Though not as spectacular as one would expect of such a classic, this loose interpretation of Mary Shelley's oft-told tale delivers. The familiar story focuses on Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the reclusive, stereotypical mad scientist obsessed with creating new life from stitched-together corpses. But something goes terribly wrong when the brain he uses turns out to be that of a criminal. The film starts out slow but redeems itself with time, particularly the windmill climax scene that by 1931 standards is nothing short of stellar. In one of filmdom's all-time great performances, Boris Karloff plays the monster as a sort of tragic figure unable to comprehend right from wrong, and the audience is left feeling more sympathetic than frightened by him.