Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Directed by Mel Brooks
Written by Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, and Mary Shelley
Starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman and Cloris Leachman
Featuring Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, Gene Hackman, Liam Dunn and Danny Goldman

It's that time of year when it's good to watch horror movies, but on the whole I don't care for them.  I don't do slasher movies or torture porn at all.  Occasionally, a movie, such as The Ring, will scare the bejesus out of me, an experience I do not relish.  It must be an age thing:  I didn't mind having the pants scared off of me when I was in my teens and early twenties.  Back then I watched Halloween and Friday the 13th (the first one), and rode home from the movies afterwards, seeing masked Michaels and Jasons behind every tree.  But nowadays, I like to remain in a calm state during and after a movie, so I was most agitated this past weekend when, for his sixteenth birthday, my son wanted me to take him and three friends to see Sinister.  As the movie was R-rated, I couldn't just drop them off; I had to go in and watch it with them.  Fortunately, the movie was rather banal and did not give me nightmares.  In any case, Arsenic and Old Lace and Ghostbusters are more my speed.

My favorite movie to watch in the weeks leading up to Halloween is Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.  A parody of 1930s classical horror flicks, the movie is filmed in black and white, and uses other classic cinema techniques of the horror genre, including scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black, and a significant period soundtrack by composer John Morris.  Dr. Victor Frankenstein's grandson (Gene Wilder), who has spent his life distancing himself from his notorious relative, even changing the pronunciation of his last name, inherits the family castle in Transylvania.  When he finds his grandfather's how-to manual for reanimating corpses, he finds he is not so different from his crazy ancestor.  With Igor (Marty Feldman) and Inga (Teri Garr) assisting him in the laboratory, he gives life to a monster (Peter Boyle) who only wants to be loved.  Following is a snippet of dialogue from the scene in which Frankenstein meets Igor.

Igor: Dr. Frankenstein...
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: "Fronkensteen."
Igor: You're putting me on.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No, it's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Igor: Do you also say "Froaderick"?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No... "Frederick."
Igor: Well, why isn't it "Froaderick Fronkensteen"?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: It isn't; it's "Frederick Fronkensteen."
Igor: I see.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You must be Igor.
[He pronounces it ee-gor]
Igor: No, it's pronounced "eye-gor."
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: But they told me it was "ee-gor."
Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren't they?

What movies do you like to watch for Halloween?  (Click here for a list of good Halloween movies.)

To order from Amazon:
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein [Blu-ray]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You Say It's Your Birthday

Today, my son's sixteenth birthday, marks the end of our birthday season, which begins September 30 with my daughter's birthday, peaks October 7 with mine, and closes on October 10.  (My husband is off by himself back in the middle of June.)  September and October tend to have more births than other months; no surprise there as the winter holiday season is nine months earlier.  If you are celebrating a birthday, you might enjoy one of these birthday movies.  You might enjoy one if you aren't celebrating a birthday.
  1. The Little Princess (1939).  Shirley Temple is Sarah who learns on her eleventh birthday that her father has been killed in the Second Boer War; as a result she is banished the to the servants' quarters of the boarding school she attends.
  2. Dumbo (1941).  A stork delivers an adorable big-eared baby elephant to its circus elephant mama.
  3. Sleeping Beauty (1959).  Maleficent lays this curse on Sleeping Beauty on her first birthday:  She will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die before her sixteenth birthday.
  4. The Birds (1963).  Cathy's eleventh birthday party is crashed by a flock of crazed seagulls.
  5. Harold and Maude (1971).  Maude's plan for her eightieth birthday is in direct opposition to Harold's plan to propose to this animated woman he's known for only a couple of days.
  6. Sixteen Candles (1984).  John Hughes' classic coming-of-age movie centers on Samantha (Molly Ringwald) whose entire family has forgotten her sixteenth birthday.
  7. Uncle Buck (1989).  The french toast I made for my son this morning can't hold a candle to the giant birthday pancake Buck (John Candy) makes for nephew Miles (Macaulay Culkin).
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).  On his eleventh birthday Harry receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  9. Signs (2002).  Morgan's seventh birthday is ruined by an uninvited extraterrestrial guest.
  10. 13 Going on 30 (2004).  I love this chick flick version of Big.  On her thirteenth birthday, unpopular Jenna wishes to fast forward to 30.  When 30-year-old Jenna (Jennifer Garner) awakes, she remembers nothing of the past 17 years.

To order these movies from Amazon, click on the links below.
 The Little Princess
Dumbo (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack in Blu-ray Packaging)
Sleeping Beauty (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)
Sleeping Beauty (Two-Disc Platinum Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live) [Blu-ray]
The Birds (Collector's Edition)
The Birds [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary)
Harold and Maude (Criterion Collection)
Harold and Maude (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Sixteen Candles (High School Reunion Collection)
Sixteen Candles (Universal 100th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Uncle Buck
 Uncle Buck [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy]
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Two-Disc Special Widescreen Edition) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [Blu-ray]
 Signs [Blu-ray]
13 Going on 30 (Fun & Flirty Edition)
The White Album