101 Funniest Screenplays

“At the top of the page I wrote, ‘Young Frankenstein,’ and then wrote two pages of what might happen to me if I were the great grandson of Beaufort von Frankenstein and was called to Transylvania because I had just inherited the Frankenstein estate,” Wilder recalls in his memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger. Mel Brooks agreed to direct the film before he made Blazing Saddles – and then summoned Wilder to the set as a last-minute replacement for Gig Young in the role of the Waco Kid. After Brooks wrapped Saddles, he and Wilder worked in earnest on Young Frankenstein. “My job was to make him more subtle,” Wilder told Newsweek in 1975, of their collaboration. “His job was to make me more broad. I would say, ‘I don’t want this to be Blazing Frankenstein, and he’d answer, ‘I don’t want an art film that only 14 people see.’”