This Week’s Review: “Young Frankenstein”

Even the staunchest of curmudgeons has to exercise his laugh muscles once or twice a year lest they atrophy. When that rare event happens, the first recourse will probably be a Mel Brooks classic. Not everything Brooks has done is classic, but when he is good, he is brilliant.

The best of Brooks’s parodies has to be “Young Frankenstein.” The more familiar you are with the original series of Frankenstein films, the more you appreciate Brooks’s work. Even now, the original films are worth watching just to identify the scenes used by Brooks; much of the humor comes from the recycling of the original props. Almost every scene in “Young Frankenstein” can be traced to its origin.

While the sets are vital to the parody, it is the cast who make the film work. Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn and all the others were never better. Brooks used many of them in other films, but this film is a masterpiece of ensemble humor. Just thinking about it is enough to make one produce “yummy sounds.”