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Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Romance | 21 November 1931 (USA)
1:38 | Trailer
Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.


James Whale


John L. Balderston (based upon the composition by), Mary Shelley (from the novel by) (as Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) | 4 more credits »
1,572 ( 419)
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


As the essential part of the "lake scene" was cut from the film in 1931, theater and later TV audiences were left to wonder how the girl who was found in the lake actually met her death. Upon restoration of the scene, in the 1980s, on home video and later on Turner Classic Movies (TV), viewers can see what the angry townspeople didn't. Perhaps one might be sympathetic to the monster, in spite of the tragic loss of the child. See more »


In the scene where Henry and Elizabeth are sitting by the lake and talking about their upcoming wedding, the long shot that opens the scene shows a dog at Henry's feet, laying on his right side with his head up and looking around. However, in the next shot the dog is asleep and laying on his left side. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Henry Frankenstein: Down! Down, you fool!
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Crazy Credits

In closing credits: A good cast is worth repeating 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 »


Grand Appassionato
Music by Giuseppe Becce
[End title & end cast music]
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User Reviews

Still the standard
8 March 2001 | by jaynashvilSee all my reviews

Few will disagree that "Bride of Frankenstein" is in so many ways a better picture than the original. But since they both involve the same director and primary cast, I consider them as two parts of the same movie.

I have no complaints at all about "Bride". It certainly benefits from a more deeply thought-out script and an adequately bankrolled sense of delight in the macabre. The unarguable "improvements" in the sequel are often, for me, the very things that makes the original so special.

The major technical improvements during the short years between the original and sequel have made "Frankenstein" seem perhaps older than it is. The lack of a score and less showy camerawork give it almost a documentary quality, not unlike the famous Hindenberg newsreel footage. "Frankenstein" feels like this is an actual record of exactly how it looked and felt the day Dr. Frankenstein did his evil deed!

I'm not saying that "Frankenstein" seems primitive in a bad way--unlike '31's "Dracula" with it's "point the camera at the stage because we can't move the camera" lack of technique. The oldness adds to it's greatness. The graininess of the picture, the shrill sound effects and James Whale's unusual cutting style of deliberate jump-cuts (especially in the scene when the Creature makes his big entrance and, moments later, reaches longingly for the sunlight)contribute to the realness of the story and the film.

It gave me nightmares as a kid; only now, I know why.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Latin

Release Date:

21 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frankenstein See more »


Box Office


$291,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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