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.
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.
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