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Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  27 December 1978 (Portugal)
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A more psychological telling of the Mary Shelley story has a different kind of monster...



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Agatha / Prima
Nicola Pagett ...
Elizabeth Fanschawe
Sir Richard Fanshawe
Clarissa Kaye-Mason ...
Lady Fanschawe (as Clarissa Kaye)
Margaret Leighton ...
Francoise DuVal
Mr. Lacey
Sea Captain
Julian Barnes ...
Young Man
Arnold Diamond ...
Passenger in Coach


A more psychological telling of the Mary Shelley story has a different kind of monster...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 December 1978 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Verdadeira História de Frankenstein  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theartrical release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last film of Michael Wilding. See more »


When Polidori introduces Victor to the creature in his carriage, the interior point of view shot shows a Chinese servant closing the carriage door. A split second later, in a reverse angle shot from the exterior, the servant has vanished. See more »


Dr. John Polidori: [to Frankenstein] You want to be rid of him just as much as I do, you hyprocrite!
See more »


Version of The Wide World of Mystery: Frankenstein: Part 1 (1973) See more »


The Marriage of Figaro
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

If you thought you'd seen it all...
6 August 2003 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing the original broadcast of this two-part miniseries back in '73, and how impressed I was by the cast and the writing. Witty, literate, touching and horrifying by turns, it definitely set a pretty high standard for itself just by the title alone, yet then proceeded to exceed that standard, which is something that few movies ever do, let alone those made for television.

The all-star British/American cast and the production design gave it the old-time feel of early films from both the Universal and Hammer Studios genres, yet the sharp writing by Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood lent an almost Merchant-Ivory sense of credibility that most films of this kind can't even hope to pull off.

Even more surprising that the director, Jack Smight, was better known for his work on television series and disaster films than on something as well-crafted as this.

And the performances...In a cast of well-seasoned veterans, it's almost impossible to cite stand-out favorites, but if I had to, Michael Sarrazin's Creature is one of the most outstanding to be introduced out of the many versions, and definitely the most multi-layered and sympathetic, (which would not be equalled until twenty-years on, by Clancy Brown in the less-superior THE BRIDE.) Worth equal praise is the rivalry between David McCallum, Leonard Whiting and the always-dependable James Mason as the brilliantly twisted Dr. Polidori (affectionately known now and forever as "Polly-dolly.")

And what review would be complete without mentioning Jane Seymour as Prima. I won't spoil the shock and surprise involved with her character and Sarrazin's, but needless to say that was ONE scene that made quite an impression on my young mind, (and for those who remember, you know EXACTLY which part I'm referring to!) It was quite an introduction to a lovely young ingenue, who would become even more memorable to American audiences less than a year later with her big screen debut, as Bond girl Solitaire in Roger Moore's initial 007 outing, LIVE AND LET DIE.

It may not exist in its original form, as previous reviewers have pointed out, but one can only hope for a newly restored and uncut DVD version of this classic TV gem. In an age of bloated, overproduced blockbusters like TITANIC and PEARL HARBOR, the 240-minute version of this outstanding drama would be more than worth your time. Now here's hoping we'll get the opportunity to see it again, as it was intended.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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