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Audio Study Of Young Frankenstein

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Young Frankenstein, written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, was released in 1974. This is a film spoofing old horror movies, specifically the Frankenstein movies of the early 30's. The film is shot entirely in black and white, and takes place almost entirely in Transylvania. Honored with a 1975 Oscar nomination for best sound for sound crew Richard Portman and Gene Cantamessa. This movie is arguably one of Mel Brook's best. It has style, flair, romance, suspense, and above all, great comedy. It has some good Foley, great dialog, and fitting music. The music is often non-diagetic, but there is one song in particular that almost takes the form of a character. The rest of the music can be described as either mickey mousing or what I call emotional interpretation. I normally don't like mickey mousing, but for some reason in this film, it works. Perhaps it is because it feeds the never ending comedic tone. The "emotional interpretation" score can be described as a musical score that is specifically meant to convey the current emotion of a particular character or set of characters to the audience. The dialog is edgy, with an Ð''in your face' quality, that almost feels like its distorting at times. And maybe it is. There are several sync problems in the film, probably due to the equipment. If I had to guess, I'd say that over half of the dialog is actual production dialog. I get the impression that they wanted to avoid post audio as much as possible.

-The Opening Credits/Baron's Coffin

Film starts off with the 20th century fox logo/fanfare. It is in black and white, and the audio is made to sound like an old tape recording. The first thing we hear is the beginning of the ominous score of John Morris, as " A Mel Brooks Film" is displayed across the screen. This leads into the Title display, accented by the first of many Thunder/lightning effects used in the film. The thunder sound is most likely a copycat of the original sound used in the classic Frankenstein movies, a very high attack sound, like a bat hitting a large thin sheet of metal. It is a sound meant to startle, and it proves effective, but becomes repetitive.

The credits for this film are in the beginning rather than the end, and are presented with a touch of old-style script. The score transitions into the "theme song" of the film, a stirring piece of violin music that very much becomes a part of the narrative. The background for the credits is a static shot of the Frankenstein castle that slowly (dollies) in. The score transitions once more to a full orchestral version of the theme song.

After the DP's name is displayed, the scene dissolves into the outer entrance to the castle, a beautiful set designed by Dale Hennesy. It is pouring rain, and the score is nothing but a suspenseful low percussion roll beneath the violin. The credits still roll as the camera pans left and dollies towards one of the windows in the castle. The full orchestra has on more dynamic flourish as Mel Brooks' director credit appears on the screen ( Not a coincidence), and then fades away in another thunder crash. At the same time as the thunder crash, the picture transitions into the castle, where we see a grandfather clock striking 12. The first chime and the thunder crash as laid over each other, a nice transition. The clock continues to chime, as the camera pans away from it. It is worth noting that the sound of the clock chiming is not accurate to the size of the clock. This could merely be a desire to make the clock seem larger than it is, or to give the audience a sense of the large space they are in. Of course there could also be a larger bell tower in the castle chiming instead of the clock that we see in frame.

The camera moves past a gently (and silently) burning fireplace. The only sound is from the chiming of the clock. As the camera continues moving a coffin comes into view. There is a slow tracking shot circling the coffin closely. The rain can be heard pelting the windows outside. The camera moves up to show the top of the closed casket, with the name Baron Von Frankenstein is written in metal letters across the top. As the final bell chime fades away, and we are left with nothing but the soft patter of the rain, the top of the coffin suddenly flies open. The sound it makes isn't realistic, as it comes in two parts: a bang, like someone hit the casket with a baseball bat, followed by a the actual sound of the casket opening and over extending its hinges. The decaying remains that lie within the coffin clutch a box adorned with the family crest. A shadow looms over, then hands enter frame, reaching for the box. As the figure attempts to free the box from the clutches of the corpse, there are several clunking sounds that I can only assume are to accent the movement of the box. Honestly, these sounds are unnecessary and over the top. There is a nice crack when the box is dropped, when the figure realizes that he might be pulling the arms off of the corpse. Then he reaches in again, successfully pulling the box from the corpse's grasp. Then as a transition, the iris of the camera closes in on the corpses face.

-Dr Frankenstein's class

In a reverse action, the iris opens up, this time focusing on the box, however we can tell the box has changed locations. We can immediately tell that there is an ambience change, and we hear the voice of Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein (hereto referred as FF) giving a lecture to a medium size group in a lecture hall. The camera reveals that the box is being held by an elderly man, who clearly does not fit in with the rest of the people in the room. The camera pans across the room showing us the faces of the eagerly learning medical students listening to FF speak. The voices and sound effects in this scene match very well, which leads me to believe that most of the audio in this scene was captured on location. We hear the nice, reverberating voice of FF, the scratching of the chalk on the blackboard, the rustling of FF's clothing as he diagrams the human brain. The purpose of this scene is to establish Fredrick Frankenstein as a normal, rational person, who disavows any and all ill doings of his relatives. He desperately wants to be seen as a medical professional, and not just another Ð''Frankenstein' It is because of this that he pronounces his name " Fronkensteen" In this scene, FF is demonstrating the difference between voluntary and involuntary motor functions. He is accompanied by two assistants (foreshadowing) and a "lab rat" (an old man, perceived to be a bum). The old man is wheeled out on a gurney with casters that emit a great squeaking sound. The doctor then uses a clamp to cut off the old mans motor

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