Tag Archives: Gene Wilder

Teri Garr Retrospective At BAM-Part II-Young Frankenstein (1974)

It takes a smart actor to play a dumb character. Teri Garr is one of those actors.

This weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music or BAM for short, is having a Teri Garr retrospective.

Earlier today, I saw Young Frankenstein (1974). A satire of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, as only Mel Brooks can conceive of, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the American grandson of the infamous scientist, Victor Frankenstein. Frederick will do anything to prove that he is not his grandfather’s grandson, but when push comes to shove, the blood and the infamous history of Frankenstein’s takes over.

Teri Garr plays Inga, Frederick’s assistant.

Inga may appear to be just a dumb blonde speaking in a faux Eastern European accent and wearing a low-cut dress, but her character is vital to Frederick’s development from the beginning of the film to the end of the film. Along with Igor (Marty Feldman), they travel with Frederick from his denial of who he is to his acceptance of his DNA and his fate. Inga also gets some of the best lines in the film, as per the scene above.

I recommend this film, if nothing else, for Teri Garr’s performance.

 

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RIP Gene Wilder

Last night, the world lost Gene Wilder, one of the greats of the comedy world.

Born to an Eastern European Jewish family who found a new home in Milwaukee, Gene Wilder (birth name Jerome Silberman) was known for playing characters that were slightly off base, a little manic and not all there sometimes.

His most famous roles range from the very 1970’s Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971) to his most famous collaborations with Mel Brooks: The Producers (1967) Young Frankenstein (1974).



In recent years, he took a step back from the spotlight, but did return to the small screen for a minor recurring role in Will And Grace in 2002 and 2003.

Off screen, colleagues and friends remembered him for being a gentle, caring human being. Married four times, his third marriage was to the late Gilda Radner, a comedy giant in her own right.

RIP Gene. Thanks for the laughs.

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Throwback Thursday- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) & Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005)

There is something about a piece candy or chocolate that will inevitably draw a child in.

Road Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a childhood fantasy. The doors to Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are about to open. 5 lucky children are about to have the experience of a lifetime.

In 1971, the book was made into a film. Gene Wilder steps into role of Willy Wonka. Playing the young boy who is worthy of the final prize is Peter Ostrum.

In 2005, director Tim Burton decided to put his own spin on the story. Renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp steps into the role that previously belonged to Gene Wilder, Freddy Highmore is the young man who is the boy who is unique among the children who have been chosen.

The 1971 film has the hallmark of a late 1960’s, early 1970’s film. Bright colors, groovy fashions and an almost joyous approach to the tender years that are our childhood. The 2005 reboot is most certainly a Tim Burton film. It has the colors, the crazy landscape and the colorful characters that usually inhabit his films.

I recommend them both.

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Throwback Thursday- Mel Brooks Double Feature- Young Frankenstein And To Be Or Not To Be

Ask any comedian over the last forty years and they will probably tell you that Mel Brooks is a comedy g-d.

On this Throwback Thursday post, I’m going to talk about Young Frankenstein And To Be Or Not To Be

Young Frankenstein

Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein. After years of trying to remove himself from his familial past, he is pulled back in and attempts to re-create his grandfather’s work. Co starring the late Peter Boyle (the monster), Marty Feldman (Igor), Teri Garr (Inga) and the late great Madeline Kahn (Elizabeth).

What can I say about this movie? It is immensely quotable and beyond funny. Brooks retains the origins of Mary Shelley’s original novel  while putting his own stamp on the story.

And now for your viewing pleasure, the trailer for Young Frankenstein:

I’m also including Putting On The Ritz, it’s the funniest scene in the film.

To Be Or Not To Be

To Be Or Not To Be is Brook’s 1983 remake of the 1942 original film starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.

Just before World War II, a Polish acting troupe led by Frederick and Anna Bronski (Brooks and his late wife, Anne Bancroft) is preparing for their next production when they learn that it has to be scrapped. The Nazis are massing on the borders of Poland.  When Anna starts receiving flowers and visits from a young Polish officer (Tim Matheson), the entire troupe becomes involved in the war.

Brooks and his collaborators kept much of the original screenplay intact while putting their own spin on the film. As he did in The Producers, Brooks taking the sting out of the Nazis (as much as one can), while pointing out the absurdity of their beliefs.  This movie is perfect and funny and always enjoyable.

I recommend both films.

 

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