Frankenstein Young and Old

Mel Brook’s satirical tribute to the Frankenstein movie tradition is one of the funniest movies ever made. It is also a canny “reading” of its two most famous film predecessors: James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) and campy sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Whale’s Frankenstein films still loom large in our images of Shelley’s monster and its creator. And in fact, without knowing these two films one misses half the humor of Brooks’s joyful parody, which uses some of the same old movie sets and (rediscovered) laboratory equipment. We’ll first watch selected clips from Whale’s two great films, and also briefly consider the origins of Mary Shelley’s novel along with its theatrical progress from stage to screen. And then we’ll laugh our heads off.