Mel Brooks, the goofy great mind behind Broadway's comic smash The Producers, may never direct another movie -- the poor guy's eighty years old, after all -- but that's okay, as long as we get to watch Young Frankenstein once in a while. The masterpiece of the Brooksian ouevre, this relentlessly hilarious 1974 spoof of classic Hollywood horror flicks actually combines the bloody melodramatics of the neck-chomping Dracula franchise with Mary Shelley's dark obsession with spare body parts. Wearing a hideous fright wig and the stunned expression of a lunatic, Brooks regular Gene Wilder won the reluctant mad-doctor role; gallumphing Peter Boyle reprised Boris Karloff's tortured baseball-face bit, adding a bit of monstrous tap-dancing; and Madeline Kahn provided most of the shrieks. Some may go for the Western satire Blazing Saddles, but YF will always be the favorite of hard-core Brooksians. How about Gene Hackman's brilliant cameo as a blind hermit who makes dinner for the big fellow and drives him terrified into the night? It's all in glorious black and white, of course.
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Young Frankenstein screens Saturday, June 10, in the Esquire's Midnight Madness series. Landmark's Esquire Theatre is at 590 Downing Street; for more information, call 303-352-1992.