Frankenstein (1931) Poster



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  • In an attempt to create life, Doctor Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), aided by his hunchbacked assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), collects body parts from graveyards and gallows and uses them to assemble a creature (Boris Karloff) that he brings to life in his laboratory. Unbeknownst to Henry, however, the brain of the creature was taken, due to Fritz's incompetence, from a criminal whose life was one of violence, brutality, and murder. When the monster kills Fritz, Henry's former professor Doctor Waldman (Edward Van Sloan), a little village girl, and terrorizes Henry's fiancée Elizabeth (Mae Clarke), Henry realizes that it's up to him to kill the life he just created. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Frankenstein is based on a 1930 stage adaptation by British playwright Peggy Webling, which was loosely based on the 1818 novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by 19-year old British author Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley [1797-1851]. The play, which was further adapted by American playwright John L. Balderston, was adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The villagers form three groups to search for the monster. Frankenstein leads one group into the mountains and eventually comes face-to-face with the monster, who knocks Frankenstein unconscious and carries him to the top of an old mill. As the villagers amass around the mill, their torches blazing, the monster throws Frankenstein to the ground. He is saved, however, when his body lands on one of the windmill arms, breaking his fall. The Burgomeister and several villagers carry Frankenstein to his home, while the other villagers set fire to the windmill, trapping the monster inside. In the final scene, Henry recuperates in his bed, Elizabeth at his side. Outside Henry's bedroom door, Baron Frankenstein (Frederick Kerr), Henry's father, drinks a toast to Henry's future son. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Ygor/Igor didn't enter the picture until Universal's third movie, Son of Frankenstein (1939) (1939). In Frankenstein, the first film, the doctor's assistant was named Fritz. In the second film, Frankenstein's assistant was named Karl. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The best estimate is that Karloff in full costume was between 6'2" - 6'4", given that the heavy boots added @ 4" and the head piece another 1" to Karloff's 5'10" - 5'11" frame [Karloff is listed as 5'10" in some bios and 5'11" in others]. In Shelley's novel, the Frankenstein monster was 8 feet tall. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In short- not very. First and foremost, Henry and Victor's names have been reversed in this movie. Beyond this, the book explores Frankenstein's early life in much more detail, he works alone (as opposed to having Fritz for help), and no one else is around to witness the "birth" of his monster- indeed, no other character in the book ever finds out what he did at all. Probably the biggest change is that, in the book, the monster (asides from looking radically different) is intelligent and articulate, arguably more so than his creator in the end, and is also rather well read, often philosophically musing the nature of his own existence. The movie also changes/omits several plot strands such as the monster killing Victor's infant brother William, the De Lacey family (from whom the monster learns speech), Elizabeth and Henry's murders at the monster's hands, and the arctic-set bookends (to name a few). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In 1818 a young woman prodigy named Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published a horror story called Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, about a German student, Frankenstein, who fabricated a monster that ultimately became the agent of his creator's destruction. The aptness of the fable and of the foreign-sounding name popularized the plot and notion among the many who never read the novel. For decades it was therefore felt necessary to correct those who thought that Frankenstein was the monster, and in any direct reference to the story this correction is still in order. But in alluding to situations in which the creature undoes the creator—e.g. man and his machines—it seems permissible to many writers to transfer the maker's proper name to his invention. The change follows the natural process of acceptance. Thus a mackintosh, a Ford, a silhouette—to say nothing of a Rembrandt, a Malaprop, or a sandwich—are familiar extensions that would encourage legitimizing a Frankenstein, and not just by yielding spinelessly to a common misunderstanding. – Wilson Follett (edited and completed by Jacques Barzun), Modern American Usage, NY, 1966 Edit (Coming Soon)

  • There were seven Universal Studios sequels made. In Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (1935), the monster (Boris Karloff) gets a mate. In Son of Frankenstein (1939) (1939), Dr Frankenstein's son Wolf (Basil Rathbone) revives his father's monster (Boris Karloff). The monster (Lon Chaney Jr.) is revived again in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) (1942) and treated by Dr Frankenstein's son Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke). The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr) recovers the monster (Bela Lugosi)'s body from a block of ice and he is revived again by Dr Mannering (Patric Knowles) in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) (1943). In House of Frankenstein (1944) (1944), mad Doctor Neiman (Boris Karloff) revives the monster (Glenn Strange) in order to exact revenge on his enemies. In House of Dracula (1945) (1945), the monster (Glenn Strange) is again found by the Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr) and revived by renowned Doctor Edelman (Onslow Stevens). Many purists insist that the classic Universal Frankenstein saga ends here, but some also count Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) (1948) in which Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Doctor Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert) attempt to transplant Wilbur's (Lou Costello) brain into the monster (Glenn Strange). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • There have been dozens of sequels, returns, rebirths, follow-ups, documentaries, and spoofs of Shelley's tale but only a handful of attempts to retell the original story. Actually, the very first attempt to tell Shelley's tale through the cinema was not Universal's Frankenstein, as many people believe, but a 1910 short called Frankenstein (1910). Universal's 1931 movie was followed by The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) (1957), Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) (1973), Victor Frankenstein (1977) (1977), Frankenstein (1984) (1984), Frankenstein (1987) (1987), Frankenstein (1992) (1992), Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein (1994) (1994) featuring Robert De Niro as the monster, and Frankenstein (2004) (2004), a made-for-TV miniseries. Edit (Coming Soon)


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