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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.

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Writers:

(based upon the composition by), (from the novel by) (as Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

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

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Extant copies of the 1938 re-issue trailer show The Monster rising from the operating table and stalking away after strangling Dr. Waldman. In the finished film there is a dissolve from The Monster still on the table choking Waldman to The Monster descending the tower stairs. See more »

Goofs

When Dr Waldman reveals that Fritz stole a criminal brain, Frankenstein is unpleasantly surprised. However, his first attempt to acquire a brain was from a corpse on a gallows, which presumably would also have been that of a criminal. 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 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.160 (2010) 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

 
A Memorable Monster In A Magnificent DVD Release
21 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Although I have seen better prints of the film, this DVD issue of Universal Studio's famous FRANKENSTEIN is a magnificent package that is sure to delight any fan of classic horror. The film itself has been restored for content, and the Skal-hosted documentary--which traces the story from Mary Shelly's famous novel through its numerous film incarnations--is a delight, including numerous interviews with various historians, critics, and Karloff's daughter. The bonus audio track by Rudy Behlmer is also quite interesting, as are the various biographies and notes, and although the short film BOO is a spurious mix of footage from NOSFERATU, Dracula, THE CAT AND THE CANARY, and FRANKENSTEIN, it is an enjoyable little throw-away. All in all, it doesn't get much better than this.

As for the film itself, the production of FRANKENSTEIN was prompted by the incredible success of the earlier Dracula--but where Dracula is a rather problematic and significantly dated film, FRANKENSTEIN was and remains one of the most original horror films to ever emerge from Hollywood. Much of the credit for this goes to director James Whale, who by all accounts was deeply influenced by silent German film and his own traumatic experiences during World War I--and who mixed those elements with occasional flourishes of macabre humor to create a remarkably consistent vision of Mary Shelly's original novel.

Whale was extremely, extremely fortunate in his cast. Colin Clive was a difficult actor, but Whale not only managed to get him through the film but to draw from him his finest screen performance; Mae Clarke is a memorable Elizabeth; and Dwight Frye, so memorable in Dracula, tops himself as Fritz. But all eyes here are on Boris Karloff as the monster. Karloff had been kicking around Hollywood for a decade, and although he appeared in quite a few films before FRANKENSTEIN he never really registered with the public. But in this role, acting under heavy make-up, weighed down by lead weights in his shoes and struts around his legs, and without a line of intelligible dialogue he offered a performance that transcended the word "monster." This is a suffering being, dangerous mainly through innocence of his own power and the way of the world, goaded from disaster to disaster to disaster. Even some seventy-plus years later, it is difficult to imagine any other actor in the part.

Karloff would play the monster again in two later films, one of them directed by Whale, but although THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a remarkable film in its own right, this is the original combination of talents and the original vision. Truly a national treasure, to be enjoyed over and over again. Strongly recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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