So…Gene Wilder passed away last Sunday. I suppose 83 is a good age to live to, and no one can say the man didn’t have a fantastic life. However, I am sad nonetheless.
My father first took me to see Blazing Saddles in the local drive-in movie theater (and that was the first time I heard grown-ups cuss on the screen). After a lot of assurances to my mother that “this other Mel brooks movie don’t have any cussing” he took me to see Young Frankenstein.
What a great couple of movies, but of the two of them I happen to prefer Young Frankenstein to this day.
Gene Wilder co-wrote it with Mel Brooks and, boy, did these two guys understand the genre. After all, parody is wasted if you don’t understand the source material. But Gene and Mel, they understood the Universal monster movies to a “T.”
As a kid, I grew up watching the old Frankenstein and the Wolf Man’s films on TV, so even I got the references. Young Frankenstein had the exact same sets, lighting, cinemaphotography, music, pacing, and acting style as the original Universal pictures making it easy for an audience of kids like me to relate to the world and get all the jokes (well…almost all of the jokes. I was a kid, okay!). The comedic timing was genius and the performances of every cast member superb.
If you have never watched Young Frankenstein, treat yourself. If your family or friends have never watched Young Frankenstein, treat them. And let laughter lite the darkness of this good man’s passing.