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:

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Technical Specs


| (theartrical release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 Victor is talking to Elizabeth outside the church at his brother's funeral, he is holding his right hand on her shoulder. The shot switches to Elizabeth's face, and his hand is still on her shoulder. In the next wide shot, Victor's hand is down by his side. The following closeup of Elizabeth shows Victor's hand back on her shoulder. See more »


Dr. Victor Frankenstein: [to the Creature, viciously] Are you satisfied now? Have you punished me enough for giving you life?
[he calms down, then:]
Dr. Victor Frankenstein: I've wronged you, I know. I, I disowned you. I wanted to destroy you. How can I blame you for anything that you've done? Poor creature... you're as weary of life as I am. If only I could rid mankind of us both. I'm a weak human, I can't stay long in this terrible place. But your iron body will keep you alive against your will. You'll be all alone here. That would be too ...
See more »


Referenced in Feardotcom (2002) 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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