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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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Young Frankenstein 
Abbie Normal!!!!
4/4 stars

It is difficult to determine which is funnier "Young Frankenstein" or "Blazing Saddles." Both sprang perhaps full blown from the demented brain of Mel Brooks. The two also represent the apex of his creative genius. He had already done such gems as "Your Show of Shows" and "The Producers," not to mention "Get Smart" and "The 2000 Year Old Man." Following these two masterpieces, "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," his humor began to dry up and become even trite. Perhaps fame and fortune was too much for him. He still had a little of the spark left for "Silent Movie" and "Spaceballs." Then oblivion. Too bad. We miss the old mad Mel.
"Young Frankenstein" is basically a clever spoof of the old Universal horror flicks of the 30's and 40's, in particular "The Bride of Frankenstein," which itself was somewhat of a spoof on the entire genre. Mel had the good sense to shoot it in crisp black and white using sets that resemble the sets in the originals, making the film seem all that more quaint and relevant. He also assembled his cast of idiots, the funniest buffoons on the planet earth at the time, or is it Mars? Who can forget Madeline Kahn's first sexual encounter with the monster? Kahn, who has to be one of the greatest comediennes in screen history, calls Frankenstein's monster by her pet name for him, "Zipper Neck." Once consummated Kahn lets out one of the wildest soprano screeches ever heard, "Ah! Sweet mystery of life at last I've found you." Gene Wilder is the only actor capable of playing Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (that's Frankensteen) with a flippancy so exaggerated that it comes off comical. Igor (that's I-Gor), the deformed dwarf who is in hump denial, is played in a grotesquely burlesque manner that is both repulsive and humorous by that crazy man Marty Feldman. Cloris Leachman is so creepy she would make any horse whinny and who wouldn't want a tumble in the hay with Teri Garr? So much as been written about the marvelous scene with the blind man played by the consummate actor Gene Hackman that one need only say, don't miss it. It is an outrageous parody of a similar scene in "The Bride of Frankenstein," where the blind hermit is portrayed by O.P. Heggie. Then there's the monster, given a caricature interpretation by Peter Boyle. While not as ghoulish as Boris Karloff (who is?), he is just right for the comic touches required for the part. If for some unknown reason you haven't seen "Young Frankenstein" yet, by all means rent it on DVD or watch it on TV. You'll laugh till you're sore. This is one of those rare films that can stand repeat viewings and remain fresh and alive.


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