Movie Review: Young Frankenstein (1974)

Synopsis: Ashamed of his grandfather and his family's legacy, American physician Dr. Frederick Frankenstein goes out of his way to distance himself from his grandfather's experiments. However, when he inherits his grandfather's estate and discovers his grandfather's journal, he changes his mind and successfully reanimates his own creature. However, because of a bad brain, the monster is unstable and quickly begins to terrorize the already-leery villagers.

Who's in it? The movie stars Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Kenneth Mars.

Review: The first time I remember watching this movie was when I was a little younger than my 8-year-old daughter. My mom worked nights and, while my dad was asleep in the recliner, my brother and I snuck out into the living room to watch it.

At the time, I didn't fully understand it was supposed to be a comedy and, because of that, didn't really like the movie. But, as I got older and watched it again (and again), it quickly became one of my favorite movies.

Gene Wilder (one of my favorite comedians and fellow Wisconsinite) is awesome in the title role. He pulls of the comedy brilliantly but, at the same time, plays the character in a serious enough manner to keep the movie believable (or at least as believable as a monster movie can be). He is also helped out by an outstanding supporting cast, especially Marty Feldman (as Igor), who managed to bring some laughs in scenes that otherwise might wind up being too serious.

The decision to film this movie in black-and-white is something that really makes it stand out for me too. I've seen plenty of other horror movie/monster movie spoofs over the years but this one, to date, is still the best in part because the black-and-white coloring makes it seem like an older film than it is (in other words, it looks like it was filmed at the same time as the movies it is spoofing).

My only real complaint about this movie (other than the fact many of the characters always seem to be shouting) is it doesn't give the character Inspector Kemp (Mars) enough screen time. He's an intriguing character that had the potential to be a major thorn in Dr. Frankenstein's side but seemed to be used somewhat sparingly and never reaches his full potential as a result. If they were ever to remake this movie (and I really hope they don't), I would hope the remake would remedy that.

Final Opinion: This is a fantastic comedy film with a lot of great characters and talented actors/actresses. If you have not watched this film, you are missing out on something great.

My Grade: A


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