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Young Frankenstein

Nutshelled in a four-star review by the late great Roger Ebert as “not only a Mel Brooks movie but also a loving commentary on our love-hate affairs with monsters,” 1974’s Young Frankenstein earned both critical acclaim and cult classic status while achieving something even rarer: a comedic remix drawn from both Mary Shelley’s early 19th-century novel Frankenstein and director James Whale’s 1931 cinematic adaptation of the same name (not to mention the 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein). Shot entirely in black-and-white (a stylistic gamble Columbia Studios tried desperately to prevent) in homage to Depression-era horror classics, the film stars Gene Wilder (who doubled as co-writer) as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein — a character The New York Times once described as “a marvelous addled mixture of young Tom Edison, Winnie-the-Pooh, and your average Playboy reader with a keen appreciation of beautiful bosoms.” Upon the passing of his mad scientist great-grandfather, Frederick inherits the family homestead in Transylvania — complete with hunchbacked servant Igor (Marty Feldman), sexy lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr) and bizarre housekeeper Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman). Although previously intent on distancing himself from his great-grandfather’s practice of reanimating corpses, Frederick has a change of heart after discovering a handy instructional book (titled How I Did It) and gets to work on his own monster (Peter Boyle). Having inspired everything from Aerosmith’s hit “Walk This Way” to a big-budget Broadway musical, the comic masterpiece gets revived as part of Texas Public Radio’s Cinema Tuesdays series.

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