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Young Frankenstein (1974, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman)

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After Blazing Saddles rocketed him to fame (his first film, The Producers was a sleeper, only recognised as a classic after re-release), Mel Brooks was hot property as a director and carved a successful career out of parodying classic films and genres. Many consider Young Frankenstein to be his best.

The film was co-written by and stars GENE WILDER, one of Brooks’ regular cast, as Victor, the grandson of the monster maker (although to avoid being tarred with the same brush, he insists it is pronounced ‘Fronkensteen’). Lured back to his grandfather’s castle, he soon finds himself drawn down the same road aided by the housekeeper Frau Blucher (CLORIS LEACHMANN) and Igor (MARTY FELDMAN in stunning, eyeball rolling form).

When Frankenstein creates the monster (PETER BOYLE), it gives Brooks the chance to indulge in fun at the expense of Whale’s classic version of the film with, for example, GENE HACKMAN playing the part of the blind man the monster encounters – except here spilling hot soup over him but while everything is played for laughs, it is always with affectionate respect for the original. The film’s love interest comes from MADELINE KAHN as Elizabeth, Victor’s prim fiancee, and TERI GARR as Inga, the uninhibited peasant girl. But unlike the horror versions, Brooks provides a happy ending via a new brain for the monster, an outstanding version of Putting On The Ritz and a double wedding with the homage to Whale’s The Bride Of Frankenstein in the final shot worth the admission money alone.

production details
USA | 106 minutes | 1974

Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks

cast
Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
Peter Boyle as The Monster
Marty Feldman as Igor
Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth
Cloris Leachman as Frau Blücher
Teri Garr as Inga
Gene Hackman as Blindman
Kenneth Mars as Insp. Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kamp
Richard Haydn as Gerhard Falkstein
Oscar Beregi Jr. as Sadistic Jailor
Arthur Malet as Village Elder
Monte Landis as Gravedigger
Berry Kroeger as First Village Elder
Ian Abercrombie as Second Villager
Mel Brooks as Werewolf / Cat Hit by Dart / Victor Frankenstein (voice)
Lou Cutell as Frightened Villager
Michael Fox as Helga’s Father
Leoda Richards as Theatre Goer
Clement von Franckenstein as
Liam Dunn as Mr. Hilltop
Danny Goldman as Medical Student
Anne Beesley as Little Girl
Rusty Blitz as Gravedigger
John Madison as Villager
John Dennis as Orderly in Frankenstein’s Class
Jeff Maxwell as Medical Student
Lars Hensen as Theatre Goer
Lidia Kristen as Helga’s Mother
Johnny Marlin as Spectator
Pat O’Hara as Villager
Norbert Schiller as Emcee at Frankenstein’s Show
Rolfe Sedan as Train Conductor
Maida Severn as Train Passenger
Arthur Tovey as Member of Angry Mob

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