Our regular redblog quiz-meisters had no problem with it–Donna was first with the correct answer, followed quickly by Sparky and then Ashley. Congrats!
I thought it was an easy one, but then I always think that when the film in question is one of my favorites of all time. When people questioned my taste in comedies a few weeks ago on my “meh” review of Date Night, I didn’t get a chance to list my favorite funny films of all time. But this one would be very close to the top. I’m watching it right now as I type this and stopping every few minutes to giggle uncontrollably.
But it also ties nicely into Spooky Movie Week here at redblog as it’s the godfather of horror movie parodies like Transylmania (released this week on DVD and available in the redboxes). In fact, Transylmania has much more in common with this week’s poster subject than the outright silly spoofs like the Scary Movie franchise, which are based on nonsensical, random gags as opposed to carefully emulating and parodying the original horror films.
What makes Mel Brooks’s 1974 film so perfect is not just the non-stop blend of high and low-brow gags, but Brooks’s clear love for the films he’s sending up. More than just hilarious, it’s also a really well-made and lovely film, perfectly mimicking the style of James Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein–Brooks even used some of the original sets and equipment from those film’s production.
I grew up on this film–back in the prehistoric age before home VHS, I had a vinyl LP album from the movie with most of its best scenes, and would sit and listen to it over and over again. (Even if then, at the age of 9, I certainly didn’t get most of the naughtier jokes.) To this day I could almost quote the entire film.
It’s truly a work of comic genius, not just on Brooks’s part, but also the absolutely sublime performances of Gene Wilder and the late Marty Feldman. Not to mention Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, the late Peter Boyle, the Gene Hackman cameo, Kenneth Mars, and of course the ungodly brilliant late Madeline Kahn.
And now some quotes… Believe me, I have to refrain from listing every single line that makes me laugh–which is pretty much all of them:
Igor (Feldman): You’re putting me on.
Dr. Frankenstein: No, it’s pronounced “Fronkensteen.”
Igor: Do you also say “Froaderick”?
Dr. Frankenstein: No… ”Frederick.”
Igor: Well, why isn’t it “Froaderick Fronkensteen”?
Dr. Frankenstein: It isn’t; it’s “Frederick Fronkensteen.”
Igor: I see.
Dr. Frankenstein: You must be Igor.
Igor: No, it’s pronounced “eye-gor.”
Dr. Frankenstein: But they told me it was “ee-gor.”
Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren’t they?
Dr. Frankenstein: Werewolf?
Dr. Frankenstein: What?
Igor: There, wolf. There, castle.
Dr. Frankenstein: Why are you talking that way?
Igor: I thought you wanted to.
Dr. Frankenstein: No, I don’t want to.
Igor: Suit yourself. I’m easy.
Dr. Frankenstein: Damn your eyes.
Igor: Too late.
(When someone in my group of friends accidentally makes the same joke as someone else, coming in too late with the quip, we say “Feldman!” as in “Damn your eyes for beating me to that punchline.” Yep, that’s the kind of fun we have.)
Igor: What hump?
Inspector Kemp (Mars): Vee had better confeerm de fect dat Yunk Frankenshtein iss indeed vallowing een ees gandfadda’s vootshtaps.
Inspector Kemp: Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, footsteps, footsteps.
Villagers: Ohhh. Footsteps.
Dr. Frankenstein: No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door.
Inga: Yes, Doctor.
Igor: Nice working with ya.
Dr. Frankenstein (enters the creature’s cell and it growls at him): Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one? Ha ha ha. Get me out of here! Open this damn door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! …Mommy!
Dr. Frankenstein: No. No. Be of good cheer. If science teaches us anything, it teaches us to accept our failures, as well as our successes, with quiet dignity and grace…. (snaps and begins beating on the creature’s restrained body) Son of a…! Bastard! I’ll get you for this! What did you do to me? What did you do to me?!?
Inga: Stop it! Stop that! Stop it! You’ll kill him!
Dr. Frankenstein: I don’t want to live. I do not want to live.
Igor: Quiet dignity and grace
Igor: You know, I’ll never forget my old dad. When these things would happen to him… the things he’d say to me.
Dr. Frankenstein: What did he say?
Igor: “What the hell are you doing in the bathroom day and night? Why don’t you get out of there and give someone else a chance?”
Dr. Frankenstein: Igor, help me with the bags.
Igor: Soi-tenly. You take the blonde, I’ll take the one in the turban.
“Ixnay on the ottenray.”
“Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you! At last, I know the secret of it all!”
“Oh dear. Nothing left. What shall we throw in now?”
“Roll, roll, roll in ze hay.”
“Put… the candle… back!”
“A riot is an ungly thing… undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun!”
“Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide gorilla!?!?”
“Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me! Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me!”