is beautiful and hilarious as Wilder’s companion and they work off each other remarkably well. Still every reaction and every joke made by Feldman made this movie perfect for me.
In true Brooks fashion the comedy is edgy for 1974, and yet utterly clever. This movie takes on the horror genre just as effectively as Blazing Saddles (which I previously reviewed by the way) took on the Western genre. It takes biting satire and applies it to an entire sub-series of film and it does so incredibly well. The dry, satirical approach that came to define Brooks’ career is at it’s peak here, which explains why he always said this one was his favorite.
Long Live Gene Wilder. Long Live Peter Boyle. Long Live Marty Feldman. And Gene Hackman is still alive, but he’s fantastic in this as well, so Long Live Hackman too.
Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10