Watched: September 10 2016
Director: James Whale
Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester, Valerie Hobson, Una O’Connor
Runtime: 1h 15min
Liquids consumed: inordinate amounts of wine…
Dr. Frankenstein learned absolutely nothing from the events of the first film and is back to repeat his past mistakes.
Both the good(?) doctor and his creation survived the burning windmill at the end of Frankenstein and they are back. The creation (KARLOFF! KARLOFF! KARLOFF!) doesn’t exactly redeem himself in the beginning, by killing both parents of the girl he inadvertently drowned in the first film.
Again, the creature is captured, but no chains can bind him! He escapes into the woods where he eventually meets up with a lonely old blind man who takes care of him and treats his injuries.
The old hermit treats him like a person and teaches him humanity and compassion, something his creator failed to do. Of course, eventually angry villagers destroy his peace and he must once again go into hiding.
Meanwhile, Henry Frankenstein (Clive) is nursed back to health by Elizabeth (Hobson). When he recovers, he swears off playing God for the foreseeable future. That is, until his old mentor Dr. Pretorius (Thesiger) comes calling and lures him back in.
Pretorius befriends the creature and promises him a spouse. They convince (read: force) Frankenstein to assist them, and together the two scientists create a cultural icon (Lanchester).
If you haven’t seen this one, we have no idea what you are waiting for. The cast is brilliant; the effects are very impressive (such as the tiny seed-people), the sets are wonderfully stylistic and the film is beautifully lit. Like the first installation in the Frankenstein series, the story is loosely based on Mary Shelley’s novel, but a lot of liberties are taken with the story and the characters. They try to pay tribute to the author though, by introducing Shelley with her trophy husband Percy Bysshe and their mutual friend Lord Byron in the beginning of the film, but here Mary sort of comes off as a silly little girl which doesn’t do her justice. Still, it’s a nice nod to the creator of it all (although it gave Sister the Oldest flashbacks to certain scenes in Gothic ).
What we learned: Dr. Pretorius must have won some sort of masturbation championship to create so much life from his seeds.
Next time: Top Hat (1935)