96. Young Frankenstein

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Movie: Young Frankenstein

Release Date: December 15, 1974

Director: Mel Brooks

Starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Madeline Kahn.

Tag Lines: “Come Early… Get a Seat!”

“The scariest comedy of all time!”

Relevance: There are certain movies I could tell you exactly when, where, why and how I first saw them. Then there are movies like ‘Young Frankenstein’ that seem to have been a part of my life since birth, or in this case three years old. The only thing I specifically remember about this movie is how it made both my father and me laugh uncontrollably and the joy it brought to the both of us.

I definitely know that by the time 1983 rolled around I had seen the film at least once, although possibly more. Dutch musician Taco released a pop-synth version of Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ On the Ritz” which was also featured in the Mel Brooks’ film. Taco’s song was a top five hit on the Billboard charts in the United States and got quite a bit of radio airplay and video play on MTV. Every time I heard it, I sang “Puttin’ On the Ritz” a la The Monster. It made me laugh. It also amused by father.

“What hump?” “Abby Normal brain.” “There wolf. There castle.” These are the silliest of quotes that would always bring my dad to tears when he would hear them. And that always made me laugh harder at them. That’s what I remember most about watching ‘Young Frankenstein.’ Whether I saw it in the 1970’s or the 1980’s, or whether it was on regular television or HBO or whether it was a rental from Blockbuster is insignificant. The fact that it was one of the funniest movies I had ever watched was really all that mattered. That, coupled with the fact that it was one of the movies I could connect to with my dad made it priceless.

As I got older, the movie was one that I revisited numerous times and it never, ever got old. I have said it numerous times before, funny is funny. And ‘Young Frankenstein’ is funny. The characters in the film and the actors that portrayed them are perfectly ridiculous. This has to be one of the greatest ensembles of comedic performers in one film and one of the funniest spoofs ever. It is such a humorous script. Thank you Mr. Wilder and Mr. Brooks. I watched this movie with my college friends all of the time. I can’t tell you how many late night study breaks involved watching this movie and all of the laughs that it generated.

‘Young Frankenstein’ marks the fourth and final film directed by Mel Brooks (check out 272. Spaceballs, 206. Blazzing Saddles and 205. History of the World Part 1 for the others) to appear on my list of most influential movies of all time. It is obviously my favorite film that he created and I consider it to be a classic comedic masterpiece. It was recognized by the National Film Registry in 2003 deeming it culturally, historically and aesthetically significant and I couldn’t agree more.

Today’s Thoughts: “Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you! At last, I know the secret of it all!”

‘Young Frankenstein’ is not a film I own on DVD but one that will be as soon as I finish writing this blog post. Amazon, here I come. The film is definitely a must own and I was surprised I didn’t already have it as part of my movie collection.

As I watched the movie on a streaming service today, the laughs were as spontaneous and hearty as I remember them being as a kid. Although my dad wasn’t here watching it with me, I could still hear him laughing at his favorite character Igor, as portrayed by Marty Feldman, as if he were. Like I said, funny is funny and the screenplay and performances are hysterically brilliant. There are so many iconic scenes and quotable lines in the film. This movie has always been one of the most quoted films by both me and my friends and that doesn’t change the older it gets.

‘Young Frankenstein’ is a classic spoof, one that has influenced many others of its kind and even spawned a Broadway musical. As entertaining as they are, there is nothing quite like the original. Thank you Mr. Brooks for your contributions to cinema and art. More importantly, thank you for the laughs.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks (nomination), Academy Award for Best Sound, Richard Portman, Gene S. Cantamessa (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Cloris Leachman (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, Madeline Kahn (nomination), National Film Registry (2003), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, Madeline Kahn (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.

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