Response to Young Frankenstein
However, Mel Brooks film is a parody, since it has a plot somewhat similar to the book but was designed to be comical and even at points ridicule her work with comical situations or puns and one-liners. In the beginning of the movie, Mel Brooks insults the intelligence of Frankenstein by making the personality of the protagonist that of a fool. Due to Frederick’s pride, he calls himself “Frankensteen” and everyone thinks he is mentally challenged, not including his assistant, which is not the brightest assistant ever.
Needless to say, the film is full of comical puns, but the first and remarkable pun is when Inga, Fredrick’s assistant played by Teri Garr, says to him as a wolf howls in the distance, “That is a werewolf” and Fredrick replies with concern while pointing at towards the direction of the howl, “A werewolf? ” Then Igor (played by Marty Feldman), Fredrick’s assistant, unaware of the nature of the conversation answers, “No, there wolf, there castle. ” thinking that he had gotten the directions mixed up.
There were many other comical instances but Mel Brooks does not dare to stray too much from the original text and in some way reminds us of Mary Shelly. Brooks does extract some parts of the book and uses them in his movie. A good example of this is the character Elizabeth, which is the same name as the sister and one-day bride of the real Frankenstein. Even though, her character was not all like Elizabeth’s and her personality was quite peculiar and materialistic, she was Frederick fiancee. Another crucial part f the movie is when Fredrick discovers how to bestow life to inanimate objects. At the beginning of the movie, the protagonist did not believe that he was able to reanimate objects, and doubted every single possibility, however, when by the acts of Frau Blucher, played by Cloris Leachman, he learns of his grandfather’s book on how to make the creature, and reads in a loud voice, “After days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter. In the original text, this is where Frankenstein tells us, without detail, how he created the creature, and as all the other previous Frankensteins, he is bound to create a creature too. A very important style of writing is illustrated in the movie too. This film was produced in 1974, when color was available and Mel Brooks had the option to produce it in color, but that would have ruined the gothic element of darkness and mystery which Mary Shelley illustrated numerous times throughout her book.
However, as Brooks attempts to recreate a comical version of the film, he forms an additional ending and reverses some of the situations in the film. In the Mary Shelley’s book, it is the monster who desires the love of his creator, and it is he who wants to be integrated in man’s society, but in the film Young Frankenstein, it is his creator who seeks the monster’s attention, doesn’t want to see his creation harmed; and wants to integrate him into society.
The creature’s perspective is also changed and he loves music, it hypnotizes him, which might ridicule the romantic element, love of nature, in Shelley’s masterpiece, making the monster vulnerable to music rather than nature. Also, towards the end of the play, instead of the creator and the creature dying like in the book, Brooks decides to let the protagonist and the monster have a happy-ever-after. Fredrick’s love towards the creature was so great that he decides to give part of his brain so that the creature could express himself and not be feared by everyone like he was before.
This resolves the major conflict in the film but completely leaves out the climax of the book. Needless to say, the audience has dirty minds and Brooks takes advantage of this to make them laugh. He makes a few dirty puns and situations that make the spectators laugh, and inserts many other non-dirty puns in his plot too. One of them is when Fredrick is scared by Igor’s eyes and says, “Damn your eyes! ” and Igor, with his eyeballs looking at different direction replies, “Too late. ” The director makes sure to leave a one-liner that is remembered throughout the movie every time that a person mentions the name, “Frau Blucher”.
Every time that phrase is spoken, somewhere, inside or outdoors, some horses whine, making it seem like a bad omen. Furthermore, in Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, the law does persecute the monster but the inspector that is chasing him has a speech disorder or strong accent that makes it very hard to understand him and he has a prosthetic arm that always gets stuck and gives him a hard time moving it. These comical situations never fail to make the audience laugh. Even though Mel Brooks somewhat copies Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, he ridicules her work by lowering the intellectual language, characters’ position, and providing dirty instances.
He does succeed in getting the audience to laugh and be entertained. However, if viewed in a different perspective, Mel Brooks also pays his respect to Mary Shelley in homage by providing some of the original text and finding a way of reminding the audience that Mary Shelley is the one who should be getting applauses too. Mel Brooks advertises Mary Shelley’s work because if you at some parts do not understand the film, you would have to read the original book first. Brooks creates a situation where both he and Shelley win by getting more views of the film and more people to read her book.