Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frankenstein (1931)

Once again, good Doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) turns his back on polite society and his hot fiancee in pursuit of the secret of life. Fiancee, buddy, and old college professor arrive with great concern. Doc shows them what he's been working on. It's alive, it's alive, yea, yea. Then he finds out that the brain was donated by an ... Abby something ... and realizes the folly of his ways. He leaves the task of offing his ugly creation to his old college professor to get married.

But it's the prof that's off'd and the monster escapes, tosses a little girl into the drink, and finds his maker. The villagers (as they are want to do) take up torches and pitch forks, chase the monster into a windmill, then burn it to the ground. And everyone lives happily ever after. Except the people who die.

A classic work of horror, there is very little to pick nits about. Maybe that the good doctor was actually taller than his monster. Or that he traded first names with his college chum. But the differences between this and the Elizabethan novel only start there. For fans who think this may be the movie that least resembles it's literary progenitor, go watch Forrest Gump then read the Winston Groom novel. There, as here, the movie is better.

Colin Clive was excellent as the obsessed doctor. He appeared in one sequel then promptly died. I always thought Boris Karloff was chosen for the role because he was a big, brutal man. In real life, however, he was rather slight of build and refined in nature. The high boots, shoulder pads, and tall head made him look menacing, but still, he wasn't much larger than many of the villagers. Also, he was forty four when he filmed his star making role. Talk about being a late bloomer.

Excellent film making. Great atmosphere and performances all around. It's quite daunting to act when you are covered in makeup and can't talk, but Boris was something special. He was a frightful monster but one that you could pity. ANRU 4.5.
"Dangerous? Poor old Waldman. Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous? Where should we be if no one tried to find out what lies beyond? Have your never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars, or to know what causes the trees to bud? And what changes the darkness into light? But if you talk like that, people call you crazy. Well, if I could discover just one of these things, what eternity is, for example, I wouldn't care if they did think I was crazy."


  1. Frankenstein is such a great movie! Bride of Frankenstein is even better, and Son of Frankenstein a worthy follow up.

  2. And don't forget Ghost and House of. Had I gotten started earlier, I might have been able to do all of them before Halloween.