I saw Les Miserables with Wife over the weekend and am kicking myself for never having experienced it before. “I Dreamed a Dream” may be the most haunting, beautiful song in the English language. Truly, this is an excellent. But what, asks the smart aleck, has that to do with Frankenstein?
I will tell you.
Long, long ago one of my favorite movies was Frankenstein. James Whale’s Frankenstein, to be exact, a masterpiece of early horror cinema. Both the Bride and the original were on VHS in the Abel homestead and I watched it quite often, along with a motley assortment of Universal Pictures. Eventually I found my way to Young Frankenstein – there is a comedy!
Young Frankenstein is incredibly well done. Many of the sets are the same as the original movies as well as characters and subplots. It’s not so much a spoof or parody as it is a well crafted love letter, a comical sequel to a series of movies that set the standard for franchises to be run into the ground. It’s so well done you can laugh at it without viewing the source material.
But! What happens to Young Frankenstein when (after time has passed) you have seen ALL THE FRANKENSTEINS? Well it becomes even funnier. The jokes are richer. Everyone likes to be in on a joke, you see, and Young Frankensteins main riffs involve the movie Son of Frankenstein – not Bride, not Frankenstein, the son! That’s when an Ygor first shows up. That’s where the creepy Bavarian constable arrives. That’s where we first see a man dedicated to restoring his family name!
Yes, by seeing that, the experience of Young Frankenstein is enriched.
You may have already figured out what that has to do with Les Miserables and South Park.
For those of you blissfully unaware: The South Park movie is an animated musical comedy that seemingly rips to shreds all sense of propriety. In the midst of its ribaldry are some catchy songs include an epic, multi-storyline-encompassing showstopper “Tommorow Night,” the height of Act One of this film. You know. Just like One Day More in Les Miserables.
I know deep in my heart that everyone involved with Les Mis throughout the years is tickled pink by the fact their musical has helped enrich my experience of cartoon’s swearing.