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Monday, February 9, 2015

Young Frankenstein (1974)

The grandson (Gene Wilder) of the notorious Baron von Frankenstein travels to Transylvania after inheriting his grandfather's estate upon his death. He has been trying to play down his reputation as the grandson of the "mad" scientist but upon his arrival at the family castle, he can't resist the urge to continue his grandfather's experiments ... including creating life from death. Mel Brooks' zany parody of the classic B&W James Whale horror films is also a genuinely affectionate homage to the genre. There was always a bit of wit in the Whale horrors but Brooks goes for the kid in us (think ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN) rather than the intellect. Of course, it helps if one is familiar with the films that Brooks is referencing but even if one isn't, the laughs are still there. The comedic timing of the film's cast is impeccable as one would expect from such expert farceurs like Wilder and Madeline Kahn, who plays his teasing fiancee. But even Peter Boyle, who plays the monster, and Gene Hackman show razor sharp comedic timing. The contributions of Gerald Hirschfeld's crisp B&W lensing and John Morris' intentionally derivative underscore can't be underestimated. With Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Kenneth Mars and Richard Haydn.

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