One of my favorite childhood memories involves going to the local drive-in theater with my folks and siblings in our station wagon. We would watch John Wayne westerns, James Bond thrillers and other movies. I always wore my pajamas, and my mom made sure to bring my pillow and favorite blanket because she knew that I would nod-off in the back of the wagon after eating pizza, popcorn, and other drive-in goodies.
By the time 1974 rolled around, I was still going to the drive-in with my family but no longer wearing PJs. I was in middle school and it wouldn't be cool to get caught at the drive-in theater wearing my pajamas, regardless of how cute they were. One of the movies I saw that year with my family was "Young Frankenstein." I had no expectations that evening. In fact, I don't even think I knew what we were going to see. I usually went to the drive-in for the 3-Fs: food, fun, and to see my friends who were usually at the drive-in with their families. But as soon as the film started I was hooked! I'd never seen anything quite like it and I was delightfully surprised at how funny the movie was. We laughed so much throughout the entire movie but we weren't the only ones, I remember hearing people in other cars laughing loudly.
Young Frankenstein is full of comedic banter between the cast. Two of my favorite scenes involve both Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and his ever loyal assistant Igor. The first exchange occurs when the two originally meet and the doctor mispronounces his new helpmate's name as "ee-gor." The hunched-back assistant quickly corrects his new boss and says his name is pronounced "eye-gor." Surprised, Dr. Frankenstein responds that that's what he was told. To which Igor quickly quips, "Well they were wrong then, weren't they?"
The second exchange is a classic! When Dr. Frankenstein asks Igor to fetch the brain of deceased scientist Dr. Hans Delbruck, the doctor's assistant becomes a bit confused and accidentally takes a brain labeled abnormal. After the monster causes a violent scene when brought to life, Dr. Frankenstein questions his assistant about the brain, to which Igor first says it belonged to an "Abby Someone." When pressed further, Igor finally says it belonged to "Abby Normal." It didn't take the doctor long to conclude the brain he used in his monster was abnormal.
Young Frankenstein Trailer
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Extend the Fun
I loved Young Frankenstein so much that I convinced my mom to purchase a 33 1/3 RPM LP record of the movie and I listened to it over and over. I heard it so much that I memorized the lines. But no matter how many times I listened to that record, I always laughed at the punch lines.
Young Frankenstein was originally released on videocassette in 1991, DVD in 1998 and Blu-ray in 2008. I have one of each and I still laugh every time I watch this movie!
Young Frankenstein on Blu-ray
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Awards and Honors
Young Frankenstein was directed by Mel Brooks and written by both Brooks and Gene Wilder, who also starred in the leading role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. Other actors included Marty Feldman as Igor, Peter Boyle as the Monster, Teri Garr as Inga, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, and Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth (Dr. Frankenstein's fiancee).
Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder were nominated for an Academy Award for the Writing of the Adapted Screenplay but did not take home the Oscar. The film has been recognized by the American Film Institute as number 13 on their list of "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs." In 2011, fans voted in a poll of the "Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time" and Young Frankenstein came in 4th. The film was found to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the United States National Film Preservation Board in 2003 and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.
Amazon Price: $59.00 Buy Now
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Watch this "Abby-Normal" Movie at Home
If you're looking for a funny movie with an interesting story and witty writing, watch Young Frankenstein. This movie takes the original story of Frankenstein's Monster by Mary Shelley and removes the horror from the thriller by poking fun at the characters and the story. You will laugh from beginning to end as you watch the classic tale told in a slightly different way. After all, where else will you see Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster sing and dance in tuxedos and top hats on stage in front of an audience to the Irving Berlin tune "Puttin' on the Ritz?" But the best thing about watching this movie at home is that you can wear your PJs while you watch!