"First, let me begin by saying that the only reason I don't give this 5 stars is that I wanted a bit more from the commentary track, as I indicate below.
The content of this wonderful movie is covered amply elsewhere, so I won't repeat what others have so well synopsized. I WOULD like to point out a couple of things about this particular DVD:
1) The commentary track is accessible from the the LANGUAGE SELECTION menu, rather than from the special features menu (as is usual for commentary tracks). I was terribly frustrated by this until I got some help from Christian at boldopinions.com (thanks Christian!).
2) Yes, the commentary track IS mostly Mel babbling, but there are some nice tidbits here (many of the cut-away shots were put in because Gene Wilder kept breaking, Mel thought "Puttin' On The Ritz" was frivolous, etc.). It's also heart-breaking to hear about how Marty Feldman's health habits led to his death at age 59. Unfortunately, since Mel's commentary leans toward the personal, we don't get to hear about the roots of the dart-throwing scene (practically a duplication of a scene in "Son of Frankenstein")-- and I would SWEAR that the trees going by the window in the Transylvanian train sequence are the same ones in the train sequence in "Son of Frankenstein." So we can't have everything.
3) The documentary is really wonderful-- it's obvious that everyone has warm feelings about the film, and the recollections are sharp and insightful. It gives the movie added dimension, so don't pass it over.I haven't seen mention in the Amazon reviews of "Young Frankenstein" the multiple homages to "Son of Frankenstein," not the least of which is Gene Wilder's spot-on lord-of-the-manor affectations through many of the early Transylvanian sequences (in his grandfather's bedroom: "And where is my grandfather's PRIVATE library?...[book snatched from shelf] Why, these books are all very general [snap snap snap the pages]; any doctor might have them in his study [SLAP book closed]" and the entirety of the aforementioned dart-throwing scene (in which Wilder is positively CHANNELING Basil Rathbone). So make "Son of Frankenstein" ALSO required viewing prior to seeing "Young Frankenstein."Finally, I think that Mel hits the nail on the head when he says (repeatedly) that so many scenes are emotional at the same time that they're being funny. This film was made with such love by all concerned, and it shows. Yes, it can be occasionally crass, and go for obvious cheap laughs (albeit MUCH less so than any movie Mel has made before or since), but what one ultimately takes away from this movie is the incredible amount of care everyone took with the project. Hell, you might even find yourself with a tear in your eye at the end (I did-- the awesome score by John Morris helps a lot!). Alas, Mel and Gene were never again to collaborate on a script (it is amazing that the Borscht Belt comedy of Mel Brooks and the hopeless romanticism of Gene Wilder found such fertile creative ground in the first place!), so this movie is lightning in a bottle (pun intended). Don't miss it."
"Roll, roll, roll in ze hay!"
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 02/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may just be the funniest movie of all time. Mel Brooks never before (and never again) worked with the tight parameters he did here: gene Wilder actually wrote most of the script, and that plus the use of the old Universal sets and props seem to have kept Borooks's more sophomoric instincts (which have gone overboard in some of his later films) tightly in check. Thus he--and everyone else in the film--is doing their absolutely finest work ever.From Teri Garr "rolling in ze hay," to Kenneth Mars's inspired Police Inspector, everyone in the entire film seems to be working at their most hysterically hilarious. Special mention must be given to Gene Wilder giving one of his most classic performances of his strangled-fury schtick ever ("Put... the candle... back!!!") and to Peter Boyle, for his very poignant and funny depiction of the Monster.But standing above all of the end in terms of sheer brilliance is Madeline Kahn, giving what must be the funniest female performace ever on film as Frankenstein's fiancee and the monster's eventual bride. Unlike everyone else in the film, she's not really parodying anyone other than herself; yet nevertheless her depiction of Elizabeth, the wealthy prude who discovers she's a volcano of passion undeneath, is so funny I'm practically crying almost every time I see this film. There's one brief little scene where she's brushing her hair in her boudoir before the Monster steals into her room and kidnaps her, and for absolutely no apparent reason(which makes the scene all the funnier) she's giving vent to a deeply lusty rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" while brushing out her hair. It is the funniest five seconds in the entire film--and in a film this hilarious that's saying a lot."
Almost too good!
Lori L. Graham | 12/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Features, features, features. Anyone who loves this film and loves special DVD features MUST buy this special addition. There are about 30 minutes of deleted scenes, hilarious bloopers and Mel Brooks tops it all off with insightful, intelligent commentary. A great DVD that does justice to one of the greatest classic comedies of all time. I couldn't turn it off."
The BEST Parody Film of All Time...
rockchalk-mbs | America's Heartland | 12/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...yes, even better than "Airplane", and quite possibly the funniest film of all time, period. Side-splittingly funny and infinitely quotable, this is film is absolutely priceless. Filmed in black and white, the movie is filled with atmosphere, fantastic one-liners and classic characters. Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn completely steal the show, you'd never guess that Inga was the same Terri Garr from "Tootsie", Cloris Leachman is virtually, wonderfully, unrecognizable, and you will never- and I mean NEVER- be able to look at Peter Boyle the same way again after seeing his portrayal of the monster (especially after viewing "Puttin' on the Ritz"). The fantastic script, by both Brooks and star Gene ("it's pronounced Fronkensteen") Wilder, was nominated for an Oscar, and so fantastic are the lines that you will find yourself using them in every-day life (I have and still do). This movie will make you giggle, chuckle and laugh out loud. It's the blueprint for all parody films ever made and it's still the very best. This is a movie that can be watched over and over, as little things will get by you on the first couple of viewings. I love the tip of the cap to "The Bride of Frankenstein" near the end of the film and especially love Kenneth Mars' portrayal of the heavily accented town Constable ("Footschteps, footschteps, footschteps!"). This is my all-time favorite movie. And "Bluecher" in German means "glue"..."
Well, why isn't it "Froaderick Fronkensteen"?
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People might find other Mel Brooks films to be funnier, pointing to "The Producers" and "Blazzing Saddles," but I still think that "Young Frankenstein" is far and away his best film ever. Of course this might be because a lot of the credit goes to Gene Wilder, who co-wrote the script and plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous monster maker who finally decides to pick up the family business. Then there is the first-rate cast, with Peter Boyle as the Monster ("Putting on the Riiittzzzz"), Marty Feldman as Igor ("What hump?"), Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth ("Ah, sweet mystery of life at last you've found me!"), Terri Garr as Inga ("Roll, roll, roll in the hay!", and Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher (Neeeeiiigghghh!!!!!). I even like the film score by John Morris that sets the right tone from start to finish, including the haunting theme that lures the monster back to the castle where he was born (with a nice French horn part for Igor). But what I really think makes this film work is that there are several scenes that are played absolutely straight, such as when Frederick reclaims his family name and the Monster is tormented in the jail cell. Then there is the doctor's speech at the moment of creation, which stacks up against anything you will find in any of the classic Universal Frankenstein films: "From that fateful day when stinking bits of slime first crawled from the sea and shouted to the cold stars, 'I am man', our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality. But tonight, we shall hurl the gauntlet of science into the frightful face of death itself. Tonight, we shall ascend into the heavens. We shall mock the earthquake. We shall command the thunders, and penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself!"Wow. Read that and tell me that Brooks and Wilder did not know what they were doing in this one. Yes, this is a comedy, but it has a strong affection for the films it is spoofing, "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein," that comes through in several excellent homages. The extra material included on the DVD shows that Brooks and Wilder left lots of funny shtick on the cutting room floor, which should not surprise anyone. There is no reason that "Young Frankenstein" and "The Producers" cannot be included on anybody's list of Top 10 Comedy Films of All-Time. They are both are mine."