Wrapping up the month of October is the film that is Halloween tradition in my home. It may come as a surprise to many that this movie, a comedy, is among my favorite films ever. I do generally dislike most modern comedies and even most of the comedy that was popular a I was growing up. I require my comedy to have actual wit, elegant puns and actors who know how to deliver with perfect timing. For that, I will take you to the year 1974.
Obviously this was before I was born, but at the same time I consider this perhaps the best year in comedy cinema. It is also Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder’s best year. Why? This was the year both Blazing Saddles AND Young Frankenstein were released. These perhaps are the best comedies I have ever seen, I will always watch them and no matter how many times I see them, I laugh. It’s a rare thing to truly make me laugh and these films do it. You aren’t reading this to figure out what makes me laugh, you want to know about the review for Young Frankenstein.
Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, then directed by Mel Brooks. It not only understands what makes good fun, but also appreciates the source material. They acquired the sets from the original Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein to use in the movie. They take appropriately comedic references to the originals that add to the film and give acknowledgement to the source without taking away from either. The entirety of the film is played straight with the exception of one character who gives a wink and a nod to the audience. It was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing – Screenplay Adapted from other material. An Oscar nomination, for a comedy! (It technically has two nods, one for Best Sound as well). It’s worth mentioning that a budget of around $3 million turned an $86 million US box office take.
The writing and classic Brooks directing aside, to get it right you need acting. For that we have Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Terri Garr. There’s even a cameo by Gene Hackman. Everyone turns out a performance that’s just incredible with perfect timing, expression, body language and delivery. As awesome as they all are, special acknowledgement should be given to Marty Feldman. He was taken from us too soon, but his talents are preserved here. If I were making a Deadpool movie back in 1974, I would have cast Feldman. His ability to break the fourth wall seamlessly and use his expressive eyes to their fullest is on full display.
I could go on and on about this movie for a long time, but I want to end the month of reviews on a high note and get you to the TL;DR –
See this movie. Period. No ifs. No ands. No buts. See this movie.
That’s it folks, hope you’ve enjoyed the month of reviews. I will be doing some of the new releases this month as they come out, may even through a special review in here or there. I have some plans for December as well, more on that later.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading.
This is Jessica Darke, last surviving member of the Nostromo signing out.