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Frankenstein

USA 1931
produced by
Carl Laemmle jr for Universal
directed by James Whale
starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Lionel Belmore, Frederick Kerr, Marilynn Harris
screenplay by John L.Balderston, Francis Edward Faragoh, Garrett Fort, Robert Florey, based on the novel by Mary W. Shelley, electrical effects by Kenneth Strickfaden, make up by Jack Pierce

Frankenstein, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Monster (Boris Karloff)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Together with his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is collecting fresh corpses, & he isn't even too peculiar where he gets them from - be it a freshly digged grave or the gallows aside the road.

But why is he doing it (as if you wouldn't know) ?

He wants to create life on his own, play god, of course.

His fiancée Elisabth (Mae Clarke) & his best friend Victor (John Boles) are worried sick in the meantime, so they decide to go after him, visit him in his lab located in a clocktower in Goldstadt & persuade him to come back to his ancestral home - & to put some emphasis on their claim, they take his old professor Waldmann (Edward Van Sloan) with them:

They arrive however at the worst possible moment, when the thunderstorm Henry needs to generate enough energy to put the spark of life into his stitched up body is already in full swing ...

At first Henry refuses to even grant them access to his lab, & when he finally lets them in, they see before them someone resembling a raving madman ... his experiment, however, to bring a lifeless body to life, proves to be a success, even if Henry's creation proves to be a monster (Boris Karloff).

Weeks later, back at castle Frankenstein, Henry's father, the Baron (Frederick Kerr), gets rather impatient for his son still hasn't returned from Goldstadt when he already wants to prepare the boy's wedding to Elisabeth. So he decides to pay a visit to his son himself ...

At Henry's lab in the meantime, Henry tires to educate his creature, but all he does manage is to find out the creature is terribly afraid of fire & tends to get violent when confronted with it - because of which, Henry soon changes his creature up, much to the pleasure of Fritz, who takes the opportunity to torture it with a whiplash and fire ... until Fritz gets to close & the creature kills him. Only with the greatest of efforts can Henry, Victor & Waldmann wrestle the creature down, sedate it with some infusion & get it our of sight before the Baron arrives at the lab ... to see his son have a breakdown.

Again, weeks later: While at the Frankensteins' castle the preparations for Henry's wedding to Elisabeth are in full swing, professor Waldmann back in goldstadt runs some last tests on the creature, then plans to destroy it ... but the creature has some ideas of his own & kills waldmann instead, then escapes the clocktower & wanders the countryside. At an idyllic river, he spots little Maria (Marilyn Harris), who invites him to play with her. Visibly touched by the cute girl the monster sits down beside her & together they throw flowers into the water to watch them float. When they are out of flowers, the monster innocently throws Maria into the water to watch her float ...

Henry's & Elisabeth's wedding is about to begin, when Elisabeth's father carries her drowned body into town, demanding vengeance. & as if that wasn't enough, the monster even gains access to the Frankensteins' castle & threatens Elisabeth before he is chased off by Henry, Victor & company.

The mayor (Lionel Belmore) of the village soon deicdes to form a posse of torch-carrying villagers & has them swarm out to find whoever killed poor little Maria, but during the search, Henry gets seperated from the others & suddenly has to face the monster on his own, who promptly knocks him out & carries him to an old mill, where they are finally cornered by the angry mob of villagers, who waste no time using the torches they have brought & set the mill on fire.

The monster dies, Henry is saved though when the monster throws him out of the mill in order to kill him, but one of the mills wings stops his fall ...

 


A undisputed, genuine classic of both the horror genre & early talking pictures in general, that was initially produced merely to cash in on the unexpected success of Dracula from a few months earlier - & Bela Lugosi was even supposed to play the monster but declined -, but it soon overshadowed that movie in both popularity and quality.

Contrary to Dracula, that, despite its moments of ingeniuity, often looked exactly like the stageplay brought to film it was, Frankenstein had a very cinematic feel to it from beginning to end, with breathtaking sets that always reflected the on-screen goings-on perfectly (even if they are a bit cheesy at times), a wonderful Kenneth Strickfaden-lab, revolutionary make-up affects and one of the best casts ever assembled in a horror pic.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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