Thursday, 1 September 2016

Young Frankenstein (5 Stars)

This is the second film I've watched today starring the late, great Gene Wilder. I consider it to be one of the best films ever made. I've included it in my list of "30 films to watch before you die". Please check out the list to see if you know all 30 films. There's a reason for every film to be on the list, so if there's only one film that you still haven't seen it's worth making an effort to see it.

As well as playing the main character, Gene Wilder wrote the screenplay for "Young Frankenstein". Mel Brooks was at first reluctant to make the film because he liked to write his own films, but he was indebted to Gene for saving "Blazing Saddles" by jumping in at the last moment, so he accepted the script with only a few of his own changes.

"Young Frankenstein" shows a different side of Gene Wilder's considerable talent. In "Blazing Saddles" his style was one of casual under-acting. He seemed unconcerned by what was going on around him. In "Young Frankenstein" his style is characterised by brash over-acting. This is a deliberate parody of Colin Clive's performance as Henry Frankenstein in "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein". This is doubtlessly the best parody ever made. It's so close to the original films (especially "Bride of Frankenstein") that it's hilarious, but it's different enough to avoid being trite.

Gene Wilder was a brilliant actor. Sadly, he made relatively few films during his life. His last film was made in 1991, when he was only 58. For the next 25 years he contented himself with occasional television roles. He said that there were no more roles for him, because movies had become "dirty" by relying on unnecessary swearing, action sequences and worst of all 3D effects. That's a shame. All I can say is that he'll always be fondly remembered for the films he made in his short career.

Gene Wilder
June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

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