Thought it’d be a good time to revisit this, following the sad news of Gene Wilder’s death.
On the face of it, Young Frankenstein is a simple parody of big old studio horror films, but as soon as the film starts rolling it immediately becomes clear that it’s more homage than satire.
The set design, the music and even the film stock used have all been carefully pored over by Brooks and Wilder, with the end result being a loving tribute to old Hollywood rather than a scathing mockery. There are no cheap shots here, and this is probably what makes this film a timeless classic compared to some of its peers.
Aside from the film-stealing cabaret sequence, the humour is surprisingly low-key. The biggest laughs come from the simplest of glances, the quick one-liners and the subtle detail. It’s all about actors reacting to each other, rather than hamming it up.
Brooks once again displays his flair for directing comedy. I particularly love the way he handles bawdy jokes, like an uncle telling you stuff you shouldn’t be hearing. Even the most ardent PC Nazis can’t help but laugh.
A one-of-a-kind masterpiece to be enjoyed for many years to come.