Blog #10- Young Frankenstein (1974)
The film. Young Frankenstein was released in 1974. The director of the film is Mel Brooks, and screen story and screen play writers are Gene Wilder, who plays the character role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, and Mel Brooks. The stars of the film include Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, and Cloris Leachman. The film was based on the novel Frankenstein, which was written by Mary Shelley. The film was predominantly in black and white, which was an important factor because during this time black and white was not as popular as films done in color. This illustrates the purpose of Brooks having this film in black and white is because it reflects the atmosphere of the earlier films. The film genre is comedy.
The film begins with Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (played by Gene Wilder), who is a physician lecturer at an American medical school (06:00). He was engaged to Elizabeth (played by Madeline Kahn). Frederick becomes overly uncomfortable and angry when someone brings up his grandfather, the mad scientist, especially during his class (10:40). (11:29)A legal representative informed Frederick, during his class, that he has inherited his family’s estate after his great grandfather’s, Baron Beauvort Von Frankenstein’s, death. Frederick then traveled to Europe to look at the property. (15:00) He meets Igor (played by Marty Feldman), at the Transylvania train station, where he then meets a young personal assistant, Inga (played by Teri Garr). They traveled in a carriage to arrive at the estate, where they met Frau Blucher (played by Cloris Leachman). Frau Blucher was the housekeeper. Her name was significant because every time her name was said, they horses would react and “Nay” (20:10). Although his family legacy bought shame, Frederick began to become very intrigued about his grandfather’s work, especially after Inga led him to the discovery of Frankenstein’s laboratory (31:25). After reading his grandfather’s journals, Frederick decided to continue his grandfather’s experiments in re-animating the dead.
Frederick and Igor rob the grave of a criminal who was recently executed (39:09). They plan to put in a deceased scientist’s brain, Hans Delbruck’s, as a transplant for the criminal, but instead, Igor took an “Abnormal” brain and does not tell Frederick that it’s the incorrect brain (40:36). The townspeople do not support the idea of Frederick continuing Frankenstein’s work; Inspector Kemp is most concerned about this idea (54:06). The criminal becomes a creature who is brought to life by the electrical charges; however, as soon as Igor confesses to Frederick that it was the wrong brain, everyone goes into panic mode. Frederick sees that Frau Blucher is setting the creature free and she then divulged that the creature loves the violin music and that she had a romantic relationship with Frederick’s grandfather (01:03:08). With all the commotion, the creature escapes from Frankenstein’s castle.
The creature comes by a young girl (01:04:47) and a blind man when walking around. (01:12:53) Frederick recaptures the creature and locks the two of them in a room to calm him down. Frederick and the creature launch into a musical number (01:20:58). The routine ends terribly because a stage light explodes and frightens the monster (01:23:07). He was captured and chained by the police. The creature escaped and kidnapped Elizabeth, who arrived unexpectedly for a visit (01:32:22). Elizabeth ends up falling in love with the creature. The townspeople hunt for the monster. Frederick plays the violin to lure the creature back into the castle because the creature loves the violin sound. Frederick transfers some of his intellect into the creature so he is able to reason with Kemp’s mob. With a happy ending, Elizabeth and the creature get married and Inga and Frederick get married.
Props were very popular in the film; important props throughout the film include the lab equipment used, the violin (01:03:08), and the skeletons. The film credits in the beginning were in a very gothic font, which relates to the movie, especially because it goes well with the background of the dark castle and night skies (00:52). This particular font also relates back to the 1930s, around the time when Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein. The film also heavily includes scene transitions; such as fade in and out, fade to black, and wipes. The scene 05:12 portrays an example of fading in and out to show that there is a change in plot scene. Another example of fade in and out was in (13:53). In the beginning of the film, sound was highly demonstrated, especially with the thunder sound emphasizing the lighting and the rain (02:57). Some lighting sources in the film include lighting/thunder, fireplace, black and white lighting (classroom scene), and candlestick(20:58). Another source of sound includes the violin (01:03:08) because it symbolized the strategy used to lure the creature. In scene (01:00:10), it included sounds of breaking glass as the window shattered because of the thrown darts, which enhanced the dramatic effect. During the credits (02:18), there was soft music playing in the background. A setting includes the classroom where Frankenstein was teaching (05:51). This is also the scene that introduces the black and white lighting in the film. In scene 12:07, this was an example of freeze film with Elizabeth and Frederick positioned together and a few people walking around them. An example of fade to black was in scene 13:53, which took effect in order to illustrate change of scene and setting. Scene 16:18 includes a frame with Igor and Frederick shot in a frame, which shows the dialogue between the two of them; the camera angle is also facing downward directly toward Igor’s face. The camera was zooming in to get closer towards Frederick’s face when he was talking in his sleep because he had a nightmare; this was another camera tactic used in the film (24:20).
Without the Industrial Revolution technology, the story of Frankenstein would not have been conceived. The technology from the Industrial Revolution inspired the author of Frankenstein’s story. The science class in the beginning of the film (06:00), included Frederick referring back to Darwinism and the idea of intelligent design, idea of evolution, and the idea of God vs. Science. Science and technology was also illustrated when Frederick was performing the brain transplant in the creature’s body as he was getting elevated up. The idea of preservation of life was also discussed in the film as that was Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment.
– Pooja Parikh