Starring: Gene Wilder; Terri Garr; Marty Feldman; Peter Boyle
Director: Mel Brooks
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
With the wild success of The Producers, which first burst on to the screen in 1968 winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay, then more recently morphed into the riotous Tony Award winning stage musical before being remade as a Golden Globe nominated movie last year, Twentieth Century Fox are further saturating the market with the release of the vast back catalogue of its creator; the ever prolific writer/director Mel Brooks. One of the many highlights of his body of work is the kooky spoof, Young Frankenstein, a marvellously monstrous, black and white creation that pays homage to the original 1931 Frankenstein movie while mercilessly sending it up.
Shot in the very same castle used in James Whale’s classic and using the actual laboratory designed for that film, Brook’s version sees Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s grandson Frederick (Gene Wilder) succumb to the destiny he so vigorously tried to avoid and return to Transylvania to complete his ancestor’s experiments. Assisted by a hubba hubba sexy blond called Inga (Teri Garr) and the creepy hunchback Igor (Marty Feldman), whose hunch keeps shifting from one side of his back to the other, our increasingly crazed neurosurgeon embarks on his experiment to reanimate dead tissue. Grave-robbing, brain stealing and lightning conducting all culminate in a tap dancing sequence that sees Frankenstein and his monster perform the most bizarre rendition of ‘Putting on the Ritz’ you’re ever likely to clap eyes on.
Like ‘Springtime for Hitler’ before it, this musical number serves to catapult the entire film into another comic dimension altogether. As does a scene where the monster seduces Frankenstein’s seemingly frigid fiancée to the point where she bursts into song with ‘Sweet Mystery of Life’. This fleeting ode to America’s Singing Sweethearts, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, is so outrageously funny that it almost eclipses everything that’s gone before it. The film was nominated for two Oscars; Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound, the latter a nod to the high voltage, frenzied sound track that even includes the voice of Colin Clive, the original Dr. Frankenstein. Worth tuning in to for these precious moments alone.