Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

The good doctor (Peter Cushing) is in prison waiting execution when he tells his story to a priest, and it goes something like this: Young Victor is rich, becomes an rich orphan, is brilliant, hires a tutor, somehow grows older than his tutor, then starts playing with things God did not intend. Then he goes to jail ...

The original took serious liberties with the source material, and Hammer films were threatened with a lawsuit if any of it's story or images were copied. So, we are left with the elements brilliant and privileged scientist, taking science too far, creation of a monster, and bad consequences. Mix elements thoroughly and bake for 45 minutes and you get a new version of Frankenstein. Or Jekyll and Hyde. Same deal.

TCM played a pile of Christopher Lee films a couple weeks after his passing. Because interesting films on TCM come in waves, I had filled my DVR with good stuff and had to be very selective what I saved. This was the lone Lee film that made the cut.

Formal, stilted acting, mostly unoriginal story, and a complete lack of actual scares or surprises is mostly saved by decent set design and photography, and Lee's performance. Very much a Hammer production. AMRU 3.5.
Christopher Lee: "I've got no lines!"
Peter Cushing: "You're lucky. I've read the script."

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