|Category||Comedy||Audio Commentary - Mel Brooks (Director)
Deleted Scenes (7)
Documentary - Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein
Featurette - Mexican Television Interviews (2)
Television Spots (7)
|Running Time||101:19 minutes|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 96 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Dr Friedrich Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the late Victor Frankenstein and is desperately trying to escape from the name created by his grandfather. Friedrich - the name is Frankenstein, as in Fron-ken-steen - has excelled as a doctor and is ranked highly as an expert in his field (being cephalic matters). Under a peculiar set of circumstances as a result, he is the sole heir and beneficiary of his great-grandfather's estate and travels to Transylvania to tidy up the affairs of the estate. This journey not only separates him from his fiancee Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) but reunites a member of the Frankenstein family with Igor (Marty Feldman), pronounced of course as Eyegor and not Egor. Oh, and throw in a beautiful laboratory assistant in Inga (Teri Garr). Met at the Frankenstein castle by Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman), a mysterious woman whose name has a dreadful effect on horses, it does not take long for the peculiarities of Victor's research to exert their pull on Friedrich - especially with Frau Blucher pulling a few strings (well, bowing a few strings actually). So the slightly crazed Friedrich and his faithful (?) assistant Igor go off in search of a suitable body, plus a brain to match. Things don't quite go to plan and the result is The Monster (Peter Boyle), a man of huge size (including his whatsit) but minuscule (and not quite normal) brain. As the townsfolk fear a return to the bad old days, they are lead by Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars) in an assault to finally rid the town of the curse of Frankenstein.
This rally is just a wonderful film in every respect. The aim was very much to create the feel of those 1930s horror films and in that respect Director of Photography Gerald Hirschfeld excelled beyond even Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks wildest dreams I would suspect. It also seems to create a nice film noirish feel to the film at times as well. A superbly crafted piece of work from the pen of Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, this required a great piece of casting to make it work and they sure got it. Leading from the front as it were was Gene Wilder who does a sterling job as Friedrich, adding just the right sort of comic touch to the proceedings. The irrepressible Marty Feldman is superb as Igor, and just about everything he does has such wry timing and touch to it that it is easily understood why they had a hard time filming the film, as everyone was dissolving into laughter. Peter Boyle adds a charmingly childlike performance as the Monster, whilst Teri Garr adds a wonderfully coquettish turn as the sexy lab assistant. The brilliance of Cloris Leachman is plain to see, and this really is a superbly cast effort. Even the short part of Gene Hackman is handled with aplomb, even though the gags are just a little obvious (which still does not stop the laughter though). Arguments will rage for years as to which film represents the greatest work of Mel Brooks. Stick my vote down for Young Frankenstein. It is amazing what this collection of people did with a budget of around $2.5 million dollars. Columbia must have spit chips over what this film did at the box office - US domestic box office receipts of over $80 million alone - and it could have been theirs, but for the sake of a further $750,000 (they wanted the budget restricted to $1.75 million). Columbia's loss has more than proved to be 20th Century Fox's gain. The money that this film has made over the past 26 years is quite amazing. By most indicators, a highly successful film critically and financially.
One of the great comedy films of all time for sure, and an absolutely brilliant homage to the horror films of the 1930s. If you enjoy those films, this is an essential purchase. If you enjoy great comedy, this is an essential purchase. If you like entertainment, just get it.
Since this is such a comparatively recent film, the transfer is quite sharp with some rather nice detail. However, the homage to those 1930s films did extend to the odd instance of soft images (check out a few of Teri Garr's appearances on screen), but this really only adds to the excellence on offer here. Shadow detail is intentionally divergent, with some excellent sections and some quite restrained sections: again, this is part of the effort to capture the feel of the 1930s films. This is generally a nice, clear transfer although there a few sections blessed with serious grain issues - 23:29 and 28:56 are good examples - which may partly be intended, but do detract a little from the overall transfer. There does not appear to be any significant low level noise problems with the transfer.
Naturally enough, this is one of the best looking black and white transfers around for the simple reason that it truly is black and white. There is some really serious depth to the black tones here and the overall effect is for some gorgeous detail in the grey tones. The deep black tones are well used to create a faux-dark feel to the film at times that really is evocative of those 1930s films. This is a seriously good looking transfer as far as colours go.
There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are also no significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, with only a couple of instances of relatively minor aliasing being noted - 3:30 and 40:04 being good examples of how relatively minor the issue is. There was a few rather obvious film artefacts floating around here with one or two being rather distracting - the large scratches at 18:16 being one. There were not as many as I was anticipating for a 26 year old overall, but when they were there they tended to be just a little noticeable. There was an odd jerky look to the film during the pan shot at 91:30 which may be indicative of a transfer problem.
This is presumably a Dual
Layer DVD since I did not note any layer change during the film.
A nice piece of mastering to do this, with the film on one layer and the
extras on the other.
The dialogue comes up quite clear and easily understood in the transfer, which is hugely important in picking up some of the subtle humour at times. There was no problem with audio sync in the transfer (at least something was introduced here to keep the entire homage feel going!).
The original music score comes from John Morris, and whilst it obviously draws a lot from the 1930s films is nonetheless a quite effective score. In many ways it is a little more subtle than perhaps it should have been, but that really is the only complaint I could level at the score.
Since this is not a surround-encoded soundtrack -
I am eternally grateful that they did not produce a 5.1 remaster here -
there is no use of the surround channels and the bass channel. The entire
soundtrack has been mastered to produce a lovely 1930s type of sound, but
without the murkiness and lack of detail. This really is a nicely detailed
soundtrack and there is nothing here to complain about.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
17th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|