At the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, American Cinematheque decided to host two 1974 Gene Wilder movies, in honor of his passing earlier this year, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. The double feature films were both directed by Wilder’s good friend, Mel Brooks– who also made an appearance to briefly talk about the films and his relationship with Wilder.
Once Brooks slowly made his way on stage, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
“I’m an old man so be patient with me. I am so happy to be here with all of you wonderful people.”
Standing strong at 90 years old, Brooks witty humor made the evening worthwhile. He shared stories about his and Wilder’s friendship and their collaborative masterpiece, Young Frankenstein.
Wilder maybe known as Willy Wonka, the colorful candyman who dedicated his life into creating the world’s greatest chocolate factory, but it was Young Frankenstein that allowed Wilder’s comedic genius to shine.
“Gene said, ‘It’s only a great idea if you help me write it,’ and I did. He was too stupid to write it”.The second film for that night was Blazing Saddles – which I believe is possibly one of the greatest comedic movies ever made. It’s satire at its finest by being a dynamite parody of spaghetti westerns and tackling the subject of racism. Blazing Saddles has so many great one-liners that anyone can quote it for ages. Sitting in the retro Aero Theater and watching these older films made me wonder if we were reliving those nights when both films were shown for the first time in 1974.
The audience- including myself- had laughed so hard at the old jokes yet watching Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles on the big screen, almost felt as if we were back in time.
Before Brooks left us to enjoy his masterpieces, he wanted to thank his fans and the theater for keeping his films and Gene Wilder’s memory alive.
“Im so grateful to them (American Cinematheque) because they keep picking on my movies to show, which shows ‘em that they have good taste.”
To find out what other movies are playing at the Aero and Egyptian Theater, click here.
With love and respect,
Your West Coast Sister
All images author’s own unless noted otherwise