Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday! Today, I wanted to talk about the horror-comedy classic, Young Frankenstein. It’s one of the greatest horror parodies ever made, and I’ve seen it WAY too many times.
(Trivia provided by IMDb.com)
- During filming, Marty Feldman (Igor) would constantly shift his hump back and forth. He did this for several days until the other cast members finally noticed. It was then added to the script that Frederick (Gene Wilder) noticed Igor’s hump was on the wrong side.
- Gene Hackman was originally uncredited for his role as the blind man. His final line, “I was gonna make espresso” was ad-libbed by Hackman. The crew started laughing so the scene had to fade out immediately after Hackman said that line.
- During the film’s production, Gene Wilder and the film’s director Mel Brooks got into a huge fight. Brooks lost his temper, screamed, raged, and stormed out of Wilder’s apartment. About ten minutes later, Mel called Wilder and said, “Who was that madman you had in your house? I could hear the yelling all the way over here. You should never let crazy people into your house, don’t you know that? They could be dangerous!” According to Wilder, that was Mel’s way of apologizing.
- Gene Wilder was the one who asked Mel Brooks not to appear in the film. Brooks is well known for appearing in his own films, but Wilder didn’t want the illusion of this film to be ruined. Though he doesn’t appear on camera in the film, Brooks’ presence is still there, in the form of: the howling wolf, Frederick’s Grandfather, and the shrieking cat.
- The whole cast and Mel Brooks had so much fun filming, they were so upset when principal photography was almost done. Mel remedies this by adding scene just so they could continue filming.
- The scene that required the most takes was when Igor bites Elizabeth’s (Madeline Kahn) animal wrap. Marty kept getting clumps of fur in his mouth and the other actors kept laughing and breaking character.
- During her first encounter with The Monster (Peter Boyle), Elizabeth was originally supposed to sing Cheek To Cheek (Heaven, I’m In Heaven). However, Madeline Kahn felt whatever she sang should start with “Oh” or “Ah”, so she asked Mel if she could change the song to Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life.
- Mel Brooks originally wanted to cut out the “walk this way… this way” scene because he thought it was too corny. Not only was the scene positively received by audiences, Steven Tyler supposedly got the inspiration for Aerosmith’s song, Walk This Way, from the film.
- Gene Hackman wanted to try comedy, so when he heard about the film from Gene Wilder, he requested a role and offered to play the blind man for free.
- Real skulls (except the one labeled ‘six months dead’, that one was hand-crafted) were used for the skulls that Frederick and Inga (Teri Garr) come across under the castle.
- For the “Puttin on The Ritz” scene, no one knew what The Monster should say. On the spot, Peter Boyle decided to just scream “Puiin on da reez!”
- According to Cloris Leachman, Gene Wilder broke character and ruined takes more than anyone. She stated, “He killed every take (with his laughter) and nothing was done about it!”
- When Frederick leans in to kiss Elizabeth, Madeline Kahn ad-libbed her “no tongues” quip. Gene Wilder took the request literally and held his tongue still and didn’t move it at all. He didn’t even move his tongue after the cameras stopped rolling.
- There were some make-up continuity errors with the blind man scene. So, some shots had to be filmed again. As a result, the hand that spills hot soup on The Monster’s lap was Mel Brooks’ hand, not Gene Hackman’s.
- During the villagers’ meeting, one of the authority figures states that they already know what Frederick is up to based on five previous experiences. This is a reference towards the first five Universal films.