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Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy horror film directed by Mel Brooks. The screenplay was co-written by Brooks and Gene Wilder. Wilder also starred in the lead role as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Peter Boyle as the monster. The film co-stars Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, and Gene Hackman.

The film is a parody of the classic horror film genre, in particular the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus produced by Universal Pictures in the 1930s. Much of the lab equipment used as props was created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To help evoke the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black and white, a rarity in the 1970s, and employed 1930s' style opening credits and scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a period score by Brooks' longtime composer John Morris.

A critical favorite and box-office smash, Young Frankenstein ranks No. 28 on Total Film magazine's readers' "List of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time", No. 56 on Bravo's list of the "100 Funniest Movies", and No. 13 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 funniest American movies. In 2003, it was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the United States National Film Preservation Board, and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. It was later adapted by Brooks and Thomas Meehan as a stage musical. The film received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay, the latter of which was a nomination shared with Wilder and Brooks.

On its 40th anniversary, Brooks considered it by far his finest (although not his funniest) film as a writer-director.

Plot

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a lecturing physician at an American medical school and engaged to Elizabeth, a socialite. He becomes exasperated when anyone brings up the subject of his grandfather Victor Frankenstein, the infamous mad scientist with whom he does not want to be associated, and insists that his surname is pronounced "Fronkensteen". When a solicitor informs him that he has inherited his family's estate in Transylvania after the death of his great-grandfather, the Baron Beaufort von Frankenstein, Frederick travels to Europe to inspect the property. At the Transylvania train station, he is met by a hunchbacked, bug-eyed servant named Igor, whose own grandfather worked for Victor; and a beautiful, young, female assistant named Inga. Hearing that the professor pronounces his name "Fronkensteen", Igor insists that his name is pronounced "Eyegor", rather than the traditional "Eegor".

Arriving at the estate, Frederick meets Frau Blücher, the intimidating housekeeper. After discovering the secret entrance to Victor's laboratory and reading his private journals, Frederick decides to resume his grandfather's experiments in re-animating the dead. He and Igor steal the corpse of a recently executed criminal, and Frederick sets to work experimenting on the large corpse. He sends Igor to steal the brain of a deceased "scientist and saint", Hans Delbrück. Startled by his own reflection, Igor drops and ruins Delbrück's brain. Taking a second brain labeled "Abnormal", Igor returns with it, and Frederick transplants it into the corpse, thinking he has transplanted Delbrück's brain.

Frederick brings the creature to life by electrical charges during a lightning storm. The creature takes its first steps, but, frightened by Igor lighting a match, he attacks Frederick and nearly strangles him before he is sedated. Meanwhile, unaware of the creature's existence, the townspeople gather to discuss their unease at Frederick continuing his grandfather's work. Inspector Kemp, a one-eyed police official with a prosthetic arm, whose German accent is so thick that even his own countrymen cannot understand him, proposes to visit the doctor, whereupon he demands assurance that Frankenstein will not create another monster. Returning to the lab, Frederick discovers Blücher setting the creature free. She reveals the monster's love of violin music and her own romantic relationship with Frederick's grandfather. The creature is enraged by sparks from a thrown switch and escapes the castle.

While roaming the countryside, the monster has encounters with a young girl and a blind hermit, references to 1931's Frankenstein and 1935's Bride of Frankenstein, respectively. Frederick recaptures the monster and locks himself in a room with him. He calms the monster's homicidal tendencies with flattery and a promise to guide him to success, embracing his heritage as a Frankenstein. At a theater full of illustrious guests, Frederick shows "The Creature" following simple commands. The demonstration continues with Frederick and the monster, both in top hats and tuxedos, performing the musical number "Puttin' On the Ritz". A stage light suddenly explodes and frightens the monster, who furiously charges into the audience, where he is captured and chained by police. Back in the laboratory, Inga attempts to comfort Frederick, and they fornicate on the suspended reanimation table.

The monster escapes when Frederick's fiancée Elizabeth arrives unexpectedly for a visit, taking her captive as he flees. Elizabeth falls in love with the creature due to his "enormous schwanzstucker". While the townspeople hunt for the monster, Frederick plays the violin to lure his creation back to the castle and recaptures him. Just as the Kemp-led mob storms the laboratory, Frankenstein transfers some of his stabilizing intellect to the creature, who reasons with and placates the mob. Elizabeth, with her hair styled after that of the female creature from Bride of Frankenstein—marries the now erudite and sophisticated monster; while Inga, in bed with Frederick, asks what her new husband got in return during the transfer procedure. Frederick growls wordlessly and embraces Inga who, as Elizabeth did when abducted by the monster, sings the refrain "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life".

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