Watched: August 14 2016
Director: James Whale
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
Runtime: 1h 10min
Another classic horror film (and old favourite of ours), Frankenstein probably needs no further introduction. But we’ll give you one anyway. Somewhere in Germany (we assume), the “astonishingly sane” Henry (not Victor for some reason) Frankenstein and his hunchback assistant Fritz (not Igor) are building a man from human cadavers. Frankenstein believes he has the knowledge and technology to reanimate the dead, and he succeeds in his efforts only to regret his decision almost immediately. They then go on to lock up and torture the poor creature (wonderfully portrayed by Boris Karloff) before leaving it to fend for itself while its creator gets married. Excellent parenting there.
The film is basically about a bunch of horrible people doing horrible things to a (more or less) defenceless innocent newborn and who are subsequently surprised when said newborn tries to defend himself and turns on them. Seriously, they all had it coming.
Angry mobs and fire abound, as do pretty dresses. The ending is heartbreaking, although we suspect it would have been hard for the Creature to attempt a normal life.
The film takes its concept and some of the story from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, but it differs in many respects. However, this film is possibly even more iconic than the book, so much so that many of the things people believe about Frankenstein come from Whale’s film rather than Shelley’s original (such as the character of Igor, the use of electricity to awaken the monster and the bolts on his neck).
We recommend both reading the book and watching the film, as you cannot have enough Frankenstein in your life. Then watch other film versions (especially Young Frankenstein ). Then reread the novel.
In conclusion: you need to watch this film. But if you do not feel for the Creature you are a coldhearted bastard and we will have nothing more to do with you.
Things we learned: there’s not enough Bavarian folk dancing in our lives.
Next time: Little Caesar (1931)