IMDb > Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) (TV)
Frankenstein: The True Story
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Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Christopher Isherwood (teleplay) &
Don Bachardy (teleplay) ...
View company contact information for Frankenstein: The True Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 December 1978 (Portugal) See more »
A more psychological telling of the Mary Shelley story has a different kind of monster... | Full synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) *** See more (40 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Mason ... Dr. John Polidori

Leonard Whiting ... Dr. Victor Frankenstein

David McCallum ... Dr. Henri Clerval

Jane Seymour ... Agatha / Prima

Nicola Pagett ... Elizabeth Fanschawe

Michael Sarrazin ... The Creature

Michael Wilding ... Sir Richard Fanshawe

Clarissa Kaye-Mason ... Lady Fanschawe (as Clarissa Kaye)

Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Blair

Margaret Leighton ... Francoise DuVal

Ralph Richardson ... Mr. Lacey

John Gielgud ... Chief Constable

Tom Baker ... Sea Captain
Julian Barnes ... Young Man

Arnold Diamond ... Passenger in Coach

Yootha Joyce ... Hospital Matron

Peter Sallis ... Priest
Dallas Adams ... Felix
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Derek Deadman ... 1st Seaman (uncredited)
Paddy Joyce ... 1st Helper (uncredited)

Norman Rossington ... Seaman (uncredited)
Elizabeth Spender ... Ballroom Guest (uncredited)

Jeremy Young ... 2nd Helper (uncredited)

Directed by
Jack Smight 
Writing credits
Christopher Isherwood (teleplay) &
Don Bachardy (teleplay)

Mary Shelley (novel)

Produced by
Ian Lewis .... associate producer
Hunt Stromberg Jr. .... producer
Original Music by
Gil Melle 
Cinematography by
Arthur Ibbetson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Richard Marden 
Production Design by
Wilfred Shingleton  (as Wilfrid Shingleton)
Art Direction by
Fred Carter 
Costume Design by
Elsa Fennell 
Production Management
Brian Burgess .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Geoff Glover .... second unit director (uncredited)
Terry Pearce .... third assistant director (uncredited)
John Stoneman .... first assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Ken Barker .... sound
Gordon Everett .... sound
Don Sharpe .... sound
Graham V. Hartstone .... re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Roy Whybrow .... special effects
Alan Barnard .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Ron Burton .... special effects draughtsman (uncredited)
Colin Chilvers .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Bud Rossler .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Brian Smithies .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Peter Melrose .... matte artist (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Geoff Glover .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Music Department
Philip Martell .... music supervisor
Other crew
Sally Gilpin .... choreographer
Sally Nicholl .... assistant: producer
Jacque Shelton .... assistant: producer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
185 min | Portugal:130 min | UK:123 min (theartrical release)
Color (technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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 »
Continuity: 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 »
Dr. Victor Frankenstein:The process is r... R? Ready to begin!See more »
Movie Connections:
References Eyes Without a Face (1960)See more »
LullabySee more »


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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) ***, 1 October 2006
Author: JoeKarlosi from U.S.A.

A two part television movie which claimed to tell, for the first time anywhere, the genuinely faithful tale of the man who made a creature, exactly as its writer, teenaged Mary Shelley, first concocted it. Well, it may be helpful going in to be forewarned that this isn't really the "true story," but it comes close and what matters most is that it's a good film, albeit one that's three hours long.

In this version, young Victor Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting) is a medical student thirsting for knowledge, which he gets from the wildly eccentric Dr. Henry Clerval (David McCallum). Clerval has devised a method of restoring dead insects back to life, and his greatest achievement comes when he reanimates a man's severed arm. Frankenstein teams up with Clerval and they are just about to proceed with the ultimate experiment of assembling a complete man from dead bodies and making it live, when Henry dies and Victor is forced to work alone (I'll bet you never knew it wasn't all Frankenstein's idea). The final product is a perfectly attractive male creation (Michael Sarrazin) who has been given Clerval's brain and instantly bonds with Victor, his creator. Frankenstein begins to neglect his fiancé Elizabeth (Nicola Pagett) while taking the time to refine his new Adam. Unbeknownst to Victor, before Clerval died he tried to warn Frankenstein that the animation process performed on the first severed arm was actually reversing itself and the flesh was deteriorating. In a short period of time, the once-handsome creature begins to show signs of his skin rotting and upon witnessing this, Frankenstein suddenly loses all interest in his creation and abandons him. The rest of the film carries on with the scorned monster's journey to punish his master. He meets up with a nasty and cunning former associate of Clerval, the elder Dr. Polidori (James Mason), who blackmails Frankenstein into constructing a female named Prima (played by Jane Seymour).

This is a lush and well-crafted Victorian period piece, and the story of unrequited love between the creature and his creator is at the core of it. For those who up till now have only been familiar with the classic Boris Karloff image of the flat-headed monster with big boots and bolts in his neck, this is something else entirely. It's touching but also horrifying at times, with a good cast. In addition to Michael Sarrazin's sympathetic work as the creature, David McCallum's obsessive Clerval and James Mason's unscrupulous Polidori (presumably the Ernest Thesiger character in this one) are the best performances. *** out of ****

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