Sunday 11.25pm – 1.05am, BBC2
While the film itself may be 45 years old, this comedy film directed by Mel Brooks still brings the laughs to new audiences. The wacky and loopy mix of horror film cliches is stated to be one of Brook’s best ever films, in addition to being acclaimed as being the horror genres most successful and thorough parodies. The film is produced and filmed in black and white and shot on sets where the original 1931 Frankenstein film was made. Brook’s also used the 1930’s style of opening credits and scene transitions such as wipes, fades to black and iris outs, an extremely rare set up in the 1970’s. A period score by composer John Morris also features to give that pre-war experience. The film itself was written by Brooks and Gene Wilder, who devised the film whilst having a coffee when the two of them were shooting Blazing Saddles.
Such is the success of the film it is rated No.13 on the American Film Institute’s list of ‘100 Funniest American Movies’, No.28 on Total Film’s ‘List of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time’ and No.56 on Bravo TV’s ‘100 Funniest Movies’. The United States National Film Preservation Board deemed the film ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’, determining the film be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. It also won Academy Award and Golden Globe awards for cast members.
The film follows Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), a lecturing physician at the American Medical School, as he learns of the death of his Great Grandfather, the Baron Beaufort of Frankenstein. Frederick is informed he has inherited the family estate in Transylvania but he is horrified of his grandfather Victor Frankenstein’s antics in creating a monster. As he reluctantly travels to Transylvania he meets assistant, Inga (Teri Garr) and bug-eyed servant Igor (Marty Feldman). As Frederick learns of his families past he finds his grandfather’s hidden journals in a secret room and learning of his grandfather’s obsessions with resurrection of the dead, he decides to create his own monster. With Igor’s help Frederick creates his monster (Peter Boyle) with some very unintended consequences down the line. The monster meets some interesting characters, including a blind man (Gene Hackman) and Frederick’s fiancee Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn).
This is an excellent film that young and old alike will find themselves roaring with laughter to.
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