Anthony's Film Review
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks's take on a classic horror story may not be hilarious, but it excels on plot...
Comic filmmaker Mel Brooks sure knows how to make people laugh through satirical works of cinematic art. Early in his career, he had done so by creating the TV spy spoof series Get Smart in 1965 and writing, as well as directing, the comic gem known as The Producers in 1968. Soon, Brooks found another source of inspiration and laughs: Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, which was adapted into several Hollywood productions. There's certainly promise in Mel Brooks coming up with his own version of the story.
Interestingly, the title character is not Victor Frankenstein as a young individual but rather Frederick Frankenstein, the doctor's grandson, played by Gene Wilder. This young Frankenstein is so embarrassed about being connected to the mad scientist ("My grandfather's work was doodoo!") that he insists his surname be pronounced "Fronk-en-steen." Rather than spending time doing scientific experiments, he is instead teaching about the nervous system to a medical school class. Nothing to do with reanimating corpses. Just a nice talk about bodily reflexes.
But Frederick cannot break family ties. He ends up inheriting his grandfather's castle in Transylvania. Frederick journeys all the way to the castle where he meets a couple of interesting characters. One is Cloris Leachman as a servant named Frau Blucher, whose name scares the horses. Another is Marty Feldman as a hunchback servant named Igor, who insists on being called "Eye-gor." Then there is Teri Garr as a lab assistant named Inga, who is first seen rolling in some hay. Frederick does find her attractive despite being engaged to a woman named Elizabeth, played by Madeline Kahn.
If you know the story of Frankenstein, you can guess what happens from here. Frederick brings a dead man back to life. This monster, played by Peter Boyle, escapes into a nearby village. There are a few other things that Mel Brooks himself conceived, like a dance number with Frederick and the monster. With the exception of a scene involving the monster, a blind man, and hot soup, the jokes overall barely produced a chuckle for me. I did smile a few times at least, such as with the gag involving Igor's hump frequently changing sides.
Young Frankenstein, despite being labeled a comedy, is OK as a funny movie in my opinion. Maybe the gags will be funnier to others, which is fine because everyone's sense of humor is different. On the other hand, I though the story was presented well. Therefore, if you're not sure if this movie will make you laugh, at least be assured the plot will maintain your interest. Because Mel Brooks knows how to tell a story, funny or otherwise.
For more information about Young Frankenstein, visit the Internet Movie Database.