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Abbott & Costello meet the 70's

July 26, 2001

Comparing "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Young Frankenstein"

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  After watching these two films making fun of old monster movies, a difference in the humor was evident. The earlier film had the classic Abbott & Costello humor, while Young Frankenstein's humor (Made some 2 decades later) was considerably more risque. The differences aren't so much in the individual movies, but rather the era they were made in.

All the way up until the 60's, entertainment was like Abbott and Costello, where the usual call of "Abbbottt!" would send a wave of laughter through the audience. I can certainly find a simple humor in the cheek-puffing antics of a confused Costello. Starting in the 70s however, the next big wave in the theatres was to be more and more shocking. The race was no longer to come up with the next funny catch-phrase, but rather who could shock the audience more. Movies became rampant with sex jokes, violence, nudity, and swearing. Young Frankenstein had enough intellectual humor that I think it would have been better off without the aforementioned styles of comedy. Insisting being called 'Fronkensteen' has kept me laughing longer than all of the numerous monstrous genitalia jokes spread throughout the movie. After being exposed to these new movies, the values in everyday society naturally changed along with them. Movies based entirely on violence became acceptable, even popular. Of course, once the values of society change, the movies of that era push the lines further, a seemingly endless cycle. It would seem that cinema has played a major role in changing our society from the older, softer generation to the society of today.

In the earlier era of movies, humor was Costello finding something, but having it disappear when Abbott got there. Humor was having the duo get lost because of a revolving wall. Nowadays, we find that humor unfunny at best, but more often just frustrating. I believe we should all see some of these old comedies. Older films such as these reach the intellectual side of my sense of humor. The reason newer movies are found entertaining is usually quite simply because we have been taught that such films are funny. I found Young Frankenstein and Parenthood, both films made in the 80s, to be intellectually stimulating for the most part. That is because I was raised with the 90's social norm, so I find those movies to be quite mellow now. However, except for one or two exceptions, I have not been intellectually stimulated with any movies from the 90's or later. We say things of these old comedies like "You could see it coming a mile away", but what is the comedy we boast as better than that? Our movies today are almost solely sex, violence, and harsh language. Kid's movies are pretty much entirely potty-humor. This is the new line drawn by society. It is too bad that we no longer seem to value intelligent and witty humor over the animalistic entertainment that has become the norm of today's films. Just wait though, as any day now a new movie will come out that shocks the people nationwide...

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Last Update: July 26, 2001