Young Frankenstein: Wikis


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Young Frankenstein

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Michael Gruskoff
Written by Gene Wilder
Mel Brooks
Starring Gene Wilder
Peter Boyle
Marty Feldman
Teri Garr
Madeline Kahn
Cloris Leachman
Kenneth Mars
and Gene Hackman
Music by John Morris
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 15, 1974
Running time 106 min.
Country USA
Language English
Budget $2,800,000
Gross revenue $86,273,333

Young Frankenstein is a 1974 comedy film directed by Mel Brooks, starring Gene Wilder as the title character. Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman also star. The screenplay was written by Brooks and Wilder.[1]

The film is an affectionate parody of the classical horror film genre, in particular the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s. Most of the pieces of lab equipment used as props are the same ones created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To further reflect the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black-and-white, a rare choice at the time, and employed 1930s-style opening credits and period scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a notable period score by Brooks' longtime composer John Morris.

Young Frankenstein is number 28 on Total Film Magazine's "List of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time", number 56 on Bravo television network's list of the "100 Funniest Movies", and number 13 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 funniest American movies.[2] In 2003, it was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the United States National Film Preservation Board, and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.[3]



Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is a respected lecturer at an American medical school and is more or less happily (though blandly) engaged to the tightly wound Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn). Frederick becomes exasperated when anyone brings up the subject of his grandfather, the famous mad scientist, to the point of insisting that his name is pronounced "Fronk'-en-steen".

A solicitor informs Frederick that he has inherited his family's estate. Traveling to said estate in Transylvania, Frankenstein meets his comely new lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), along with the household servants Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman) and Igor (Marty Feldman) (who, after hearing Frederick claim his name is pronounced "Fronkensteen" counter-claims that his is pronounced "Eye'-gor.")

Inga assists Frederick in discovering the secret entrance to his grandfather's laboratory. Upon reading his grandfather's private journals the doctor is inspired to resume his grandfather's experiments in re-animating the dead. He and Igor successfully exhume and spirit away the enormous corpse of a recently executed criminal, but Igor's attempt to steal the brain of a revered scientist from the local "brain depositary" goes awry, and he takes one labeled, "Do Not Use This Brain! Abnormal" instead.

The reassembled monster (Peter Boyle) is elevated on a platform to the roof of the laboratory during a lightning storm. The experimenters are first disappointed when the electrically charged creature fails to come to life, but the creature eventually revives. The doctor assists the monster in walking but, frightened by Igor lighting a match, it attacks Frederick and must be sedated. Upon being asked by the doctor whose brain was obtained, Igor confesses that he supplied "Abby Normal's" brain and becomes the object of a strangulation attempt himself.

Meanwhile, the local townspeople are uneasy at the possibility of Frederick continuing his grandfather's work. Most concerned is Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars), who sports an eyepatch, a jointed and extremely creaky wooden arm, and an accent so thick even his own countrymen cannot understand him. Kemp visits the doctor and subsequently demands assurance that he will not create another monster. Upon returning to the lab, Frederick discovers that Frau Blücher is setting the creature free. After she reveals the monster's love of music, and her own romantic relationship with Frederick's grandfather, the creature is enraged by sparks from a thrown switch, and escapes from the Frankenstein castle.

While roaming the countryside, the Monster has frustrating encounters with a young girl and a blind hermit (Gene Hackman); these scenes directly parody ones from the original Frankenstein movies. Frederick recaptures the monster, wins him over with flattery, and finally fully acknowledges his heritage.

After a period of training, he offers a theater full of illustrious guests the sight of "The Creature" following simple commands. The demonstration continues with Frederick and the Monster launching into the musical number "Puttin' on the Ritz", complete with top hats and tails (and no small amount of clumsiness on the monster's part), which ends disastrously when a stage light explodes and frightens the monster. He becomes enraged and charges into the audience where he is captured and chained by police.

After being tormented by a sadistic jailer, the Monster escapes again, then kidnaps and ravishes the not-unwilling Elizabeth when she arrives unexpectedly for a visit. Elizabeth falls in love with the creature due to his inhuman stamina and his enormous penis (referred to as Schwanstuker or Schwanzstück—a Yiddish malapropism from Schwanz, "tail" (which also is German slang for "prick"), and Stück, "piece").

The townspeople, led by Inspector Kemp, hunt for the Monster. Desperate to get the creature back and correct his mistakes, Frederick plays music and lures the Monster back to the castle. Just as the Kemp-led mob storms the laboratory, Dr. Frankenstein transfers some of his stabilizing intellect to the creature who, as a result, is able to reason with and placate the mob. The film ends happily, with Elizabeth married to the now erudite and sophisticated Monster, while Inga joyfully learns what her new husband Frederick got in return from the Monster during the transfer procedure (the Monster's Schwanzstück).


Leon Askin was cast to play a lawyer (reading the last will) but was cut out.


During his pilot episode commentary on the Get Smart DVD Season One set, Mel Brooks said Columbia Pictures would not greenlight Young Frankenstein to be made in black and white. Brooks refused to compromise and took the film to 20th Century Fox, where executives agreed that the film should be made sans color. The theatrical trailer described the film as "presented in black and white - no offense" as a pun on segregation (cf. separate but equal), which had been mostly outlawed in preceding decades.

While shooting, the cast ad-libbed several of the jokes in the film: Cloris Leachman improvised the scene with Frau Blucher offering "varm milk" and Ovaltine to Dr. Frankenstein, while Marty Feldman surreptitiously moved his character's hump from shoulder to shoulder until someone noticed it, and the gag was added to the film ("What hump?"). It is rumored that Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder were reluctant to wrap filming because the cast and crew enjoyed the filming so much, and extra scenes were filmed not originally in the script.[citation needed] Brooks declared Young Frankenstein his favorite among his own films.

Referenced films

In one of the scenes of a village assembly, one of the authority figures says that they already know what Frankenstein is up to based on five previous experiences. On the DVD commentary track Mel Brooks says this is a reference to the first five Universal films. In the Gene Wilder DVD interview, he says the film is based on Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), although there are clearly also references to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). Wilder also mentions that there is a short reference to Return of Frankenstein.

  • Frankenstein (1931) - main plot, the lecture hall based on Dr Waldman's lectures, the stealing of the abnormal brain, the creation sequence, the monster's reaction to music is modeled on Karloff's reaction to sun light, the little girl, Igor is largely based on the hunchback assistant Fritz, and the man who introduces the show of Puttin' on the Ritz speaks in a similar manner to Edward van Sloan, who introduced the original Frankenstein before the opening credits
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Madeline Kahn made up as "the bride", the blind hermit, Elizabeth in front of the mirror and then being abducted by the monster, forest scenes, the monster in chains and consequent escape, Frau Blücher is partly inspired by the housemaid Minnie, the monster enjoying a smoke (based on his repeated smoking of cigars)
  • Son of Frankenstein (1939) - main plot, the box containing the testament, the library, inspector Krogh/Kempf, Ygor playing the horn as a way of controlling the monster
  • Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) - the town called "Frankenstein" (rather than Ingolstadt), the hidden room behind the book case and the hidden laboratory, the diary, the idea of the brain transplant, making the brain transplant allow the monster to talk (in this case with the brain and voice of Frankenstein rather than Ygor)
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) - werewolf jokes, full moon scenes and Frankenstein turning in bed - "destiny, destity" (similar to Lon Chaney at the Cardiff hospital), Teri Garr as the female assistant (based on Frankenstein's daughter assisting Dr. Frank Mannering), Frau Blücher partly based on the Maria Ouspenskaya character, the visual set-up for the brain-transplant with the two monsters in parallel beds, the search for the hidden diary, the romantic gypsy violin music
  • Curse of Frankenstein (1957) - pass the kipper joke (reference to the "pass the marmalade")

The use of "Transylvania station" in the remake of the similar scenes from Son of Frankenstein could perhaps be seen as a nod to House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), as Transylvania is part of the Dracula mythology and has nothing to do with Frankenstein as such. However, the dialogue between Dr. Frankenstein and the boy at the station is a direct parody of the big-band song Chattanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller; "Transylvania Station" parodies New York City's Pennsylvania Station in this context.

Deleted scenes

The following deleted scenes can be found as bonus material on the DVD: When the solicitor speaks with Frederick Frankenstein, he presents him with the will of his great grandfather, Baron Beaufort von Frankenstein. This can cause confusion, as the movie makes reference from this point on only of Frederick's grandfather, and clearly indicates that it was his grandfather, not his great-grandfather, who was the "mad scientist" in the family. Also, there is no further mention of the will; this is cleared up in a deleted scene, in which it is revealed that Baron Frankenstein is indeed meant to be the father of the mad scientist and not the scientist himself. It is also revealed in a gathering of all the surviving family heirs that the details of the will (not surprisingly) have Frederick inherit everything, which is why he travels to his ancestral home. The will was delayed by order of the Baron himself, instructing that its details not be revealed until his 100th birthday.


On April 29, 1997, One-Way Records released a CD soundtrack for the movie. There are pieces of dialogue by the actors as well as background and incidental music on the disc. The disc is now out of print and commands a very high price on Internet auction sites when available.

Track listing

  1. Main Title (Theme From "Young Frankenstein")
  2. That's Fron-Kon-Steen!
  3. Train Ride To Transylvania / The Doctor Meets Igor
  4. Frau Blucher
  5. Grandfather's Private Library
  6. It's Alive!
  7. He Was My Boyfriend
  8. My Name Is Frankenstein!
  9. Introduction / Puttin' On The Ritz
  10. A Riot Is An Ugly Thing
  11. He's Broken Loose
  12. Monster Talks, The
  13. Wedding Night / End Title
  14. Theme From "Young Frankenstein"

Cultural references

  • The brain which Igor is sent to steal is labeled as belonging to "Hans Delbrück, scientist and saint." A real-life Hans Delbrück was a nineteenth-century military historian; his son Max Delbrück was a twentieth-century biochemist and Nobel laureate.
  • Every time Frau Blücher's name is mentioned, horses are heard whinnying as if afraid of her name. Many viewers mistakenly believe that Blücher means "glue" in German; however, Blücher is a well-known German surname.[5] The German term for glue is der Kleber, or tierischer Leim for animal glue. Brooks suggested in a 2000 interview that he had based the joke on the erroneous translation, which he had heard from someone else.[6] In an interview, Cloris Leachman said that Mel had told her that that is why he named her character Blücher.[7]
  • When Dr. Frankenstein asks Igor, "Would you give me a hand with the bags?", Igor's punning response (referencing the female characters) "Certainly. You take the blonde, I'll take the one in the turban." is delivered in the style of Groucho Marx.
  • The US AMC cable network broadcast a 2007 "DVD_TV" version of the film with commentary in subtitles. Among other information, it stated that Inga was based on Ulla from Brooks' earlier film The Producers.
  • The scene in the train station in which Dr. Frankenstein begins with "Pardon me, boy, is this the Transylvania Station?" is a reference to the big band song "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." [8]

Cultural legacy

  • When the film was in theaters, the band Aerosmith was working on its third studio album, Toys in the Attic. The members of the band had written the music for a song but couldn't come up with any lyrics to go with it. After a while, they decided to take a break and see a late night showing of Young Frankenstein, where the "Walk This Way" gag provided the basis (or phrase) for the Aerosmith hit "Walk This Way".[9]
  • The scene with Frankenstein and Inga trying to get through the revolving bookcase is shown in the film Big Daddy. Later in the movie, the young boy being looked after by Adam Sandler's character in the film decides he wants to be called Frankenstein.
  • The scene with Frankenstein and the Monster performing "Puttin' on the Ritz" is briefly parodied in the Family Guy episode "The Story on Page One" - where Stewie notes, "Not my bit, but still funny." The scene in the film is itself a parody of Fred Astaire in Blue Skies.
  • Peter Boyle reprised his role (after a fashion) in the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, when his character costumed himself as the monster for Halloween.
  • Eppu Normaali, one of Finland's most successful bands, was named after a translation in the Finnish subtitles of Young Frankenstein (character Abby Normal [abnormal] was translated to Eppu Normaali [epänormaali]).
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer vs. Patty & Selma", Homer takes up a job as a limo driver. One of his passengers is Mel Brooks. Homer says to Mel, "Mel Brooks! I loved that movie Young Frankenstein. Scared the hell out of me!", to which a confused Brooks replies, "Umm...thanks."
  • In a Reno 911! episode, Deputy Wiegal (Kerry Kenny-Silver) says to Deputy Williams (Niecy Nash): "put the candle back" in homage to the revolving wall scene with Gene Wilder and Teri Garr.
  • In the Amazing Stories episode "Mummy Daddy", the man mistaken for a real mummy wanders into a blind hermit's hut with violin music playing in the distance. At the end of the episode, the torch carrying mob realizes that the monster is friendly.
  • In Reign Over Me Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle's characters both go in to a Mel Brooks movie Marathon, which shows the scene with Igor displayed with the other dead skulls.

Inspired works

A low-budget Turkish remake Sevimli Frankestayn was released in 1975. The success of Young Frankenstein worldwide inspired another horror spoof, 1974's Vampira starring David Niven and Teresa Graves. It was renamed Old Dracula for North American release to cash in on the name recognition of Young Frankenstein. In many locations, the two films were shown back-to-back as a double bill.

The 1979 television special The Halloween That Almost Wasn't was partly inspired by the cultural impact of Young Frankenstein. Focusing on the prospect of Halloween coming to an end, the special has Dracula summoning the monsters of the world to his castle to discuss the situation; he specifically names Frankenstein as one of those at fault: "And you! Letting that movie influence you so much that now, instead of terrorizing the countryside, what are you doing? You're tap dancing!"

Musical adaptation

Brooks has adapted the film into a musical of the same name. The musical premiered in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre and ran from August 7–September 1, 2007.[10] The musical opened on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre on November 8, 2007 and closed on January 4, 2009.[11]




Other Honors

American Film Institute recognition


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Young Frankenstein is a 1974 film about Dr. Frankenstein's grandson who, after years of living down the family reputation, inherits granddad's castle and repeats the experiments.

Directed by Mel Brooks. Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks.
The scariest comedy of all time!


Dr. Frederick Frankenstein

  • I am not a Frankenstein. I'm a Fronkensteen.
  • From that fateful day when stinking bits of slime first crawled from the sea and shouted to the cold stars, "I am man!", our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality. But tonight, we shall hurl the gauntlet of science into the frightful face of death itself. Tonight, we shall ascend into the heavens. We shall mock the earthquake. We shall command the thunders, and penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself.
  • [When reminded of his grandfather's story]My grandfather's work was doo-doo!
  • [Seeing monster move] Alive! It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!!!
  • [Trying to make monster live] LIFE, DO YOU HEAR ME?! GIVE MY CREATION LIFE!!!!
  • SedaGIVE?!!?!


  • [When called "eee-gore"] No, it's pronounced, "Eye-gore".
  • Blucher!! [horses whinny]
  • I heard the strangest music from the upstairs kitchen and I just... followed it down. Call it... a hunch. [makes rimshot noise]


  • Inspector Kemp: A riot is an ungly thing... undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun.


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?

Inga: Werewolf!
Dr. Frankenstein: Werewolf?
Igor: There.
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: [shrugs] Suit yourself. I'm easy.

Dr. Frankenstein: You know, I'm a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.
Igor: What hump?

Dr. Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.
Inga: His veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould all have to be increased in size.
Dr. Frankenstein: Precisely.
Inga: [her eyes get wide] He vould have an enormous schwanzschtücker.
Dr. Frankenstein: [ponders this a moment] That goes without saying.
Inga: Voof.
Igor: He's going to be very popular.

Dr. Frankenstein: [To Igor] Igor, may I speak to you for a moment?
Igor: Of course.
Dr. Frankenstein: Sit down, won't you?
Igor: Thank you. [Igor sits on the floor]
Dr. Frankenstein: No no, up here.
Igor: Thank you. [Igor sits on a chair]
Dr. Frankenstein: Now... that brain that you gave me... was it Hans Delbruck's?
Igor: [Crosses arms] No.
Dr. Frankenstein: [Holds up hand] Ah. Good. Uh... would you mind telling me... whose brain... I did put in?
Igor: And you won't be angry?
Dr. Frankenstein: I will not be angry.
Igor: [Shrugs] Abby someone.
Dr. Frankenstein: Abby someone? Abby who?
Igor: Abby Normal.
Dr. Frankenstein: [Slightly angry] Abby Normal?
Igor: I'm almost sure that was the name. [He and Dr. Frankenstein laugh]
Dr. Frankenstein: Are you saying... [Stands] that I put an abnormal brain... [Puts hand on Igor's hump] into a 7 and a half foot long... 54- inch wide... [Grabs Igor by throat] GORILLA?!?!?! [Strangling Igor] IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE TELLING ME!?!

Dr. Frankenstein: [to The Monster] This is a nice boy. This is a good boy. This is a mother's angel. And I want the world to know once and for all, and without any shame, that we love him. I'm going to teach you. I'm going to show you how to walk, how to speak, how to move, how to think. Together, you and I are going to make the greatest single contribution to science since the creation of fire.
Inga: [from outside] Dr. Fronkensteen! Are you all right?

Igor: You know, I'll never forget my old dad. When these things happened to him, the things he'd say to me...
Dr. Frankenstein: What would he say?
Igor: "What the hell are you doing in the bathroom day and night!? Why don't you get out of there, give someone else a chance!" [goes back to eating]

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