Edited by Lester Brathwaite on
The FashionIndie FilmInstitue (FIFI) gives the close-up on fashionable films from a bygone era.This week we scare up some laughs with Mel Brooks‘ classic 1974 comedy, Young Frankenstein.
One of the funniest films of all time, Young Frankenstein injects a serious serving of shtick into the horror films of the 30s and 40s. Gene Wilder leads a brilliant cast — including Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Gene Hackman and Terri Garr — as the titular mad scientist. Determined to deny the legacy of his great-grandfather, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is summoned to Transylvania and inevitably picks up where his ancestor left off.
This means leaving behind his high maintenance finacée, Elizabeth (played to perfection by Kahn). In what would otherwise be an emotional goodbye at a foggy train station, Elizabeth is so preoccupied with her hair and makeup (which, by the way, are flawless) that she avoids any and all contact with her future husband. They finally decide to part with a friendly elbow-shake.
Even as Freddy blows her a kiss from the train, she ducks out of the way, lest it mar her cheek.
While discovering the secrets of reanimation and digging up dead bodies, the good doctor falls in love with his buxom lab assistant, Inga (Garr), thus complicating matters when Elizabeth makes her triumphant return. In a turban.
I mean, the movie is worth seeing if only for this look. But then there’s also the terrific acting, writing and directing. The truth is, Kahn is barely in the movie, but she steals every scene, which is a feat considering the caliber of talent she’s working with. The year Young Frankenstein came out, Kahn also appeared in Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, and she managed to get nominated for a Golden Globe for the former and an Oscar for the latter.
Sadly, she lost out on both: