#2 Young Frankenstein

ImageYoung Frankenstein

Year: 1974

Director: Mel Brooks

Screenplay: Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder

This is a story about a guy, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the great-grandson of the Baron Victor Von Frankenstein (a supposedly mad scientist who wanted to revive dead tissue cells and caused great aversion amongst Transylvania villagers), who is about to finish his work. Baron Frankenstein didn’t finish his “masterpiece” in life, so his mistress, Frau Blücher, arranges everything for Frederick, without realizing it, have the will to finish the work. Note that Frederick Frankenstein refuses to be associated with his family name, he wants to be known for “his own contributions to science”, not those of his crazy ancestor. He even has nightmares about it! As the film progresses he slowly accepts his “mad genius” and wants the experiment to be successful, as he realizes it could be possible to revive dead cells and that would be a great discovery! So he, Igor, his servant, and Inga, his beautiful assistant, manage to do just so with an enormous dead body, to whom they call “The Creature”. Well, something goes wrong, the Creature escapes, there’s a riot along the way, Frederick’s fiancee comes visit him in Transylvania while he’s falling for Inga and you’ll see a lot of puns, Mel Brooks’ style.

There are a few scenes I want to talk about though (spoiler alert!).

The first is when Frederick locks himself in a room and tries to calm dow the Creature. This is a scene where he treats the Creature as a son (although one might think he does it because he has no means to escape the room, so he turns to another way of not being killed perhaps). But he believes the only way to save the Creature (from the anger of the villagers) is with love, he wants to tell him he is good and beautiful and loved. That’s touching, the Creature is (supposedly) hideous and dangerous, and the only way he finds to treat him is with love. Isn’t that the way everyone should be treated? Even the bad guys? Especially the bad guys? If one doe not receive love, how is one gonna know how to give it back? And so he goes and teaches him many things…

…to show to a public audience. And this makes me a bit sad. The Creature is shown to an audience as if he were a freak (well, he was, but it made me sad because I though he was just a big sweet giant who’s only afraid of fire). During the act, a lamp crashes and because he’s afraid of fire, he panics. The audience goes wild and despite Frederick’s warnings not to humiliate the Creature, everything goes wrong. In this scene we can see how Frederick gets mad about the Creature’s reaction… So does he love him or not? Is it the love for his creation, his experiment, or is it the love for his “son”?

I think we cannot say for sure, but in the end Frederick makes the ultimate sacrifice for the Creature: he submits himself to an experiment to switch his brain with the Creature’s in order for him to behave normally and get rid of the people’s rage once and for all. And everyone is happy in the end. Its all very quick in the end actually. The people don’t even question what happened, they just accept the fact that the Creature is now a normal man and no longer a danger. But that’s good everything turned out fine I guess.

One thing I notice in Mel Brook’s movies is that they are very simple in the way there isn’t any malice on them. Sure, he does some dark humor jokes, but they are very funny without being too explicit or too rude. And people end up happy!

So basically, it’s a good movie, with a nice and touching story, funny scenes and old fashioned special effects! Not every movies have to have a morale in the end, and as I begun to write this article, I thought there were not much to say about it, but as I went on, I realized love is the answer. At least for this story. As Gene Wild said in an interview, nowadays films have way too much curse and swearing and explicitness that isn’t always necessary.

There are many events along the movie I didn’t mention here, mostly (very) funny moments, since I wanted to debate my thoughts  about the scenes that made me think beyond the screen. Nevertheless, I must say I love Brook’s puns in every movie!

So, what do you think about it?