Sunday, January 09, 2005

Commentary Review -- Young Frankenstein

The one thing I get from any Mel Brooks commentary is that this is a man who loves people. He remembers the names of set dressers and hair stylists and what their children were like. However, there is no doubt that this is a man who understands his craft. From the quality of lighting, the speed at which a joke must be delivered, how you cut a joke; the overall beats of a film. He knows his craft inside and out. Whenever I hear him I feel like I’m in the presence of a master. He is also able to communicate the powerful need of chemistry between himself and his actors, but he directs like Tiger Woods plays golf. In some films he is the master of his game, but in others the wind is wrong, the moves won’t work, and that tenuous winning concentration is lost. It is strange to note, that you can really sense those films where Mel had it, Young Frankenstein, and where he didn’t, Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

In one of Mel Brook's stories, he discusses the creation of the exagerrated black and white film look. Gerald Hirschfeld (cinematographer) makes a brief appearance in the documentary footage, and he tells his side of he story. Was Gerald almost fired? Did he almost storm off the set? Did Mel give confusing nonsensical instructions or did Gerald willfully do what he thought best? You have to listen to both the commentary and the interview to figure it out!

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