Favorite Shocktober Scene Theater: Young Frankenstein (1974)
This is arguably the funniest — and most important — scene in Mel Brook’s YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, or at least it’s the funniest scene to me among so many. Pauline Kael once predicted that Gene Wilder’s slow burn to hysteria would become a comedy standard and she was right. This must be Brook’s best written (with Wilder) and directed film; the beautiful black and white cinematography forces Brook’s usual chaotic comedy into a neater structure. The whole cast is a triumph, and who would have thunk of Peter Boyle as the perfect tap-dancing sympathetic monster? I think this scene is possibly Gene Wilder’s best controlled hysteria and when I had the soundtrack LP with dialogue, I would replay this over and over again. Brooks and Wilder truly “got” the Universal horror genre, which helped make YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN an instant comedy classic. And Brooks even made sure the studio placed big color ads in the pages of “Famous Monsters of Filmland.” A Monster Mensch.