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#063 Mel Brooks: Young Frankenstein vs. Dracula: Dead and Loving It

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Mel Brooks' best and worst rated films, Young Frankenstein (1974) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), respectively. Nate is meh'd to death, Austin can't do his job right, and they both go Wilder. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992) and The Rookie (1990), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with Gene Wilder about Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, and his career:

Dracula: Dead and Loving It Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Mel Brooks' parody of the classic vampire story and its famous film adaptations.
  • Ratings: IMDb 5.8 | RT 11% C / 49% A
  • Released: 1995
  • Director: Mel Brooks
  • Writer(s): Mel Brooks & Rudy De Luca & Steve Haberman (screenplay), Rudy De Luca & Steve Haberman (story), Bram Stoker (characters)
  • Cinematographer: Michael D. O'Shea (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Big Momma's House)
  • Notable actors: Leslie Nielsen, Pete MacNicol, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck, Lysette Anthony, Harvey Korman, Mel Brooks, Mark Blankfield, Megan Cavanagh, Clive Revill, Chuck McCann, Avery Schreiber
  • Budget: $30 million
  • Box office: $10.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • For the scene in which Harker puts a stake in Lucy's heart, Mel Brooks did not tell Steven Weber that he would be subsequently covered in two hundred gallons of blood, so that his reaction would appear natural. This led him to ad-lib, "She's dead enough."
    • Much of the dialogue from the original classic Dracula (1931) picture is repeated here and spoofed. This includes the film's star Leslie Nielsen doing a spoof-impersonation of the famed Bela Lugosi.
    • Final theatrical feature film directed by Mel Brooks.
    • When Mel Brooks and the rest of the filmmakers gathered together for the first time to discuss the making of the movie, one of the early questions was should the picture be made in black-and-white, mainly because Brooks' earlier film Young Frankenstein (1974) was made in black and white in order to give the movie the feeling of the old Universal Frankenstein films. This idea was dropped, mainly because, as Steve Haberman said in the audio commentary of the film in DVD, a lot of the great Dracula movies were in color, specifically the Hammer pictures starring Christopher Lee and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).
    • The character of the gypsy woman Madame Ouspenskaya, who was portrayed by Mel Brooks' wife actress Anne Bancroft, was named after Maria Ouspenskaya, who played the character of Maleva in both The Wolf Man (1941) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943).
    • The bat transformations of Dracula were inspired by the cartoonish transformations of Bela Lugosi into a bat in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Young Frankenstein Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.0 | RT 93% C / 92% A
  • Released: 1974
  • Director: Mel Brooks
  • Writer(s): Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks (screen story and screenplay), Mary Shelley (based on characters in the novel “Frankenstein”)
  • Cinematographer: Gerald Hirshfeld (Fail-Safe, My Favorite Year, To Be or Not to Be)
  • Notable actors: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, Gene Hackman
  • Budget: $2.78 million
  • Box office: $86.2 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The Blind Man's parting line "I was gonna make espresso" was not in the script, but was ad-libbed by Gene Hackman during shooting. This is the reason for the immediate fade to black as the crew immediately erupted into fits of laughter. Hackman was uncredited when the movie was originally released in theaters. When Mel Brooks was preparing this film, he found that Ken Strickfaden, who had made the elaborate electrical machinery for the lab sequences in the Universal Frankenstein films, was still alive and in the Los Angeles area. Brooks visited Strickfaden and found that he had saved all the equipment and stored it in his garage. Brooks made a deal to rent the equipment for his film and gave Strickfaden the screen credit he'd deserved, but hadn't gotten, for the original films.
    • The shifting hump on Igor's back was an ad-libbed gag of Marty Feldman's. He had surreptitiously been shifting the hump back and forth for several days when cast members finally noticed. It was then added to the script.
    • Mel Brooks usually appeared in his own films but Gene Wilder insisted that Brooks should not appear in the film. He felt that Brooks' appearance would ruin the illusion and would only make the film if Brooks promised not to appear in it. Brooks didn't mind in the least, but did however make off-camera appearances as the howling wolf, Frederick's grandfather and the shrieking cat.
    • Mel Brooks initially thought that the "Walk this way" gag was too corny and wanted it cut from the film. But, when he saw the audience's reaction to it one night at a screening, he decided to leave it in.
    • Supposedly the scene which required the most takes to be filmed was the one in which Igor bites Elizabeth's animal wrap. The reason was because each time he did it he was left with a piece of fur in his mouth which caused the other actors to laugh hysterically.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down - Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

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