Young Frankenstein (1974)

young frankenstein poster 1974 movie mel brooks
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast works together perfectly

If you don't like Mel Brooks, you might not like it

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Young Frankenstein

Studio:  Gruskoff/Venture Films/Crossbow Productions/Jouer Limited

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 15, 1974

MPAA Rating:  PG

young frankenstein teri garr gene wilder peter boyle marty feldman

Will a monster ever find peace…and laughs?

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) has tried to distance himself from his famous relative, but when he learns of his inheritance and the possibility of succeeding where his grandfather failed, Frederick leaves behind his fiancée Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) and travels to Transylvania to reclaim his birthright.  Teamed with his assistants Igor (Marty Feldman) and Inga (Teri Garr), Frederick learns from his father’s house keeper Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman) about his grandfather’s past.  Frederick has his own experiment…and a new Monster (Peter Boyle) could be born!

Directed by Mel Brooks (who wrote it with Gene Wilder), Young Frankenstein is a black-and-white comedy.  The film is an homage to Universal horror movies and is an adaptation of both Frankenstein (1931) and the original Mary Shelley 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.  The film was well received upon its release and received Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.  It was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2003.

young frankenstein puttin on the ritz gene wilder peter boyle

I think Boris Karloff should have done a dance number

Young Frankenstein I think was my first Mel Brooks film and remains my favorite.  It might not have the innovation and distinction of some of his other works from the period, but it is pitch perfect and fun…and like other Mel Brooks movies, it can be watched over and over.

The story is both a continuation and a remake of Frankenstein.  The basic story is simple, but it is Brooks’ jokes woven into the rather classic story.  The jokes are both smart and often juvenile but how they are used ends up creating smart jokes and gags that enhance the story instead of making a complete joke of the classic movie.  It is a really weird balance that Brooks manages to nail in this one.

Like the script, the cast is perfect.  Gene Wilder brings a manic performance to Frederick FrankenSTEEN and seems to be having a lot of fun.  Terri Garr was originally cast as the fiancée Elizabeth, but I can’t imagine either Garr or Kahn in opposite roles since they both nailed them.  Marty Feldman is always fun as the bug-eyed Igor (and his hump).  Cloris Leachman is great as Frau Blücher (insert your own horse noise), and Peter Boyle creates a Frankenstein Monster that is as good as Karloff’s classic (and completely different).  Gene Hackman also appears as a scene stealer as the blind man.

young frankenstein bride of frankenstein madeline kahn hair

Here I come, big boy!

The decision to make the movie as visually close to the old Universal Monster films makes the movie feel like kin to the old Universal Pictures.  Brooks even uses the original film’s laboratory set for the film (he tracked down the movie’s original designer Ken Strickfaden who still had it…giving him credit for it in the film).  The look is contrasted with scenes like the classic “Puttin’ on the Ritz” who shows the absurdity of the situation.

Young Frankenstein is a Mel Brooks movie for those who might not even be the biggest Mel Brooks fans.  It enhances a classic (so the original and The Bride of Frankenstein are recommended viewing before this, but other films in the series are also referenced).  It is also a good choice for a “funny” Halloween movie that can mix up some horror viewings.  Don’t miss out on a classic!

Related Links:

Frankenstein (1931)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

House of Frankenstein (1944)

House of Dracula (1945)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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