In a new feature here on “Random thoughts of 210Darryl” on Wednesdays I’m going to stray away from my normal posts about books and for the next few weeks I’m going to talk about my favorite movies in a few different genres. Making these lists took more work that I thought they would because limiting it to five in each category took some doing. I figured 10 was too many, so down to five I cut my lists. We’ll start unveiling my top five favorite comedy movies, and at #5 we have Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein.
Brooks released two movies in 1974, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein (not a bad year, eh?). As a kid Blazing Saddles was definitely my favorite of the two mostly because of the campfire scene with all the cowboys eating beans and farting. Not exactly intellectual humor, but to a young boy you couldn’t do anything funnier. As I’ve gotten older it’s been Young Frankenstein that’s become my favorite of the two. It’s one of the few films that I’ve seen multiple times where still laugh out loud at many of the scenes.
It’s not just a movie filled with one-liners. Granted it has a ton of them, but how Brooks puts everything together, including making it in black and white, just makes for a great film. Just sitting here writing this I can hear Peter Boyle, as “the Monster”, singing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in my mind and I’m chuckling. The “Abby Normal” brain scene with Marty Feldman and Gene Wilder is classic comedy. The running gag of every time Frau Blucher’s (played by Cloris Leachman) name getting mentioned causing the horses to whinny is incredibly funny. It’s hard to keep a running gag funny throughout a film, but this one works.
In one of the many things the actors ad-libbed was Igor’s hump moving from side to side, and no one noticed for days. It wasn’t until the actors saw it that it was even mentioned and written into the script. Feldman’s line “What hump?” was also ad-libbed. Gene Hackman has a small uncredited part in the movie where he plays a blind man, and just after his famous scene with the monster he ad-libbed the line “I was gonna make espresso”. The crew was laughing so hard Brooks had to cut the scene short so as not hear them laughing.
In several point in the film you can see Wilder trying not to laugh. It’s actually hard for me to think of a part of Young Frankenstein where I don’t want to laugh, and that’s why it makes my top five.
Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Michael Gruskoff
Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks
Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, and Madeline Kahn
Music by John Morris
Cinematography by Gerald Hirschfeld
Edited by John C. Howard
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date December 15, 1974
Running time 105 minutes
Budget $2.78 million
Box office $86,273,333