An appreciation by Jordan
42 years have passed since the release of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, a classic comedy that embraces all the silliness the pairing of Brooks and comedian Marty Feldman promises, while also offering an undoubtable level of care and craftsmanship. In recreating the look and feel of the beloved Universal monster classics through a quality production and superb performances from its two main men, Peter Boyle as the Monster and Gene Wilder as the young Dr Frankenstein, a film was forged that remains in the hearts of those open to its many charms, and who don’t mind a little immaturity in their rib-ticklers.
With the recent sad passing of Gene Wilder, here at Jordan & Eddie we thought it fitting to reflect on arguably his finest film, and exactly what makes it the timeless favourite it is. Here is my take on the best bits of one of the funniest movies of all time.
“Hallo. Vould you like to have a roll in ze hay? It’s fun. Roll, roll, roll in ze hay.”
I think the reason this is my favourite line is because its so unexpected! The sight of Terri Garr’s buxom damsel Inga offering for the Dr to roll backwards and forwards in the hay with her, lovingly playing off the poorly directed background action of early studio horrors, states that in no way will the following action be high brow. Inga would later shine in numerous set-ups (the secret bookcase springs to mind), but the sheer silliness of this introduction renders it her best moment.
Funniest moment #1
The Monster enjoying some soup with the blind good-Samaritan (an almost unrecognizable Gene Hackman) and the hard-to-understand Inspector Kemp failing to identify the dead body (and its lifeless arm) in Dr Frankenstein’s cart come close, but for me, being happy with the simpler pleasures in life, the funniest moment is actually a series of moments, in that whenever the harsh name of the humourless Frau Blücher is mentioned, it sends all nearby horses crazy. Sound lame? Maybe, but the execution is terrific, and only gets funnier every new time it happens.
Funniest moment #2
A full explanation from Dr Frankenstein, to his less-than-impressive servant Igor and the airheaded Inga, for how to react if the Monster reacts violently is followed by him issuing the instructions again via charades when being chocked to within an inch of his life while the two watch on. “Sedagive?!”
Young Frankenstein is one of my favourite films of all time; a comedy dedicated to its loving sendups and recurring gags, anchored by a memorable, slightly unhinged performance from an actor whose contribution to cinema will never be forgotten. All these years later, the outcome of the dream combination of writer, director and actors remains just as infectiously funny as it always has been, giving us a musical theatre performance, a commonly mispronounced name, very big knockers and brining it all together with aplomb.
Vale Gene Wilder.