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Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 21 November 1931 (USA)
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ON DISC
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 »
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 Original Horror Show! 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

In the final credits the Universal globe is tilted way over to the right - very different to the "upright" version seen in modern Universal releases. 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

The opening credits say "Based upon the composition by John L. Balderston", without elaborating on what "Based upon the composition" really means, especially in this case, where there is already one original writer (Mrs. Percy B. Shelley) credited, along with a playwright, two screenwriters, and one scenario editor. See more »

Alternate Versions

A few early original prints were color-tinted in green (hyped as "the color of fear" in publicity releases). None of these green tinted prints are known to have survived to this day. See more »

Connections

Edited into Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995) 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

The first Universal monster classic movie I ever saw...
23 March 2000 | by keihanSee all my reviews

To clear the air on certain misconceptions that may arise from what I say here, I've read the book. I've liked the book. I realize that the movie truly has nothing in common with it aside from the fact that an artificial man is brought to life in both. But none of the above took away from my enjoyment of James Whale's rightly considered classic film. The tacked on introduction scene and the obligatory happy ending are indeed laughable when one thinks of what is horrific in this day and age, but I was hooked from the surreal credit sequence on. To me, the real ending of this film will always be at the burning windmill, an ending of an all-too-believable tragedy.

Colin Clive is a little bit overblown as Herr Frankenstein, but he does a capable enough job with the title role (something that is usually tacked onto the monster instead). Edward Van Sloan, a favorite of mine from the Universal stock company, does quite well himself as Frankenstein's old teacher, Dr. Waldmann. As for Karloff...*exhale in admiration* what can I say? I first knew him as the narrator and voice of the Grinch in Dr Seus' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (I didn't find this out until years later, but find out I did). "Frankenstein" marked the first time that I'd ever seen him on the screen for real. From the stiff walk to the eternally mournful face, he made the misunderstood monster his for the ages (it is also telling that, in spite of this, Karloff went on to a long, illustrious, if underappreciated, career).

Two other facts that stick in my mind about this movie: the creation sequence and the naming of two of it's characters. The heavy-industrial machinery used to create the monster was inspired by the silent Fritz Lang classic, "Metropolis" (indeed, many films, from the original "The Mummy" and "Bride of Frankenstein" to "Dark City" and "The Matrix" owe a debt to this excellent science fantasy), specifically the grafting of Maria's image onto the android. This machinery, I am told, would later go on to a return engagement in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein". Fact #2: anyone who has read the novel will know that the first name of Frankenstein is Victor and his best friend's Henry. Apparently the play (or perhaps the screenplay writers; I've no way of knowing) switched these two around to where we know have HENRY Frankenstein and VICTOR his best friend.

The only thing that has "sucked" about "Frankenstein" is its imitators vainly trying to make lightning strike twice (pun intended). But don't bet the house on any ever coming close. A hundred years from now, this brilliant alternate work will still stand as truly classic as the book that helped to inspire it.


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