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'Young Frankenstein'

‘Young Frankenstein’

March 27, 1974: Director Mel Brooks, right, looks on as Teri Garr, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, from left, and Peter Boyle as the monster re-create a scene from the movie “Young Frankenstein” for Los Angeles Times staff photographer Marianna Diamos.

Writer Wayne Warga reported in the April 14, 1974, Los Angeles Times:

The castle looms dark and foreboding, a dead tree in a courtyard leading to outside doors with huge knockers. The kind of place where people must come to die. Frankenstein’s place. And this time the devout wish is that we’ll all die laughing. It’s Mel Brooks’ version of Frankenstein’s place.

It’s impossible to tell how many versions of this classic tale have been made around the world, but certainly this must be the first one in which the monster has a zipper in his neck.

The $350,000 castle, on Stage 4 at 20th Century-Fox, is an inspiration of the macabre, while the goings-on of its inhabitants are inspiringly silly.

Brooks is shooting the film in black and white and is using cinematic techniques prominent in the late 1920s and the early 1930s. “It’s not satire, it’s a salute,” he says. “It says, ‘Mel Brooks Presents Young Frankenstein’ so the audience will, of course, know the comedy will go an inch or two further than one usually expects. But you can’t keep winking because it diminishes the melodrama. The melodrama has to be there.”

Brooks at work is intense, serious and determined — in startling contrast to the inspired silliness of his films. Gene Wilder plays Frankenstein and, along with Brooks, is the co-author of the screenplay.

“Gene walked in one day and said he wanted to do a picture called ‘Young Frankenstein,’ ” Brooks recalls. “I told him he was crazy. A week later we were writing it.”

“Young Frankenstein” became a smash hit and is now highly ranked on many best comedy film lists.

These photos were taken on the “Young Frankenstein” set by former staff photographer Marianna Diamos. The photo immediately below accompanied Warga’s article. I prefer the similar version above, and since this is my post, I picked my favorite.

Director Mel Brooks, right, looks on as Teri Garr, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, from left, and Peter Boyle as the monster, recreate a scene from the movie “Young Frankenstein.” Credit: Marianna Diamos/Los Angeles Times.

Peter Boyle as the monster on the set of “Young Frankenstein.” Credit: Marianna Diamos/Los Angeles Times.

3 Comments

  1. August 7, 2013, 7:44 am

    Certainly one of my family's favorites. We never tire of watching it.

    By: greytv
  2. August 7, 2013, 4:37 pm

    One of the greatest comedies of my generation! My grandkids love it too. It is part of our summer vacations together.
    Dick Kershaw, 71 years old

    By: dickkershaw@cox.net
  3. August 7, 2013, 10:24 pm

    What Hump?

    By: bufsolja@aol.com

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