Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

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
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:

To have seen it is to wear a badge of courage! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Boris Karloff is considered a late bloomer in Hollywood. Frankenstein (1931) premiered when he was 44 years old. See more »

Goofs

After Henry lets Elizabeth, Victor, and Dr. Waldman into his lab, there is a 2-shot of Henry and Waldman (seated) and in the upper left the shadow of a crew persons arm moves in and out of the Frame. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Edward Van Sloan: How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We're about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation: life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you...
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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

In current prints, for the first time since the film's original release, Dr. Frankenstein can clearly be heard exclaiming, "Now I know what it feels like to be God!", as the Monster first shows signs of life. In the previous "restored" version, this line was obscured by a clap of thunder, and in all prints made after 1934 up until the film's restoration to full-length, the line was cut by censors. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Julie & Julia (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Dated-yes, scary-sure, must see-absolutely !
20 March 1999 | by Don-102See all my reviews

James Whale's original FRANKENSTEIN is a short but memorable horror classic that has influenced so many other fright flicks, it should be considered the Godfather of Horror Movies. This was the first of Universal Studios' moody screen adaptations of literary Gothic horror (the other being Dracula). Put all thoughts regarding Mary Shelly's novel aside and see this original work of art, with Boris Karloff bringing the ultimate monster to life.

The sets are a pure spin off of German Expressionism. The good Doctor Frankenstein's castle is twisted and distorted and seems to be not of this world. He is played by Colin Clive in a delightfully freakish performance. And, of course, the well-proportioned Fritz is there to help. Notice the signposts of evil in the opening grave robbing scenes. It is a prop-master's dream and the black and white photography displays a theatrical sense of spookiness. "It's Alive!" will live forever as one of the cinema's most familiar lines and the picture begins to sparkle as Karloff is brought to life. The influence of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS is evident during the dazzling scene of the Monster's birth.

Boris Karloff is and always will be the prototypical Monster. The closeups of his face are truly frightening after all these years. He is walking death, however, Karloff gives him a hint of sadness, of a creature who was not meant to be. The flower-toss scene with the little girl was so controversial at the time of the film's release, it was cut from many versions. The new, restored print available on video has it.

I know FRANKENSTEIN has been spoofed many times and is wide-open to criticism regarding its dated look. Mel Brooks went so far as to use the actual props from Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory in his hilarious send-up, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Be sure to keep an open mind and watch it in the dark. Boris Karloff and James Whale have created a monstrously fun film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

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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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,626
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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