Who can claim to have never laughed in front of a movie of Mel Brooks ? Of course, the latter does not have the subtlety of a Woody Allen (he helped out of the shadows), but looking in the rearview mirror, we cannot fail to note the enormous damage side of the zygomatic.
In the early 70s, the young director has only two movies to his credit : the success and confidentiality of Producers (The Producers, 1968), which earned him the, excuse me a bit, the oscar of the best scenario in the beard of Stanley Kubrick and the nose of John Cassavetes, and then the flop without calling on the Mystery of the Twelve Chairs (1970). It is, therefore, enamored of the doubts that he will develop all the elements that will show the success in gallop in a sub-genre which is still virtually untapped : the parody. It should be noted that Mel Brooks totally reveres Hellzapoppin (H. C. Potter, Edward F. Cline, 1941), film matrix of the non-sense pushed to its limits with a torrent of gags, surreal. This is first The Sheriff is in Jail which actually costs (1974). Western dilapidated, without limit, the film allows it to Mel Brooks to collaborate with comedian Gene Wilder. He then offers a start script based on Frankenstein. The director is reluctant. Why yet another version ? But Wilder believes in his idea and eventually convince Mel Brooks to co-write the film, realize it, and, not to phagocytose things, not to play in it ! After all, it is his project and he wants to take until the end…
FRANKENSTEIN JUNIOR is a an ambitious film. It is a tribute to the productions of the classics, Universal studios, and including works by James Whale (Frankenstein in 1931, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935), its substitutes (The Son of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein) and a few other classics (King Kong especially). Also, the movie will use the same sets and props as the Frankenstein of 1931, on a black and white beautiful, a music, “the way” , signed John Morris, sound effects clever, and the game necessarily theatrical actors. All driven by a true culture of the original work of Mary Shelley and the myth of cinema.
“Funny and poetic, FRANKENSTEIN JUNIOR is a classic zaniness nostalgic. “
Wilder and Brooks did not seek the ease. Clever, the script is based on the character of Frederick ‘Frankenstine’ Frankenstein, hypothetical great-grandson of the sinister doctor, who seeks at any price to make us forget its origins before inheriting the famous manor house of his ancestor. Therefore, it does not take long to resume the latter experiments and gives life to a being with superhuman strength but a bit dopey. Inevitably, the Monster (Peter Boyle, flawless) eventually escapes, causing the wrath of the villagers who set out in his search for a punitive expedition in good and due form. Frederick Frankenstein will then try everything to save his creature.
Of this canvas, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder are going to be fun to upset the habits while giving the illusion of being in the classics referred to and revisited. The leg of the director is, in excess, the absurd is sometimes trivial. The thread of derision unreasonable is pulled, exhausted, but preserved by Gene Wilder on his cloud, in the role of his life. It has a nice roll of the eyes, make it tons with his accomplice out of whack Marty Feldman, it is above all the poetry of the actor (and screenwriter) who comes to tease the madness of his accomplice and that the parody does not pay never in a barnum of grand no matter what. This lightness maintains FRANKENSTEIN JUNIOR breaks to come in the filmography of Mel Brooks and offers a few sequences of anthology : Elizabeth who suddenly finds himself with the messy hair of The Bride of Frankenstein, the meeting between the monster and the girl (cut off in the original James Whale) or with the blind man (played by Gene Hackman unrecognizable), the panic of the horses at the mention of the name of Frau Blucher (than cloris Leachman), the thirteen (!) strokes of midnight at the beginning of the film…
Taking the advantage of modesty, nostalgia and homage more than the deconstruction comes in, Mel Brooks manages to bring in light of the dialogues are often hilarious (Thank you Gene Wilder), sometimes scabrous (obviously) and don’t forget that spirit cabaret parsèmera his career with the fabulous number of flip flops a Monster, seamed to be the Boris Karloff and the final form of pirouette quite pleasing.
It is little to say that FRANKENSTEIN JUNIOR remains a pure classic of american comedy. Fundamental. It will push other writers (Robert Zemeckis) and the filmmakers in this way difficult, balancing act, the pastiche unbridled. The 1941 by Steven Spielberg (1979), the Dead do not wear suits (1982) and The Man with two brains (1983) – signed Carl Reiner/Steve Martin through the films ZAZ (is there a pilot in the airplane, Top Secret, Hot Shots etc), many will be the successors more or less happy. Mel Brooks , meanwhile, will continue its path, his way. If Gene Wilder will be more and more discreet up to take his final bow in 2016, Mel Brooks would drain his vein before returning to her love of performing. After the adaptation the triumph of the Producers, it will restore life to this small wonder of the fantastic in the form of a musical comedy euphoric. A success with three nominations for the Tony Awards (the oscars of american theatre). Timeless !
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• Production : Mel Brooks
• Screenplay : Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder
• Main actors : Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle
• Release Date : June 21, 2017
• Duration : 1h41min