Young Frankenstein

  • Directors: Mel Brooks
  • Producers: Michael Gruskoff
  • Writers: Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder
  • Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is a respected lecturer at an American medical school and is more or less happily (though blandly) engaged to the tightly wound Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn). Frederick becomes exasperated when anyone brings up the subject of his grandfather, the famous mad scientist, to the point of insisting that his name is pronounced “Fronk’-en-steen”.

A solicitor informs Frederick that he has inherited his family’s estate. Traveling to said estate in Transylvania, Frankenstein meets his comely new lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), along with the household servants Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman) and Igor (Marty Feldman) (who, after hearing Frederick claim his name is pronounced “Fronkensteen” counter-claims that his is pronounced “Eye’-gor.”)

Inga assists Frederick in discovering the secret entrance to his grandfather’s laboratory. Upon reading his grandfather’s private journals the doctor is inspired to resume his grandfather’s experiments in re-animating the dead. He and Igor successfully exhume and spirit away the enormous corpse of a recently executed criminal, but Igor’s attempt to steal the brain of a revered scientist from the local “brain depositary” goes awry, and he takes one labeled, “Do Not Use This Brain! Abnormal” instead.

The reassembled monster (Peter Boyle) is elevated on a platform to the roof of the laboratory during a lightning storm. The experimenters are first disappointed when the electrically charged creature fails to come to life, but the creature eventually revives. The doctor assists the monster in walking but, frightened by Igor lighting a match, it attacks Frederick and must be sedated. Upon being asked by the doctor whose brain was obtained, Igor confesses that he supplied “Abby Normal’s” brain and becomes the object of a strangulation attempt himself.

The townspeople, led by Inspector Kemp, hunt for the Monster. Desperate to get the creature back and correct his mistakes, Frederick plays music and lures the Monster back to the castle. Just as the Kemp-led mob storms the laboratory, Dr. Frankenstein transfers some of his stabilizing intellect to the creature who, as a result, is able to reason with and placate the mob. The film ends happily, with Elizabeth married to the now erudite and sophisticated Monster, while Inga joyfully learns what her new husband Frederick got in return from the Monster during the transfer procedure (the Monster’s Schwanzstück).

Saint Ralph

  • Directors: Michael McGowan
  • Producers: Teza Lawrence, Andrea Mann, Seaton McLean
  • Writers: Michael McGowan
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott

The story centers on Ralph Walker, a teenager attending a Catholic private school. His father was killed in World War II and his mother is hospitalized with an unidentified illness. Ralph is naturally prone to mischief and often finds himself an outcast among his classmates. He tries to emulate the conduct of grown ups, and is caught smoking cigarettes and masturbating by headmaster Father Fitzpatrick. Already labeled a troublemaker, Ralph is forced to join the school’s cross country team to relieve him of his excess energy.

When Ralph’s mother falls into a coma, he is told it will take a miracle for her to survive. When running coach Father Hibbert, a former world class marathoner who was forced to quit running when he injured his knee, claims it would be a miracle if a member of his team won the Boston Marathon, Ralph decides to train for it in the hope his victory would fulfill the miracle needed to save his mother’s life.

At first, Ralph cannot even keep up with his teammates in practice. He reads books to learn about running, uses the new techniques, and gradually improves. Father Hibbert decides to train him despite disapproval from Father Fitzpatrick. Ralph begins to win the respect of his classmates, and eventually wins the attention of the local media when he wins a prestigious regional race.

When Father Fitzpatrick learns Ralph intends to run the Boston Marathon, he threatens to expel him if he participates, as well as remove Father Hibbert from the priesthood should he try to interfere. Both Ralph and his mentor must then decide how deeply they believe in miracles, and what is possible when a person risks everything without promise of success.