Frankenstein
1931*****

| 70 MINS | BW | UNIVERSAL |


SYNOPSIS

Obsessed scientist Henry Frankenstein together with his assistant Fritz, a hunchback, piece together a human body, the parts of which have been scavenged from various sources. Their desire is to give life back to dead pieces of flesh. The only problem is that the brain they have chosen is defective.

His fiancee, Elizabeth, is worried over the way he secludes himself in his watchtower, and she goes to see his old medical professor, Dr Waldam, to see if he can be of any help in reclaiming the scientist from his experiments.

They both arrive just in time to see him raise the dead creature into the roof of the laboratory. After a crash of thunder, the body is lowered to the floor; the hand of the creature starts to move!

The Monster, despite its grotesque form, appears, on the surface, to be a simple creation. It becomes easily spooked by Fritz when he enters with a flaming torch, which frightens the Monster. Thinking that it is not fit for society and will wreak havoc at any chance, they leave the monster locked up, where Fritz antagonises it with a torch. Later, Frankenstein and Waldman find the Monster has strangled Fritz. Realizing that the creature must be destroyed, Waldman and Frankenstein manage to inject it with a powerful drug. The Monster falls unconscious.

While Henry leaves to prepare for his wedding, Waldman prepares to dissect the Monster. It wakes and strangles him. It escapes from the tower and wanders through the landscape where it manages to accidentally kill a small child called Maria.

Frankenstein and Elizabeth are to marry as soon as Waldman arrives. His brother, Victor rushes in, saying that the Doctor has been found dead. Frankenstein suspects the monster. A chilling scream suggests that the Monster is in the house. Elizabeth is found unconscious on the bed. The Monster has escaped.

Maria's father arrives, carrying his daughter's body. He says she was murdered, and a band of villagers search the country for the Monster. Frankenstein leads one group into the mountains. The Monster finds Frankenstein and carries him off unconscious to an old mill. The villagers hear his cries and follow. The Monster has climbed to the top of the mill, dragging Frankenstein with him. Frankenstein is hurled to the ground, his fall being broken by the vanes of the windmill. Some of the villagers hurry him to his home while the others burn the mill to destroy the entrapped Monster.

At Castle Frankenstein, Frankenstein's father celebrates the wedding of his recovered son with a toast to a future grandchild.



REVIEWS

Classic-Horror.com: The entire film is first-rate. From the laboratory scenes to the girl by the pond and its fiery climax. Everything is perfect.

Classic-Monsters.com: The film, even today, remains superlative. Clive's unnerving Frankenstein is still powerful, egged on by his crazed sidekick Fritz.

Tcm.com: As remarkable for its grasp of elemental horror as it is for its visually arresting set design, the groundbreaking Universal film set a new standard for the genre that has continued to influence contemporary film.


QUOTE

Dr Waldam: You have created a monster, and it will destroy you!


CREDITS

  • Directed by James Whale
  • Produced by Carl Laemmle Jr
  • Music by Bernhard Kaun
  • Cinematography Arthur Edeson
  • Production company Universal Pictures



  • NOTABLE FACTS

  • The name of the leading character in Mary Shelley's book was changed from Victor Frankenstein to Henry Frankenstein as the name "Victor" was thought to be too "severe and unfriendly" to American audiences.
  • Bela Lugosi was offered the role of the "Monster" but turned it down on the grounds that the character would not speak.



  • CAST

    Colin Clive -- Henry Frankenstein | Mae Clarke -- Elizabeth | John Boles -- Victor Moritz | Boris Karloff -- The Monster | Edward Van Sloan -- Doctor Waldman | Frederick Kerr -- Baron Frankenstein | Dwight Frye -- Fritz | Lionel Belmore -- The Burgomaster | Marilyn Harris -- Little Maria



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