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Of hermits and monsters: A scene review comparing Bride Of Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein

There was a method to Mel Brooks' madness throughout the making of 'Young Frankenstein'. I offer up one segment for your consideration.

It’s a well known fact several of the original classic Frankenstein films were used as basis for Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. He not only lifted scenes (and more) from the original, but that of  Bride Of Frankenstein, Son Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman and The Curse Of Frankenstein as well. (There were other monster movie film scenes and scenarios purloined by Brooks in addition to these.)

Being a Frankenstein buff, one of the more interesting things I’ve come across is Brooks’ gratuitous use of the hermit and the monster scenes from Bride Of Frankenstein. Gene Hackman (as “Harold”) and Peter Boyle not only act them out marvelously and with grand flair, but with loving tribute to the 1935 classic from which it was aped. Brooks was adamant about giving nods to James Whale (who was the director of the first two time-honored films) and he does an excellent job here.

It’s a kick to take in a juxtapositional viewing of the two films at the hermits’ woods-surrounded cottages. The comparisons are readily evident of mimicry. Between the two sets of hermits and monsters, there are the introductions, the monsters — unable to communicate — unintentionally leading the hermits to believe they are mute, the meals (well, in the case of Young Frankenstein, not precisely) and the drinking. Of course, there are smoking scenes, too.

While there are instances of comedy in the originals, the minor cigar drama in Bride Of Frankenstein is one of my favorites. Brooks, however, took his monster’s initiation with smoking to an entirely different level.

These comparisons are interesting from “an outsider looking in” point of view for the simple fact you witness how much Brooks wanted to pay tribute to the originals. He did it with a sense of duty (right down to the crucifix hanging on the wall) as well as with a flair for the comedic.

Take a look at the parallels in the provided videos below and you’ll see what I mean. They are rather interesting.

Also Of Interest:

  • The lost hunters who stumble across the hermit’s cabin in the woods? The tall one is none other than the great John Carradine who was uncredited in the film. Brooks even parodied Carradine’s character in the “Jack Sprat” outtake you can find on more recent copies of Young Frankenstein, but it was ultimately left on the editing room floor. (I’m rather glad of that fact. It’s a throwaway scene.)
  • Anyone notice Ave Maria playing in the background while the hermit is conversing with the monster in Bride?


Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Categories: Features, General

One Response to “Of hermits and monsters: A scene review comparing Bride Of Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein”

November 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Michael, nice summary of Brooks’ homage to Bride of Frankenstein. I knew Brooks’ was tipping his hat to the BoF but you point out many points that I had forgotten.

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