Movie Lists: Gene Wilder

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Gene Wilder shrieking “Give my creation, life!” in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).

Welcome to another edition of MOVIE LISTS, the column where you’ll find lists of odds and ends about movies.  Today, we look at films starring Gene Wilder.

Wilder, who passed away on August 29, 2016, was one of the most popular comic actors on the planet between 1974-1982.  Here is a partial list of his film credits:

THE PRODUCERS (1967)- Leo Bloom- if you’ve seen this Mel Brooks comedy, you’ll remember Wilder as the neurotic producer who can’t handle it when the sure-fire flop he and co-producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) plan— a musical about Hitler— becomes a surprise hit.  Wilder at his unstable best.

START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME (1970) –  Claude/Philippe – Having fun with Donald Sutherland during the French Revolution.

WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) – Willy Wonka – Wilder is excellent in the lead in this Roald Dahl fantasy.  I believe this is the first Gene Wilder movie I ever saw, although it’s not the movie that made me a fan.  That would happen with YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK (1972)- Doctor Ross.  Wilder is hilarious here as a man who falls in love with a sheep in this wacky yet uneven Woody Allen comedy.  I saw this years after it came out, probably in the early 1980s when I was in college.

BLAZING SADDLES (1974) – Jim – another Gene Wilder/Mel Brooks classic that I didn’t see until years after its release, again in the early 1980s.  I was only 10 in 1974, and BLAZING SADDLES was Rated R, which meant it was off limits to me.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)- Dr. Frederick Frankenstein – this one I did see shortly after it came out, as it was rated PG, and it’s the movie that made me a lifelong Gene Wilder fan.  So many amazing memorable moments in the movie, generated by Wilder and the entire cast, and of course writer/director Mel Brooks.  Among my favorite Wilder bits:  “You just made a yummy sound,” “Put the candle back,”   and “I thought I told you never to disturb me while I’m working!”  

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Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).  Hello, handsome!

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES’ SMARTER BROTHER (1975)- Sigerson Holmes- Funny film, but tried too hard to follow the same formula as YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with inferior results.  Wilder’s directorial debut.

SILVER STREAK (1976) – George- Wilder’s first pairing with Richard Pryor.  Probably my second favorite Gene Wilder movie behind YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.

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Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder

THE WORLD’S GREATEST LOVER (1977) -Rudy Hickman- Not one of my favorites.  This was the second film Wilder directed, after THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES’ SMARTER BROTHER. The jokes just aren’t as sharp this time around.

THE FRISCO KID (1979)- Avram-  This has always been one of my favorite Gene Wilder roles and movies.  Wilder plays a rabbi on an adventure in the wild west in this unlikely charmer by director Robert Aldrich.  Co-starring Harrison Ford.

STIR CRAZY (1980) – Skip Donahue – Wilder’s second pairing with Richard Pryor might be their funniest.  Directed by Sidney Poitier.

HANKY PANKY (1982) – Michael Jordon – Wilder co-stars with future wife Gilda Radner in this box office disaster originally written to feature both Wilder and Richard Pryor again.  Once more directed by Sidney Poitier.  Wilder considered this to be one of his worst movies.

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Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder

THE WOMAN IN RED (1984) – Teddy Pierce – Another one of my favorites.  Wilder becomes obsessed with a beautiful woman in red played by Kelly LeBrock in this amiable romantic comedy.  Co-starring Charles Grodin and Gilda Radner.  Wilder directed and co-wrote this remake of a French movie, which might be his best directorial effort.

HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1986) – Larry Abbot-  Wilder once more directs himself and wife Gilda Radner, in what would be both his final directorial effort and last movie that he and Radner made together.  Not surprisingly, this unfunny film bombed at the box office.

SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (1989) – Dave Lyons-  Wilder’s third pairing with Richard Pryor, directed by Arthur Hiller, who also directed Wilder’s/Pryor’s first pairing, SILVER STREAK.  Early film role for Kevin Spacey.

ANOTHER YOU (1991)- George/Abe Fielding – Wilder’s fourth and final movie with Richard Pryor.  This was also Wilder’s final theatrical release.  He would make four more movies, all of them made for TV.

Okay, there you have it, a partial list of the movies starring Gene Wilder.

Gene Wilder – June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

Thanks for reading everybody, and I’ll see you again next time for another MOVIE LISTS column where we’ll look at more odds and ends from the movies.

—Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)

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Some of the funniest conversations in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) occur between Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and Igor (Marty Feldman).

Some of the funniest conversations in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) occur between Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and Igor (Marty Feldman).

MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN   (1974)

By

Michael Arruda

It’s one of the funniest movies of all time, and it’s the subject of today’s MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES column, the column where we look at fun quotes from some memorable movies.  The film is YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Mel Brooks’ hilarious spoof of the old Universal Frankenstein movies.  It’s absolutely hilarious and works on every level. Nearly every joke works.

Seriously, there are so many memorable lines from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, there’s not enough space in one column to cover them all.  We will definitely have to re-visit YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN in future MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES columns.

Some of the best lines are between Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and Igor (Marty Feldman), and so in this column we’ll focus on the conversations between these two characters.

Here’s a look at some memorable lines from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, screenplay by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder:

 

When Dr. Frankenstein and Igor first meet, they have this discussion regarding their names:

IGOR: Dr. Frankenstein…

DR. FRANKENSTEIN:  Fronkensteen.

IGOR:  You’re putting me on.

DR. FRANKENSTEIN:  No, it’s pronounced “Fronkensteen.”

IGOR:  Do you also say “Froaderick”?

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: No… “Frederick.”

IGOR:  Well, why isn’t it “Froaderick Fronkensteen”?

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: It isn’t. It’s “Frederick Fronkensteen.”

IGOR:  I see.

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: You must be Ee-gor.

IGOR;  No, it’s pronounced “eye-gor.”

DR. FRANKENSTEIN:  But they told me it was “ee-gor.”

IGOR:  Well, they were wrong then, weren’t they?

 

And later, this funny bit in a horse and wagon with Dr. Frankenstein, Igor, and Victor’s female assistant Inga (Teri Garr) on their way to the castle:

 

(A wolf howls)

INGA:  Werewolf!

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: Werewolf?

IGOR:  There.

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: What?

IGOR:  There, wolf. There, castle.

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: Why are you talking that way?

IGOR: I thought you wanted to.

DR. FRANKENSTEIN: No, I don’t want to.

IGOR:  [shrugs] Suit yourself. I’m easy.

 

One of my favorite Igor moments in the film is when he gives this advice to Frederick Frankenstein, who’s sad that his initial experiment to create life has failed.

IGOR: You know, I’ll never forget my old dad. When these things would happen to him… the things he’d say to me.

FRANKENSTEIN: What did he say?

IGOR:  “What the hell are you doing in the bathroom day and night? Why don’t you get out of there and give someone else a chance?”

Igor then returns to eating silently.

 

A bit later at the dinner table:

IGOR: (referring to the dessert): What is this?

FRANKENSTEIN: Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte.

THE MONSTER (off-camera): Mmmmm!

FRANKENSTEIN:  Oh, do you like it? I’m not partial to desserts myself, but this is excellent.

IGOR:  Who are you talking to?

FRANKENSTEIN: To you. You just made a yummy sound, so I thought you liked the dessert.

IGOR:  I didn’t make a yummy sound. I just asked you what it is.

FRANKENSTEIN:  But you did. I just heard it.

IGOR:  It wasn’t me.

INGA:  It wasn’t me.

FRANKENSTEIN:  Well, now look here. If it wasn’t you, and it wasn’t you…

THE MONSTER (off-camera):  Mmmmmm!

 

Here is one of the most famous exchanges in the film, the classic bit where Dr. Frankenstein finds out just what kind of brain Igor has collected for him:

FRANKENSTEIN:  Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck’s?

IGOR (pauses): No.

FRANKENSTEIN: Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I did put in?

IGOR:  Then you won’t be angry?

FRANKENSTEIN: I will not be angry.

IGOR:  Abby someone.

FRANKENSTEIN: Abby someone. Abby who?

IGOR:  Abby… Normal.

FRANKENSTEIN: Abby Normal?

IGOR:  I’m almost sure that was the name.

FRANKENSTEIN (chuckles): Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide gorilla?

(Grabs Igor and starts shaking and strangling him.).  Is that what you’re telling me?

 

And to finish, one of my favorite silly bits in the whole movie:

IGOR:  Where are you going?

FRANKENSTEIN:  To wash up. I’ve got to look normal.  (As he says this, his bow tie pops open, making him look ridiculous.) We’ve all of us got to behave normally.

 

And that’s it for now. We’ll re-visit YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN in a future column.

Thanks for joining me today, and I’ll see you next time on another edition of MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

 

YOUR MOVIE LISTS: MEL BROOKS

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Mel Brooks in SILENT MOVIE (1976)

Mel Brooks in SILENT MOVIE (1976)

YOUR MOVIE LISTS: Mel Brooks By Michael Arruda

Welcome to another edition of YOUR MOVIE LISTS, that column where you’ll find lists of various odds and ends pertaining to the movies. Today we look at the films of Mel Brooks.

Mel Brooks is one of my favorite comedic filmmakers. His zany inane in-your-face style often reminds me of The Three Stooges.

Here’s a list of movies written and directed by Brooks, famous for his film parodies.

THE PRODUCERS (1967) – It’s “Springtime For Hitler” in this Brooks farce about two conniving producers played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder who set out to make a fortune by producing a sure-fire flop. Also features Dick Shawn and Kenneth Mars. Brooks’ screenplay won an Oscar.

THE TWELVE CHAIRS (1970) – Brooks’ comedy about a treasure hunt in Russia stars Ron Moody, Frank Langella, and Dom DeLuise.

BLAZING SADDLES (1974) – Brooks first megahit, this western spoof famous for its off-color raunchy humor and in-your-face slapstick gags stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Mel Brooks.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) – Mel Brooks’ spoof of the Universal Frankenstein movies is my all-time favorite Mel Brooks movie, and one of my favorite comedies period. Everything works: the jokes, the performances, the Puttin’ on the Ritz song and dance number, nothing misfires. Starring Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein—er, that’s Fron-kon- steen— Peter Boyle as the Monster, Marty Feldman as Igor— that’s pronounced Eye-gor—Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, Teri Garr as Inga, and Kenneth Mars as the one-armed Inspector. Nonstop laughs from beginning to end. Used the original FRANKENSTEIN lab equipment from the 1931 Karloff film. 1974 was quite the year for Brooks, as he made both this movie and BLAZING SADDLES in the one year! The screenplay by Brooks and Gene Wilder was nominated for an Oscar.

SILENT MOVIE (1976) – Brooks’ spoof of silent movies received less fanfare than his previous two hits and is a bit more uneven, but it’s still one of my favorite Mel Brooks movies. Stars Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, and Sid Caesar, with lots of cameos.

HIGH ANXIETY (1977) – Brooks’ spoof of Hitchcock movies failed to really catch on with audiences, but again, for me, this is another of my favorite Brooks movies. Love the PSYCHO and THE BIRDS sequences. Starring Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Harvey Korman.

HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART 1 (1981) – the first Mel Brooks movie that I wasn’t crazy about. The humor just didn’t work for me here in this tale chronicling key events from world history. Includes the usual Mel Brooks cast: Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Harvey Korman, and Cloris Leachman.

SPACEBALLS (1987) – Brooks’ spoof of STAR WARS and other science fiction movies isn’t bad, but it’s not as spot-on as his earlier works. Featuring John Candy as Barf, Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet, and Mel Brooks as Yogurt.

LIFE STINKS (1991) – Brooks’ misfire about a wealthy man who makes a bet that he can live on the streets as a homeless person for a month. Has its moments.

ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993) – a spoof of — Robin Hood movies? I didn’t know this was even a genre. What this film mostly spoofs is the Kevin Costner film ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES (1991) a film that today most people have already forgotten and so lots of the jokes here fall flat. Mildly funny movie, nowhere near as sharp as Brooks’ earlier works.

DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT (1995) – Brooks’ spoof of Dracula movies. Unlike YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, where Brooks parodied many key scenes from the original Universal series, he doesn’t do that here. The look of this one resembles the Christopher Lee Hammer Dracula series. Yet Brooks doesn’t make specific reference to them. With Leslie Nielsen as Dracula and Mel Brooks as Van Helsing, this one had lots of potential but simply forgot to be funny.

Mel Brooks was born on June 28, 1926. As of this writing, he’s 88 years-old.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael    

Movie Meals to Cure the Thanksgiving Blues

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"Maybe I should just serve myself?"  ---the Monster (Peter Boyle) tries unsuccessfully to have some soup served to him by the Blind Hermit (Gene Hackman) in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).

“Maybe I should just serve myself?” —the Monster (Peter Boyle) tries unsuccessfully to have some soup served to him by the Blind Hermit (Gene Hackman) in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).

THANKSGIVING – Movie Meals for the Birds

By

Michael Arruda

 

 

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, that holiday where we get together with our families and pause to reflect on what we’re thankful for this year, remembering as we do so the Pilgrims from 1620 who began the tradition so many centuries ago.  Okay, most of us don’t remember that far back, but that’s the idea. 

 

What this really means for most of us today is a day off, a day to spend with family, eat lots of food, especially the traditional roast turkey, and watch NFL football games.  Not a bad day all around.

 

Of course, if you’re like me, no matter how happy the holidays are supposed to be, for some reason or other, melancholy seeps in.  It could be something specific and immediate, like an argument with a family member, or it could be something more long term, like mourning the loss of a loved one, or looking back at a year— or years— that really have been a struggle.

 

Believe me, I’ve been there, and sometimes it’s difficult to shake off that feeling of melancholy, even when surrounded by family. 

 

So, with that in mind, on this Thanksgiving week, if you find yourself down and out for whatever reason, remember, when these things happen, you’re not alone.  No one is immune from the blues.  In fact, some folks have it a lot worse, especially if they’re in a horror movie.

 

Here are some folks whose meals didn’t turn out so well, guaranteed to make you thankful that you’re not sitting in the room with them.

 

Take a look:

 

DR JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (1941) – Dr. Jekyll (Spencer Tracy) tries to explain his theory of good and evil to his dinner companions but ends up getting chastised and laughed at, not to mention it happens in front of his fiancé.  Pass the humble pie!  No thanks, I’ll just drink my Mr. Hyde potion for a nightcap, thank you very much!

 

DRACULA (1931) – Dracula (Bela Lugosi) prepares dinner for his guest Renfield (Dwight Frye) and offers him some very old wine.  Dude, Renfield, ask for the check and run.

 

KING KONG (1933) – Kong munches on some natives as he rampages through the village searching for his dinner date, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray).  Yummy!

 

JAWS (1975) – Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) gets drunk, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) asks to eat a plate of leftovers, and Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) embarrasses herself by saying to Hooper, “Martin tells me you’re into sharks.”

 

PSYCHO (1960) – Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) invites Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) to a small dinner in his back room and discusses his mother and his taxidermy hobby.  All in all, it’s a pretty successful dinner, so much so that Marion feels pretty good about herself, so good in fact that she returns to her room to relax and take a shower—-.

 

DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966) – Dracula (Christopher Lee) has been dead for ten years, but his servant has kept his castle open for guests— gee, what a nice guy!  When four guests do arrive, they are impressed by the dead Count’s hospitality, and they offer him a toast over dinner.  Before the night is over, one said guest will have his throat slit, and his blood will be used to resurrect the Count.  No one ever said a Hammer Film was subtle. 

 

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) – The Frankenstein monster (Boris Karloff) is served bread and wine by his new friend, the kind blind man, but the moment is short-lived when two hunters happen upon them and spoil the party.  For my money, this is still one of the saddest moments in horror cinema history.  Leave the friggin monster alone, already!

 

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) – In Mel Brook’s hilarious parody of the Universal Frankenstein series, the Frankenstein Monster (Peter Boyle) attempts to enjoy dinner, but his blind man friend (Gene Hackman) pours the soup onto his lap, breaks his mug of wine, and lights his thumb on fire instead of his cigar.  With friends like this—.

 

ALIEN  (1979) – The crew of the Nostromo is having a dandy old time over dinner, that is, until a baby alien decides to burst from Kane’s (John Hurt) chest.  Rolaid, anyone?

 

Have a monstrously fun Thanksgiving!

 

—Michael