Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Gene Hackman, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, Liam Dunn
Written by: Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks
Directed by: Mel Brooks
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 106
Date: 12/15/1974

Young Frankenstein (1974)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Abby Normal

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Young Frankenstein is one of Mel Brooks' three great classics, after The Producers and Blazing Saddles, and it was even a twofer, coming out several months after Blazing Saddles in 1974. After this, Brooks became bogged down with parodies, and never seemed to regain the freshness and unruliness he had here.

Brooks apparently used several props (and some sets?) from James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, though several plot elements are borrowed from its sequel, Son of Frankenstein (1939). Gene Wilder gives one of his greatest performances as the mad Dr. Frawnk-en-steen who re-creates his father's experiments. Teri Garr is his love interest ("what knockers!" "Sank you Doctere!"). Peter Boyle is the monster, and Madeline Kahn is the bride. (Kahn was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Blazing Saddles.) Gene Hackman plays the old blind man (in a brilliant spoof of the scene in Bride of Frankenstein). And last but not least, Marty Feldman is Eye-gor. ("Damn your eyes!" "Too late!").

Shot in black-and-white, the movie gets everything just about right, from the mood to the pacing. Even if some of Brooks' jokes are awfully broad and silly, they still get laughs through their sheer audacity. I've seen this movie many times, and bits of dialogue are lodged in my brain forever.

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