Starring: Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr
Director: Mel Brooks
Running Time: 105 mins
Young Frankenstein is an American film about the grandson of the brilliant, if not mad scientist, Baron von Frankenstein, who travels to his family’s home country to undertake an experiment to bring the dead back to life.
We all know that Mel Brooks is the king of the parody movie, and as far as the genre goes, Young Frankenstein is arguably the most impressive. I wouldn’t say it’s the funniest, and not my favourite, but in terms of a film that manages to provide solid entertainment, make fun of the original and still pay tribute, there are few better than this.
The reason for that is largely down to the aesthetic value of the whole film. Unlike some of his other parodies, Young Frankenstein really feels like the original movie it’s playing off of. Filmed in black and white, with old Hollywood titles, closing credits, score and special effects, the best way that this film parodies the original Frankenstein from 1931 isn’t through mockery, but through affectionate tribute.
You can tell that Brooks has got a real love for the classic genre, because of how well-crafted this whole film is. He gets some sterling performances out of Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman, which are both funny and still fit into the old-world vibe he’s going for, but what’s most impressive is the look of every scene. In conjunction with some brilliant production design, Brooks perfectly captures the essence of classic horror here, and it makes for a very good watch.
However, the reason that we watch Mel Brooks’ films is for laughs, so does Young Frankenstein work in that department as well? In my opinion, it’s not the funniest film Brooks has made. If you want side-splitting laugh-a-minute gags, go and check out Blazing Saddles, because that’s his funniest, whereas Young Frankenstein, whilst still making for good entertainment and some very good laughs, isn’t so full of non-stop hilarity and madness.
Yes, it’s got his distinct brand of comedy that we all love, but the main thing that I took away from this film was not that it was a brilliant comedy, but a good film; one with fantastic attention to detail and loving care that’s more impressive than hilarious to watch, and that’s why I’m giving Young Frankenstein a 7.4.