Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again. Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
By the time the ending of the film was changed, allowing Henry Frankenstein to live, Colin Clive was no longer available for additional scenes. For the shot of Henry in long shot in the bedroom behind his father, he was played by another actor; tradition has long held that it was future cowboy star Robert Livingston filling in for him. See more »
Baron Frankenstein says that Henry Frankenstein's lab is in "an old abandoned windmill". In fact, it is in a castle or watchtower. According to the DVD commentary, this line of dialogue was from an early version of the script, and was left in the final version by mistake. See more »
The opening credits say "Based upon the composition by John L. Balderston", without elaborating on what "Based upon the composition" really means, especially in this case, where there is already one original writer (Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) credited, along with a playwright, two screenwriters, and one scenario editor. See more »
When I watched James Whale's "Frankenstein" last night I tried to look it through the unaware eyes of an innocent 1931 audience. Unfortunately I failed. No matter how I try, this film still has absolutely nothing horrifying in it. Nevertheless when I watched the great DVD documentary I finally understood why moviegoers of the early 30's found "Frankenstein" frightening. No one had actually ever seen anything like it before in the motion picture. What we think is funny scared the crap out of people who saw it when it was originally released. It's just so bloody hard to realize it nowadays when we've pretty much seen it all when it comes to movie violence and horror. Knowing how corny and funny this film looks that ridiculous pre-credits warning is absolutely hilarious.
Once again, the fact that the film does not make us shiver doesn't make it a bad movie. It allows the modern audience to enjoy the film in another way. Colin Clive is terrific as Dr. Henry Frankenstein. When he shouts hysterically "It's alive! It's alive!" we are witnessing one of the greatest moments of horror film history ever. Boris Karloff is phenomenal as the creature. Although he may not be scary he's performance is stylish and touching and his make-up is soooooo cool. Supporting roles are good too, Edward Van Sloan and especially Dwight Frye (Van Helsing and Renfield from the 1931 adaptation of "Dracula") are brilliant. "Frankenstein" has to be the ultimate monster classic of the Universal studios. When we think about the concept of "classic movie monster", the image of Boris Karloff's creature of Frankenstein is the image 95% of us has first. It is the most recognized and beloved monster of them all.
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