Young Frankenstein (1974)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder and Teri Garr in Young Frankenstein (1974)

Gene Science

Maybe it's because there is so much praise for Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" that having finally got around to watching it I was a little disappointed. Oh it is one funny movie and it is a cleverly done spoof of "Frankenstein" with some subtle and not so subtle humour but it just didn't fill me with the laughs I was expecting after so much praise. But never mind as whilst still entertaining 1974 also saw Mel Brooks give us "Blazing Saddles" and the less than subtle and often crude humour in that makes me laugh more.

So back to "Young Frankenstein" and thanks to Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder we have this spoof which sees Dr. Frankenstein's grandson Frederick inheriting the castle and despite thinking his ancestor was a crackpot who dishonoured the family name finds himself drawn into trying to reanimate a dead man. Oh there is more to it than just that and basically we have a classic monster storyline as Frederick tries to show off his creation, the monster goes wild, a young woman tames him and the public want him dead.

Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein (1974)

Now the thing about "Young Frankenstein" is that whilst funny it seems so subtle or at least subtle in comparison to other Mel Brooks movies. So much of the humour comes from a look or the way something is said and it is so different to "Blazing Saddles" it almost feels like it was made by a completely director. Add to this some in-jokes when it comes to Frankenstein, stuff which I can guarantee will go over your head if you have not watched the original horror movie and then some slapstick. It is all good fun especially when it comes to a musical number which is unforgettable but for me it didn't have me in the fits of laughter I was expecting.

Despite not being as funny as I hoped "Young Frankenstein" is full of brilliant performances none more so than from Gene Wilder as Frederick. Watching this it makes you realise that Wilder was the master of making things funny purely by his voicing and so many of the jokes which work are thanks to the way he says things. But then that means plenty of the visual humour comes from elsewhere and Marty Feldman with his bulging eyes is great as Igor as is Teri Garr as Inga. But for me the best performance comes from Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth as her seductive phrasing and over the top mannerisms are hilarious, none more so when she meets the Monster.

What this all boils down to is that for me "Young Frankenstein" is fun but not as great as some make it out to be. It is far more subtle than I was expecting and almost feels like it is made for those who are fans of the original "Frankenstein" rather than for fans of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.


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