In an interview with the San Jose Merucry News, Gene Wilder has solved one of the great mysteries of comedy: the origin of Frau Blücher and the horse whinny from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. That’s FRONK-en-steen.
“I chose the name because I wanted an authentic German name,” Wilder, who played the part of Dr. Frankenstein and also co-wrote the script with Mel Brooks, tells the paper. “I took out some of the books I had of the letters to and from Sigmund Freud. I saw someone named Blücher had written to him, and I said well that’s the name.” “Later on, I heard from about two or three sources, who said Blücher refers to a horse going to a factory and being turned to glue. I just thought it was a funny name.”
Of course there was no mystery. Dissecting humor is like dissecting a frog: you’re left with something red, green and runny. Unmentioned in the interview is Freud’s classic case of Hans, who feared his “widdler” would be bitten off by a great white horse. Blücher, played by the great Cloris Leachman, was of course a fearful women whose mere proximity would do terrible thing to anyone’s widdler. Perhaps our subjective collective unconscious puts all these things — Cloris Leachman, the sound of a horse, Freud’s ideas about dreams, a glue factory and the inherent humor of a woman with a nasty mole — and just adds it all up, resulting in a laugh.