The character 'Dr. Polidori' is not taken from Mary Shelley's novel, but was a real life acquaintance of hers. He started to write "The Vampyre" in the same weekend that she got the idea to write "Frankenstein". The actual Polidori served as Lord Byron's doctor at the time, who mockingly referred to him as 'Pollydori', just like Clerval does in this TV adaptation. See more »
When Frankenstein dissolves the severed arm with acid, the arm as first shown at the beginning of the scene is significantly different in appearance than the one which is shown actually being dissolved. See more »
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.
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