Weekend Movies: Five Reasons to Watch Young Frankenstein
It always amazes me when someone says that he or she hasn’t seen Young Frankenstein. It confounds me. Seriously, what kind of childhood did you have if no one ever showed you this? You know what? Fuck it. We’re covering it. If you’ve already seen this, it’s time to bust out an old friend. If you haven’t seen this, then you need to watch it. I don’t care where you have to go to rent it. Here are five reasons to do it this weekend.
|Love ya, Mel.|
The parodies of today owe a lot to Mel Brooks. Long before it was cool to viciously mock Twilight and The Hunger Games – and some of those parodies are totally worth it, for the record – Brooks planted his tongue firmly in cheek and ripped on everything he could possibly get his hands on. The subtle digs at overt sensitivity are great because there are times when we want to tell people to stop being so goddamned sensitive. Igor (Marty Feldman) christening Frederick (Gene Wilder) “Frode-rick” in response to the snotty pronunciation of his last name? Such a great potshot. It’s really very critical without having to go far out of its way. Speaking of which…
Feldman is so fucking funny in this. He has the best lines. His deformed henchman is equally clueless, spineless and snarky. It’s like me, with a hump on my back (and if I was a dude). This character often breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. He exchanges knowing smirks with us while the rest of the cast is playing it straight. It’s a lot of fun to have one person on board who doesn’t take everything so seriously. He really is the standout in this film.
|Igor is the fucking best.|
#3 – The Blücher factor
Cloris Leachman was not very old when she played the part of stern sour puss Frau Blücher. She was also pretty foxy when she was younger. That Brooks slapped a severe bun on her and made her play the role of the aged, humorless caretaker speaks to unexpected casting. That Frau Blücher is such a source of amusement for everyone else – and I will NOT ruin this joke if you haven’t seen it – is brilliance.
Why do people give black and white films so much shit? There’s an implication that they’re old and therefore outdated. There’s a notion that something shot in black and white just isn’t worth it because it’s out of touch with today’s world. No, it’s not. The black and white in this one is pure send-up to the horror movies of the 1930s, which I steadfastly defend as pioneers of ingenuity. Again, it’s used for comedy here, as it’s a rip on the melodrama of some of the earlier horror offerings. What’s great is the moment when you take a step back and realize just how visually appealing it is. The film is actually quite beautiful if you stop and look at it.
|We miss you, Madeline.|
I am a simple, simple creature. Slapstick comedy makes me belly laugh in a way that embarrasses my children. So watching someone get slapped, or cough because of excess train exhaust, is funny beyond the point of reason with me. The simple puns and visual gags just add to it. Taking a train from New York to Germany? Giggle fit. Using a cane to walk down three little steps? Beyond funny, and also part of how Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” came to be. Now that’s a funny story if you don’t know it. But yeah, simple things – they are amazing, and plentiful here.