Of all the Frankenstein monsters, Boyle’s creature in Young Frankenstein is certainly the funniest. Also, the best dancer. And the best lover. In Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder’s loving homage to/spoof of classic Universal horror movies, Boyle is rebuilt by the Baron’s grandson (Wilder) but accidentally given the wrong brain by Igor (Marty Feldman), who gets one from a jar he recalls was labeled, “Abby something – Abby Normal.” The scary giant seems likely to crush his creator, but the young Frankenstein wins him over with love, compassion, and showmanship.
Boyle’s heavy-booted soft-shoe routine to “Puttin’ On the Ritz” is justifiably famous, but he shines in other moments as well, whether he’s suffering from the inept hospitality of a blind hermit (Gene Hackman, in perhaps his funniest role ever) or seducing Frankenstein’s frosty fiancée (Madeline Kahn). Despite all the allusions to the original movies, Boyle isn’t really parodying Karloff: His monster is a creation all his own.
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