Mel Brooks on the 40th Anniversary of his "greatest film," Young Frankenstein


#1

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#2

I saw Peter Boyle on a talk show a couple decades later, saying he could remember every line of his from that movie.

Rrrrrrraaaarrrrr!


#3

With all due respect to Mr. Brooks — “second” greatest film. Young Frankenstein is a technical tour de force and very amusing, but Blazing Saddles was, is, and will forever be the funniest movie ever made.


#4

Pryor wrote the bulk of the good jokes in it.


#5

You didn’t read the linked article. Brooks is quoted as saying that Blazing Saddles was his funniest movie followed by The Producers but Young Frankenstein was his all around best movie.


#6

He actually says that in the article:
“‘Young Frankenstein,’” he said, is “by far the best movie I ever made.
Not the funniest — ‘Blazing Saddles’ was the funniest, and hot on its
heels would be ‘The Producers.’ But as a writer-director, it is by far
my finest.”

It’s one of my all-time favourite films. Gene Hackman as the hermit; Marty Feldman’s eternal “Walk THIS way”; “PUTTIN ON THE RITZ!”; it’s all good. Don’t get me wrong, I love Blazing Saddles too, but Young Frankenstein fits together better as a movie. I feel that the last act of Blazing Saddles, much like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, just descends into too much incoherent silliness.


#7

‘Puttin on the ritz’ made me actually roll on the floor laughing.


#8

I remember going to see it. Unfortunately for it, they also showed a UK short black-and white film called ‘Cry Wolf’, which was a take-off of the werewolf films. There are quite a few films with this name, but this is the one…

The review said it was ‘not funny’. It sodding was and no returns. But more importantly the camerawork, the composition, and everything was perfect for the genre. Put next to it ‘Young Frankenstein’ looked like a colour film on a black and white TV. I later found that the cinematography on “Cry Wolf” was so good because Robert Krasker - who got the Oscar for “The Third Man”- came out of retirement to do this.

However, lasting kudos to “Young Frankenstein” for the completely deadpan delivery when the train comes to Transylvania…

Gene: “Pardon me, boy, is this the Transylvania Station?”
Boy: “Track twenty-nine” (a beat) “Can I give you a shine?”
(Gene looks briefly puzzled)


#9

There is a long, frequently entertaining interview from 1975 (albeit originally from Playboy, a fact that affects some of its content) that was featured on Longform.org a year or so ago, something short of 20,000 words of Mel Brooks reminiscing about his upbringing and the path of his career and his romantic life, talking about Blazing Saddles, and selling his upcoming film Young Frankenstein.


#10

We have something to say about your idea of what the funniest movie ever is:

Prepare to see the violence inherent in the system!


#11

I read it. I just phrased my comment sloppily. To me “funniest” = “best.” Assembling James Whale’s original props and capturing the action under the correct light on the right film stock is great, but achieves a lesser effect than putting a bunch of guys around a fake fire on a dark soundstage and having them burp and fart with abandon.


#12

Okay. But Brooks got them out the door through revision, casting, blocking and editing.

@thaumatechnicia: Thou art all good men and true, but thy tale hast diminished in these later years by hordes of nerds quoting ye ad nauseum, as if they twert the first to think of thus.


#13

It doesn’t have Marty Feldman in it though, and Silent Movie does.


#14

Young Frankenstein is so much funnier than Blazing Saddles., I mean it isn’t even close. Young Frankenstein is clever and witty and holds up to multiple viewing. Blazing Saddles is mildly humorous the first time through.


#15

It’s hard to believe there was any dispute about the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” number. Honestly, it’s such a wonderfully hilarious but also so emotionally touching. Actually I think it’s the depth of characterization that makes the film so wonderful.


#16

I saw this a few months ago, and it didn’t seem as funny as I remembered it being, but then it dawned on me that indeed it is the behaviors, not so much the gags, that made this film so funny, and those behaviors, the comic timing, the expressions, were so thoroughly absorbed into the culture that they now make up a subset of what is normal (but still funny) human behavior. So we watch this and see people behaving in what were then radically quirky ways but are now part of the cultural behavioral grab bag that’s available to all of us. Sure, there are a million Monty Python lines that everyone (on boingboing) can repeat, but for a film to get so deep into us that it becomes woven into comic timing and expression in everyday life is profound. Kudos Mr. Brooks and genius crew!


#17

I have to think Brooks is lying about that, would Mel Brooks really refuse to put a joke in a movie because it would be silly!? C’mon.


#18

“Werewolf”
“There, wolf. There, castle.”
“Why are you talking like that?”
"I thought you wanted to. "
“No. I don’t”
“Suit yourself, I’m easy.”

This is honestly my life’s philosophy.


#19

(BTW, my favorite comes shortly after your quote - “Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Igor, help me with the bags. Igor: Soitenly. You take the blonde, I’ll take the one in the turban.”


#20

Precisely. I remember an interview with Gene Wilder where he went into detail about the timing of delivery. Recalling one of the lines from the movie, he made it a point to tap his watch for the interviewer: “Tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic…‘What hump?’”
In the same interview, he talked about how Brooks taught him how many drafts you should do, according to which level of refinement you’re on.