Young Frankenstein is a perfect parody of the Universal Pictures Frankenstein films from the nineteen-thirties, and it’s my favorite Mel Brooks film. The cinematography was beautiful and lovingly crafted to capture the style of James Whale’s Frankenstein. Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder insisted that the movie was to be shot in wonderfully contrasting black and white. Original props that were nearly forty years old at the point of filming were used to add even more to the authenticity of the whole production. A perfect storm of talent existed for the writing, directing, and acting. The picture worked as both a sequel and a parody at the same time. It was a masterpiece.
If you disagree with the above, Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book: The Story of the Making of the Film is not a book you’ll probably enjoy. Also, having seen the movie is a prerequisite for this read. It is almost like a director’s commentary printed in book form. Brooks shares his personal experiences with making the film, beginning with how his partnership with Gene Wilder came together all the way through to the story’s current incarnation as a musical. There are pages full of amazing pictures from behind the scenes and production stills. There are also interviews with some actors, producers, and various other people that worked on this film. Which helped to offer unique perspectives on specific scenes or how things like the theatrical poster were made.
It is a light and quick read that you can easily polish off in one evening. The page count clocks in at one hundred and eighty-three pages with two hundred and twenty-five pictures. There is no real world drama presented in the book. The tone is very conversational throughout all the writing and interviews. It is like listening to old pals reminisce about their glory days that were filled with great friends and good fun. When I was finished with it, I walked away with even more love and appreciation for Young Frankenstein. It was “Ooper Dooper.”
Written by Mel Brooks
Foreword by Judd Apatow
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Fun Fact: The film was also known as “Frankenstein Junior” in some countries.