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‘Young Frankenstein’ Stomped Into Theaters On This Day in 1974

‘Young Frankenstein’ Stomped Into Theaters On This Day in 1974

On this fang-tastic day in horror history, the monstrous masterpiece known as Young Frankenstein electrified screens in 1974. Mel Brooks, the diabolical director, brought this film to life with a wickedly witty screenplay conjured alongside the brilliant star, Gene Wilder. It was the comedy duo’s third collaboration after 1967’s The Producers and 1973’s Blazing Saddles.

Victor Frankenstein, pronounced Frahnken-steen, is a skilled neurosurgeon who has spent his life distancing himself from his grandfather’s infamous creation. However, upon inheriting Frankenstein Castle, he is compelled to embrace his family’s legacy of animating life. With a newfound pride in his surname’s original pronunciation, Victor enlists the help of his beautiful assistant Inga, the hunchback Igor (pronounced Eye-gor), and Frau Blücher, who was once his grandfather’s romantic partner. Together, they embark on the creation of a remarkable new monster, ready to conquer the world.

Alongside Wilder, the cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Peter Boyle as the monster.

‘Young Frankenstein’ is an Homage as Much as It’s a Spoof

The film is a clear parody of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. However, it also serves as a heartfelt tribute to the classic Universal Monsters’ Frankenstein series featuring Boris Karloff. Interestingly, many of the laboratory props used in the movie were originally crafted by Kenneth Strickfaden for the iconic 1931 film.

Of course, Young Frankenstein fans know Gene Hackman also makes a memorable appearance. Based on a famous scene from 1935’s Bride Of Frankenstein, the escaped monster (Boyle) visits a lonely blind monk played by an uncredited Hackman. While the blind monk shows the monster kindness, he also (hilariously) inadvertently tortures the poor soul.

‘Young Frankenstein’s Popularity Has Grown Over the Decades

Since its release, Young Frankenstein has only grown in popularity. It’s even been adapted into a Broadway musical and holds a special place for Mel Brooks to this day.

“I hate actors,” Brooks admitted to Entertainment Weekly in 2007. “But [on Young Frankenstein] I had lunch with them every day, because I liked that cast so much, between Madeline Kahn, and Teri Garr, Marty Feldman, and Gene, Peter Boyle. We had a magnificent company of players. I felt like an old-fashioned English theater manager taking a cast out into the country.”

In 2003, the United States National Film Preservation Board acknowledged the cultural and historical importance of Young Frankenstein. This led to the selection of the horror-comedy for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. The film boasts an impressive 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.