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Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 21 November 1931 (USA)
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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 »
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Popularity
4,699 ( 495)
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Colin Clive ... Henry Frankenstein
Mae Clarke ... Elizabeth
John Boles ... Victor Moritz
Boris Karloff ... The Monster (as ?)
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:

The MONSTER That Terrorized the World! (1990s re-release) 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:

Франкенштейн See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$291,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,000,000
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

The method of animating the creature is never discussed in Mary Shelley's novel. In the book, Frankenstein, narrating, refuses to divulge how he did it so no one can re-create his actions. However, the use of lightning to resurrect the monster has become the accepted methodology and appears in almost every Frankenstein movie since. Two notable exceptions are the made-for-TV "Frankenstein: The True Story" (1974), in which the Monster is animated by sunlight. "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994) uses electric eels instead of lightning as the source of electricity. See more »

Goofs

During the chase, when the Monster first spots Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein's torch switches hands between shots. Then, when the two make eye contact, Frankenstein raises the torch about level with his head, but in the next shot it is about level with his shoulder. 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

Contrary to popular belief, "Frankenstein" was never colorized. The rumor comes from a scene in the film Weird Science where the main characters watch colorized scenes from "Frankenstein". Those colorized clips were made exclusively for the John Hughes film and Oingo Boingo music video of the same name. There is no colorized VHS of "Frankenstein". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Ralph Macchio (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Memorable Monster In A Magnificent DVD Release
21 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

Although I have seen better prints of the film, this DVD issue of Universal Studio's famous FRANKENSTEIN is a magnificent package that is sure to delight any fan of classic horror. The film itself has been restored for content, and the Skal-hosted documentary--which traces the story from Mary Shelly's famous novel through its numerous film incarnations--is a delight, including numerous interviews with various historians, critics, and Karloff's daughter. The bonus audio track by Rudy Behlmer is also quite interesting, as are the various biographies and notes, and although the short film BOO is a spurious mix of footage from NOSFERATU, Dracula, THE CAT AND THE CANARY, and FRANKENSTEIN, it is an enjoyable little throw-away. All in all, it doesn't get much better than this.

As for the film itself, the production of FRANKENSTEIN was prompted by the incredible success of the earlier Dracula--but where Dracula is a rather problematic and significantly dated film, FRANKENSTEIN was and remains one of the most original horror films to ever emerge from Hollywood. Much of the credit for this goes to director James Whale, who by all accounts was deeply influenced by silent German film and his own traumatic experiences during World War I--and who mixed those elements with occasional flourishes of macabre humor to create a remarkably consistent vision of Mary Shelly's original novel.

Whale was extremely, extremely fortunate in his cast. Colin Clive was a difficult actor, but Whale not only managed to get him through the film but to draw from him his finest screen performance; Mae Clarke is a memorable Elizabeth; and Dwight Frye, so memorable in Dracula, tops himself as Fritz. But all eyes here are on Boris Karloff as the monster. Karloff had been kicking around Hollywood for a decade, and although he appeared in quite a few films before FRANKENSTEIN he never really registered with the public. But in this role, acting under heavy make-up, weighed down by lead weights in his shoes and struts around his legs, and without a line of intelligible dialogue he offered a performance that transcended the word "monster." This is a suffering being, dangerous mainly through innocence of his own power and the way of the world, goaded from disaster to disaster to disaster. Even some seventy-plus years later, it is difficult to imagine any other actor in the part.

Karloff would play the monster again in two later films, one of them directed by Whale, but although THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a remarkable film in its own right, this is the original combination of talents and the original vision. Truly a national treasure, to be enjoyed over and over again. Strongly recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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