Justin Bower

Justin Bower

Cigars in Cinema

Cigars In Cinema – Young Frankenstein

For this edition of Cigars in Cinema I will be taking you on a cinematic journey with Young Frankenstein, a goofy Mel Brooks tribute to the classic Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Are cigars the first thing you think about when this movie comes up? Probably not. However, more on that later. Young Frankenstein follows the grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein (against his will) as he travels to Transylvania after his grandfather dies and wills him his castle. Let the funny situations and so many “One Liners” ensue. “What knockers!!” With a knockout cast including the incredible Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman and Gene Hackman.  Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, also directed by Mel Brooks, this is a classic comedy spoof on the classic horror film. I would also like to add that this movie holds a special place in my heart. My love of film (especially horror) comes from my mom and we used to watch this movie over and over while I was younger. Laughing harder and harder each and every time. I just recently lost my mom unexpectedly. I have this movie playing in the background as I write this and it warms my heart to remember all those times of watching this movie with her. So, if you have never seen this classic, I recommend it and if you have, pop it in and give it another go!

On to the cigar aspect of the movie. There are various cigars littered throughout the film, random passer byers or a smoldering cigar in an ashtray. However, there is one scene in particular in which is the reason I picked this movie. Towards the final third of the movie is a scene where the monster escapes and happens across the house of a blind monk played by Gene Hackman. A blind person hosting a reanimated monster who can’t talk, you can only imagine the comedy that happens from there. After the blindman pours the hot soup all over the monster’s lap and breaks his glass of wine he pulls out the surprise hes been saving for a special occasion. Cigars! Blindman then proceeds to light the monster’s thumb on fire instead of the cigar, infuriating the monster before he storms out and the blindman saying “WAIT, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I was going to make espresso.” It’s one of many scenes that always gets a chuckle from me. In conclusion, the cigars in this film were used to mark a special occasion (the blindman getting a visitor) which they are often used for and made for great comedy in the process. Hug your friends and family, be safe and make sure to check out Young Frankenstein if you are in the mood for a chuckle!! Stay Smokey!!

1) Gene Hackman wasn’t originally thought of for the part of the blindman. He read the script and wanted to be in it so he asked Mel Brooks. Gene Hackman wanted to try a comedy role and even offered to do it for free. 
2) Gene Wilder has stated that this is his favorite of all the films he’s made. 
3) In 1974 Aerosmith took a break from a long night of recording to see this film. Steven Tyler wrote the band’s hit “Walk This Way” the morning after seeing the movie, inspired by Marty Feldman’s first scene, the “walk this way . . . this way” scene.
4) The Blind Man scene includes parts where we see the monster having hot soup poured on him and getting his thumb lit on fire. To keep himself protected, Peter Boyle had a hot pad on his lap, and he held a fake thumb with alcohol on it to keep the fire burning.​
5) When Mel Brooks was preparing for this film, he discovered that Ken Strickfaden, who’d made the elaborate electrical machinery for the lab sequences in the Universal Frankenstein films, was still alive and living in the Los Angeles area. Brooks visited Strickfaden, and found that he had stored all the equipment in his garage. Brooks made a deal to rent the equipment, and gave Strickfaden the screen credit he didn’t receive for the original films.