Gene Wilder was at the top of his game in Young Frankenstein, a clever send-up of the Frankenstein movies by funnyman Mel Brooks. Wilder plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein — pronounced “Fron-kun-steen” — a respected lecturer at an American medical school who does whatever it takes to distance himself from his infamous grandfather. He inherits his grandfather’s castle in Transylvania, where he is assisted by an old housekeeper, Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman), servant Igor (wild-eyed Marty Feldman), and a sexy lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr). Slowly, he is sucked into his grandfather’s quest to re-animate the dead (the monster is played Peter Boyle). He even uses the same lab equipment created for the original Frankenstein movie in 1931. Brooks shot his 1974 box-office hit in black and white to evoke the period. Young Frankenstein recently was ranked as the No. 13 movie comedy of all time on the AFI List of 100 Years – 100 Laughs.
Tonight’s program opens with the original Frankenstein, the 1931 horror classic adapted from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel about a brilliant scientist who assembles a human being from the organs of cadavers and suffers the consequences of “playing God.” Along with Dracula, it hit paydirt for Universal Pictures and began a 15-year period of horror classics that were the lifeblood of the struggling studio. In a wordless role, Boris Karloff gives a remarkably sympathetic performance, one of the most chilling in all of film (he recreated the role in two equally frightening sequels). Long-censored footage, restored in 1987, enhances the impact of several key scenes. It is as terrifying today as it was 89 years ago. The original “mad lab” equipment by Kenneth Strickfadden was taken out of storage and used (in glorious black and white) by Mel Brooks in his loving 1974 homage, Young Frankenstein, which we’ll show immediately after.Buy Tickets Online