Young Frankenstein, Blu-ray (1974)

by | Oct 22, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Young Frankenstein, Blu-ray (1974)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn
Director: Mel Brooks
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment 2253319
Video: 1.85:1 widescreen 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1; French, Spanish and English mono
Extras: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Photo Galleries, Interviews, Isolated Score Track
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese
Feature Length: 105 minutes
Rating: *****

Young Frankenstein very well may be Mel Brook’s masterpiece; the film offers a superbly comedic tale that’s a hoot of a twist on the Frankenstein story, and offers some really great acting and some of Brook’s all-time best writing. The incredibly diverse cast offers up a non-stop fest of yucks that just keep coming, and the incredible performances by Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Peter Boyle (as the Monster) offer a veritable clinic on great comedy done well! And Gene Hackman’s classic cameo as the blind man who befriends the monster may be the funniest moment in the entire film! Mel Brooks was even savvy enough to employ many of the original 1931 Frankenstein location sets, as well as the original lab equipment and props, and the black and white cinematography is the icing on a truly authentic piece of magnificent satire.

The Blu-ray disc sports an exceptionally good video transfer, complete with all the film grain and excessive maladies that Mel Brooks included in the film to give it such an air of nostalgic authenticity. While the image quality will never rate among the very best available, the image deficiencies are mostly by design, and this transfer easily bests any previously available version. The audio is also an improvement over the original mono – which is still available as an option – and adds a more focused soundfield with a tad more “oomph” than the original. Not much is going on in the surrounds, but the sound is more than serviceable for a film that’s mostly dialogue driven, anyway. The Blu-ray also boasts an impressive array of bonus materials, including a pretty entertaining commentary track with Mel Brooks, interviews with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman and Cloris Leachman and a seemingly endless selection of featurettes.

I’d been warned in advance of possible playback problems, and while the disc did have a slightly slower than average load time, I had no problems during playback with my second-generation Samsung player, and was able to access all the disc’s menus and features without incident. This movie is an undeniable classic, and this superb Blu-ray disc offers it in a magnificently entertaining package. Very highly recommended!

— Tom Gibbs 

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