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Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 21 November 1931 (USA)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

John L. Balderston (based upon the composition by), Mary Shelley (from the novel by) (as Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,283 ( 1,028)
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Colin Clive ... Henry Frankenstein
Mae Clarke ... Elizabeth
John Boles ... Victor Moritz
Boris Karloff ... The Monster (as Boris Karloff)
Edward Van Sloan ... Doctor Waldman
Frederick Kerr ... Baron Frankenstein
Dwight Frye ... Fritz
Lionel Belmore ... The Burgomaster
Marilyn Harris ... Little Maria
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Storyline

Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Science's Monster Terror! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frankenstein See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$291,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Boris Karloff was considered as such an anonymous actor by Universal that he was not invited to the December 6th premiere. See more »

Goofs

According to DVD commentary for this film, director James Whale intended this film to take place in an "alternate universe" and therefore freely mixed 19th Century and 1930s technology, hair fashions, etc. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Henry Frankenstein: Down! Down, you fool!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits: The Monster - ? See more »

Alternate Versions

In one scene, the monster (Boris Karloff) walks through a forest and comes upon a little girl, Maria, who is throwing flowers into a pond. The monster joins her in the activity but soon runs out of flowers. At a loss for something to throw into the water, he looks at Maria and moves toward her. In all American prints of the movie, the scene ends here. But as originally filmed, the action continues to show the monster grabbing Maria, hurling her into the lake, then departing in confusion when Maria fails to float as the flowers did. The removal of the girl's killing suggests a crueler death for Maria, since a subsequent scene shows her bloodied corpse being carried through the village by her father. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maniac (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Grand Appassionato
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Becce
[End title & end cast music]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Still quality stuff
23 May 2003 | by oldreekie546See all my reviews

A brilliant young scientist creates life from the dead but lives to regret it when his creation goes on the rampage.

Though inevitably dated and primitive by modern standards, Frankenstein remains a tremendously impressive film and a tribute to its still somewhat under-rated director, the eccentric Englishman James Whale.

Where so many early talkies were static and wordy, Frankenstein skips unnecessary dialogue and exposition and drives through its plot at a speed that seems almost indecent nowadays. Compared to overblown remakes like Kenneth Branagh's 1994 version, Whale's work now seems like a masterpiece of brevity and minimalism. His constantly moving camera, incisive editing and dramatic use of close-ups are a mile ahead of anything far more prestigious directors were doing at the time. Expressionist photography and eccentric set designs lend atmosphere, menace and help augment some rather ripe performances; a foretaste of the paths Whale would tread in the sequel Bride of Frankenstein four years later.

And then of course there's Karloff. With comparatively few scenes and no dialogue he nonetheless manages to create a complex, intimidating, yet sympathetic creature - one of the great mimes in talking cinema and thanks in no small degree to the freedom given to him under Jack Pierce's iconic make-up.

A historic piece of cinema, and one that still stands the test of time as both art and entertainment.


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