Frankenstein" on DVD
Mel Brooks' Monster
20th Century Fox video
has done an excellent job of adapting this "monster hit," one
of Mel Brooks' best offerings, to the DVD medium, with lots of extra stuff
Despite the liner's
claim that "Young Frankenstein" is "the funniest comedy
of all time," however, Brooks' 1974 black and white classic doesn't
seem as funny today as it did on its original release. That said, however,
it's still a relative hoot - full of the type of performances, lines and
gags one expects from Mel Brooks. And that, at worst, translates to an
enjoyable couple of hours in the home theater.
Gene Wilder, who conceived
the project and co-wrote the screenplay, stars as the grandson of the
infamous monster creator Dr. Frankenstein. He inherits the not-so-good
doctor's estate and, almost by osmosis, falls under the spell of his grandfather's
life work and finally reproduces his studies into the reanimation of dead
Not that the reanimation
of the dead matter...
Peter Boyle plays
the monster with a sympathetic touch reminiscent of Karloff's original
portrayal - yet not without its share of yuks. Teri Garr, as Wilder's
lab assistant, Marty Feldman as the hunchback Igor, and Cloris Leachman
as - well, the "mysterious housekeeper" all turn in fine comedic
performances - mostly by playing things straight. Madeline Kahn is also
along for the ride as Wilder's finance Elizabeth - not a major role, but
she makes her presence felt.
We seem to remember
laughing at this movie a lot more when it was newer, but that didn't prevent
us from enjoying the special edition DVD. Overall, Brooks, along with
his cast and crew, have done a good job at sending up a classic movie
genre (which seems to be that for which Brooks movies are most well known),
not only via the performances and screenplay but through cinematography,
music, sets, etc.
Besides the widescreen
movie, which has monaural sound (but directed to the main front speakers),
you get plenty of extras to sweeten the deal. There's a separate audio
track on which director Brooks prattles on in his inimitable style about
the movie, the production, and the people in it. It gives some nifty insight
into how this man's mind works.
There's also a "making
of documentary" that contains as many genuine belly laughs as the
movie itself, a series of productions stills, Mexican TV interviews (you
have to see them!), TV commercials and theatrical trailers - and
a set of deleted scenes. Oh, yeah, there's also a short series of outtakes,
most of which - perhaps not surprisingly - end with various cast members
breaking up on camera.
Audio and video quality
are great - and the black and white images are razor sharp.
from 20th Century Fox Home Video
1062 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Mono
Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and
Produced by Michael Gruskoff, Screen Story and Screenplay by Gene Wilder
and Mel Brooks
Directed by Mel Brooks
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