Young Frankenstein (1974)

About halfway through “Young Frankenstein,” I decided to shut it off because I was finding it boring and long-winded. It was only a few days later that I realized I wasn’t into it because I was expecting a man-falls-down-funny-type of comedy, and this was actually much more sophisticated than that… even though it wasn’t exactly Masterpiece Theatre. So when I started it over, ready to watch it on its own terms, I was absolutely entranced by it: In terms of structure, plot and narrative development, this could easily be an additional “Frankenstein” sequel by Universal, beginning with the absolutely glorious sets lovingly recreated to match the Universal blueprint, and the stunning black and white cinematography that roots the movie in an uncertain historical period. Additionally, the cast is simply extraordinary: Gene Wilder is a marvel of down-low charisma and sex appeal throughout, while Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman and Peter Boyle do extraordinary work in striking supporting roles, but the movie belongs to Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn. As Igor and Elizabeth, respectively, they both seem to be having the time of their lives playing their characters, and that ebullient excitement is downright infectious. So, given its age and the fact that it was created by a bunch of old straight men, of course there’s some rapey humor that’s tiresome and off-putting, but I’ll admit it’s easy to overlook it when everything else around it works so well.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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