With the loss of Gene Wilder, we have a very somber excuse to look back on his best work. There’s plenty to go around, but one of the definite highlights is Young Frankenstein with Mel Broos from 1974. When looked at alongside its neighbor, Blazing Saddles, you’ll see the two couldn’t be more different. But the results are the same for both — comedic masterpieces — and they just happen to feature the genius of Gene Wilder.
Young Frankenstein was a highlight in his career because Wilder reportedly considered it in his favorite film. It was also one that the cast and crew apparently had a lot of fun shooting, with Brooks apparently adding scenes after the main shoot finished. You can get a taste of this thanks to a story over at Deadline with Wilder’s Young Frankenstein co-star Cloris Leachman. The beloved comedienne looked back on the life of Wilder and how one scene caused trouble for the star:
“I remember when we were shooting Young Frankenstein there was a scene where I had to get the group up the stairs immediately. I had to say, ‘Shtay close to zee candles’ and turn toward him. As I turned around I could see his face was in two pieces. We had to do our scene 14 times over because he’d be laughing so hard. Alas, alas. So dear Gene, I vill say, ‘Goodnight.’”
In addition to the behind-the-scenes story, Leachman said that Wilder was in a “class by himself” and that she “looked up to him, yet on the set he was just one of us.” The silver lining of somebody passing is being able to look back on these good moments. Young Frankenstein has a few in the film itself, but plenty that never made it. You can take a look at the cast got along in the blooper reels below: