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Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks's hilarious satire of Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein. The grandson of Dr. Frankenstein receives his grandfather's will. The young doctor travels to Transylvania where he is greeted by his hunchback assitant Igor (Marty Feldman), and curvaceous partner (Teri Garr). He comes across step by step instructions for reanimating a dead body, creates a monster, faulted only by the fact he received a defective brain, that just wants to be loved.

A notable film for so many reasons...

Of course, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher (Whinny!) and Madeline Kahn are hilarious, and an almost unrecognizable Gene Hackman appears as the blind hermit. And Peter Boyle, portraying the Monster, delivers one of the funniest performances in the movie, simultaneously menacing, pitiful, and exasperated by all the idiots he has to put up with.

The laboratory set is the same one which appeared in Universal's original "Frankenstein" film from the 1930s.

This film also includes the greatest performance of "Puttin' on the Ritz" ever.

And lest we forget... "That's Frahnk-en-shteen!"

As far as I'm concerned, it's Mel Brooks' best movie. Yes, better than "Blazing Saddles", though not by much. Both films display Brooks' love for those classic films of yesteryear, but I've always felt that Brooks put more passion into "Young Frankenstein". The moment when Frederick finally embraces his heritage ("My name... is FRANKENSTEIN!") isn't exactly a funny scene, but it ranks up there with some of the best cinematic moments in history. I prefer to watch this one right after I've watched "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein"--I think it's fun to follow the classics up with Brooks' artful and loving deconstruction.

Last night we rented Young Frankenstein so that my daughter (14) could see it, after hearing so much about it. She got a good laugh or two in the beginning, but as it got deeper into the movie, the laughs were fewer and fewer. Then there were none; even when the Gene Hackman scene came along. And that's the funniest part of the whole movie, as far as I'm concerned.

The same thing happened with Dr. Strangelove. Also with Blazing Saddles. There's a couple of other examples I can't think of right now.

So, what's the point? It seems clear to me that we have raised an entire generation of kids who are addicted to non-stop amusement when they partake of entertainment. The subtle humor (and who would have ever thought that Young Frankenstein would have fit THAT category?) is just not happening quickly enough to keep them interested. It's not that they aren't bright (brighter than us, probably), but the rapid pace of everything that appeals to them now ruins everything that came before.

So, what's the problem? What's wrong with that? Well, it seems to me that the problem is this: It leads to entertainment having to reach further and further into the gutter in order to amuse. The further ones goes to push the envelope in fields such as comedy, the raunchier it seems to become. The only things that will capture and keep their attention will be belches, farts, loose stools, etc.

Or, maybe it just wasn't a funny movie after all. I claim not to know any more.

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