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).

Paper Moon

  • Directors: Peter Bogdanovich
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, Peter Bogdanovich
  • Writers: Joe David Brown, Alvin Sargent
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Ryan O Neal, Tatum O Neal, Madeline Kahn, Randy Quaid

The story follows con man Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) and young Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal), an orphaned daughter of a prostitute. Because Moses had once had an affair with her mother, there is speculation that he is in fact Addie’s father (which he denies). Moses is charged with bringing Addie to her aunt’s home. Along the way, Moses manages to con the man who hit Addie’s mother with his car into giving him two hundred dollars, claiming it’s for Addie. Addie overhears this conversation and later demands the money from him. Because he spent the money, Moses is forced to keep Addie with him until he has raised two hundred dollars to give to her. Addie soon learns how Moses makes his money – he finds recently widowed women and visits them pretending to be a Bible salesman who recently sold a Bible to the deceased husband. The widows then pay him for the book. Addie joins in the scam, pretending to be his daughter, which makes the widows more willing to pay (as it makes Moses seem more legitimate). As time passes, Moses and Addie become a formidable team and seem to forget about Addie leaving for her aunt.

At a hotel, Moses is able to find a bootlegger’s store of whiskey, steals it, and sells it back to the bootlegger. Unfortunately, the bootlegger’s brother is the sheriff, who quickly arrests Moses and Addie. Addie hides their money, steals back the key to their car, and the pair escape to Missouri, where the Kansas law can’t follow them. The sheriff finds them in Missouri however, and unable to arrest Moses, he beats and robs him. Humiliated, Moses sends Addie to her aunt’s house. Addie quickly misses Moses however and returns to him, reminding him that he still does owe her two hundred dollars.The Film was Shot in and around the St.Joseph (Missouri)/Kansas Area

Blazing Saddles

  • Directors: Mel Brooks
  • Producers: Michael Hertzberg
  • Writers: Story, Andrew Bergman, Screenplay, Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Al Uger
  • Genres: Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn

In the American Old West of 1874, construction on a new railroad runs into quicksand. The route has to be changed, which will require it to go through Rock Ridge, a frontier town where everyone has the last name of “Johnson” (including a “Howard Johnson”, a “Van Johnson” and an “Olson Johnson”.) The conniving State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) – not to be confused, as he often is in the film, with actress Hedy Lamarr – wants to buy the land along the new railroad route cheaply by driving the townspeople out. He sends a gang of thugs, led by his flunky Taggart (Slim Pickens), to scare them away, prompting the townsfolk to demand that Governor William J. LePetomane (Mel Brooks) appoint a new sheriff. The Attorney General convinces the dim-witted Governor to select Bart (Cleavon Little), a black railroad worker who was about to be hanged, as the new sheriff. Because Bart is black, Lamarr believes that this will so offend the townspeople they will either abandon the town or lynch the new sheriff.

With his quick wits and the assistance of drunken gunslinger Jim (Gene Wilder), also known as “The Waco Kid” (“I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille”), Bart works to overcome the townsfolk’s hostile reception. He defeats and befriends Mongo (Alex Karras), an immensely strong (but exceptionally dim-witted) henchman sent by Taggart, and beats German seductress-for-hire Lili von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn) at her own game, before inspiring the town to lure Lamarr’s newly-recruited and incredibly diverse army of thugs (characterized by Lamarr as ideally consisting of “rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists” in addition to nearly every other kind of stock movie villain) into an ambush. (In the later scene where Lamarr conducts his hiring event, the candidates in line for consideration include stereotypical bikers, banditos, crusaders, Nazis and Klansmen).

The film ends with Bart shooting Hedley Lamarr in the groin at the ‘premiere’ of Blazing Saddles outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, saving the town, joining Jim inside a theater to view the end of the movie, persuading people of all colors and creeds to live in harmony and, finally, riding (in a limousine) off into the sunset.

A Bug s Life

  • Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
  • Producers: Darla K Anderson, John Lasseter
  • Writers: Story, Joe Ranft, Additional Story, Gefwee Boedoe, Jason Katz, Jorgen Klubien, Robert Lence, David Reynolds Screenplay, Andrew Stanton, Don McEnery, Bob Shaw
  • Genres: Family, Animation, Comedy, Adventure
  • Actors: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Denis Leary, Phyllis Diller, Joe Ranft, David Hyde Pierce, Brad Garrett, Richard Kind, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Harris, Hayden Panettiere, Madeline Kahn, Roddy McDowall, Michael McShane, John Ratzenberger, Ashley Tisdale

A colony of ants on a small island are working to gather enough food to satisfy the extortion demands of a gang of tough grasshoppers who visit every growing season. One ant, Flik, is an inventor whose creations usually do more harm than good. While trying out a mechanical harvester, he accidentally knocks the pile of food into a stream just before the grasshoppers arrive. Their leader, Hopper, gives the ants the rest of the season to make good on what they owe, but orders a double ration of food after Flik stands up to him in defense of the Queen’s younger daughter, Dot. Flik is called before the colony’s royal council and admonished severely for his actions. Princess Atta, Dot’s older sister and the eventual successor of the current queen, is unsure about how to deal with him. When Flik suggests that he might try to recruit some “warrior bugs” to fight the grasshoppers, the council sees this idea as a chance to get him removed and enthusiastically approves. Reaching the insect “city,” built from discarded boxes and cans, Flik encounters a troupe of unemployed circus bugs whose latest performance has just ended in disaster. He mistakes them for the warriors he needs; at the same time; they believe him to be a talent scout who wants to book their act on the island. They return to the colony, much to Atta’s surprise, and are immediately greeted as heroes who can put an end to the threat posed by Hopper’s gang. Atta soon becomes suspicious after almost overhearing a conversation in which both Flik and the troupe realize their mistakes. However, after they band together to save Dot from a hungry bird, she begins to think that the troupe may be able to stop the grasshoppers after all. She also starts to fall in love with Flik.

Dot overhears the gang’s plans to kill the queen once they have all the food, and she rushes to catch up with Flik, who has left the colony with the troupe. She persuades them to return and put the bird plan into action, with help from her and some of the other young ants. The model scares the gang, and they almost retreat until P. T. intervenes and inadvertently incinerates it. Enraged, Hopper sends his crazed associate Thumper to severely injure Flik, but Flik is still able to stand up and rally the other ants, saying that the grasshoppers depend on the extorted food for their own survival. The entire colony swarms against the gang, forcing them to leave but Hopper, now obsessed with killing Flik. In his rage, he grabs Flik and flies off, evading the troupe until Atta intervenes and rescues Flik. They lure him towards the bird’s nest and get separated. Hopper finds Flik and they fight until the bird emerges. Hopper, believing this bird to be another model, taunts Flik until it picks him up and feeds him to its chicks. The ants welcome Flik back into the colony and adopt his harvester to speed up grain collection. Passing her princess crown to Dot, Atta is crowned the new queen and chooses Flik as her mate. Before the troupe can leave, they must wait for one member, Heimlich the caterpillar, to emerge from the chrysalis in which he has encased himself. He pops out with a tiny pair of butterfly wings, far too small to lift him off the ground, and the troupe (with Molt, acting as a road crew assistant) departs with the colony’s thanks.