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Frankenstein (1931)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 21 November 1931 (USA)
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director:

Writers:

(based upon the composition by), (from the novel by) (as Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) | 4 more credits »
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4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
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The Monster (as ?)
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Frederick Kerr ...
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Marilyn Harris ...
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Storyline

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 <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The walking nightmare that frightened the world! (1951 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dr. Frankenstein  »

Box Office

Budget:

$291,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$12,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Boris Karloff offered to remove his partial bridgework as part of the monster make-up process to create the sunken cheek look. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, Dr Waldman presents two brains in glass jars each bearing two neatly typed labels, one in Latin, the other in English. The good brain reads "CEREBRUM" and "NORMAL BRAIN" while the other reads "DYSFUNCTO CEREBRI" and "ABNORMAL BRAIN." When Fritz breaks into the medical school, the typed NORMAL and ABNORMAL labels have been replaced by larger, hand-printed ones. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Henry Frankenstein: Down! Down, you fool!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Saw (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Grand Appassionato
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Becce
[End title & end cast music]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Still quality stuff
23 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

A brilliant young scientist creates life from the dead but lives to regret it when his creation goes on the rampage.

Though inevitably dated and primitive by modern standards, Frankenstein remains a tremendously impressive film and a tribute to its still somewhat under-rated director, the eccentric Englishman James Whale.

Where so many early talkies were static and wordy, Frankenstein skips unnecessary dialogue and exposition and drives through its plot at a speed that seems almost indecent nowadays. Compared to overblown remakes like Kenneth Branagh's 1994 version, Whale's work now seems like a masterpiece of brevity and minimalism. His constantly moving camera, incisive editing and dramatic use of close-ups are a mile ahead of anything far more prestigious directors were doing at the time. Expressionist photography and eccentric set designs lend atmosphere, menace and help augment some rather ripe performances; a foretaste of the paths Whale would tread in the sequel Bride of Frankenstein four years later.

And then of course there's Karloff. With comparatively few scenes and no dialogue he nonetheless manages to create a complex, intimidating, yet sympathetic creature - one of the great mimes in talking cinema and thanks in no small degree to the freedom given to him under Jack Pierce's iconic make-up.

A historic piece of cinema, and one that still stands the test of time as both art and entertainment.


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