Lending his burlesque touch to 1970s genre revision, Mel Brooks followed his hit “western” Blazing Saddles with this parody of 1930s Universal horror movies. Determined to live down his family’s reputation, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (co-screenwriter Gene Wilder) insists on pronouncing his name “Fronckensteen” and denies interest in replicating his grandfather’s experiments. But when he is lured by Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman) to discover the tantalizingly titled journal “How I Did It” in his grandfather’s castle, he cannot resist. With the help of voluptuous Inga (Teri Garr), wall-eyed assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), and a purloined brain, Frankenstein creates his monster (Peter Boyle). Igor, however, stole the wrong brain, and the monster tears off into the countryside, encountering a little girl and a blind hermit (Gene Hackman). Frankenstein finds the monster and trains him to do a little “Puttin’ On the Ritz” soft-shoe, but the monster escapes again, this time seducing Frankenstein’s uptight fiancée Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) with his, ahem, sweet mystery. His love life and experiment in shambles, Frankenstein finally finds a way to create the being he had planned. Shooting in gleaming black-and-white, with sets and props from the 1930s and appropriate fright music by John Morris, Brooks’ cheeky attitude towards the Hollywood past attracted a large audience, turning it into one of the most popular 1974 releases after (what else?) Blazing Saddles.
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