Film Rec: Young Frankenstein

Bonjour tout le monde! Heureux d'action de grâces! Mon ordinateur a traversé apparemment la chaîne et osé dans France pour les vacances, en passant par NJ. Remercie Verizon! Which should roughly translate to: Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! My computer has apparently crossed the channel and ventured into France for the holidays, by way of NJ. Thanks Verizon! In more important news: Chiller is playing Rocky Horror Picture Show nonstop until 10:00 tonight. Now that's getting in the holiday spirit. Film Rec: Young Frankenstein A mini theme developing for the week with Frankenstein related moments? A mere coincidence, I'm afraid. I caught this film for probably the 50th time last night and couldn't stop laughing and crying. Laughing because it's so great, crying because the musical is closing on January 4th and was never even given a fair chance by the critics. If you can afford it, give it a shot. It's fun, it's funny, and it's really true to the spirit of the film. Young Frankenstein, for those who don't know, was one of two Academy Award nominated Mel Brooks films released starring Gene Wilder in 1973, the other being Blazing Saddles. It concerns the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein being drawn into the reanimation work of his predecessor once invited to take over the family mansion in Transylvania. What's so great about the writing in a film that really is a whole lot of slapstick? Much. The genius of the film is in the manipulation of the source material. While the premise would indicate that the story is not the same, the entire structure of the story is pulled from the pages of the book and the Universal film. Take, for example, this clip: Yes, the material is broad. Every sentence is basically punctuated with a wink, a nudge, and a rim shot. Yes, much of it relies on physical presence and the quality of the performance. But what truly gets me about the film overall is how slowly these gags come about. Mel Brooks manages to build suspense towards the build up of jokes in a horror comedy, emphasis on the comedy. And not just suspense, Hitchcock suspense. In a previous scene we learned that Igor did bring home an abnormal brain, but Frankenstein does not. We know the bomb is about to go off before the characters do. Are we scared because of the suspense? No. But the payoff works in laughter the same way a traditional horror film would elicit a jump or scream. Brooks subverts the horror genre to prey on our expectations and create comedy at truly horrifying subject matter. I suggest you watch it. If not for what I wrote, than for Madeline Kahn and Cloris Leachman. And Gene Wilder. And the rest of the cast.

Labels: film rec