Monday, February 27, 2017

A Quick Look: FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

   Not sure what I can say about FRANKENSTEIN that hasn't already been said. The film really kicked off the monster cycle in Hollywood, and continues to be copied to this day (and even more copies copy the copies, anymore). FRANKENSTEIN told the story of the obsessed Dr. Frankenstein, and his experiments to create life from dead tissue. Frankenstein pieces together a man from the parts of dead bodies and then revives the creature by lightning shocks. The real trouble is that Frankenstein's assistant Fritz (Igor was actually a character introduced much later in the series) didn't get the brain Frankenstein wanted, so his monster has the brain of a lunatic. There's some interesting stuff here in terms of contemporary scientific discoveries and experimentation. A team of scientists would later (reportedly) revive a puppy from the dead, that the subject of the film LIFE RETURNS. The brain, in particular, was still being studied when FRANKENSTEIN emerged as a massive hit at the box office. Of course, the story had been filmed earlier (by Thomas Edison, in fact), but Universal's version was the one to really take it's place as King of thrillers. Following his success in DRACULA, Universal intended the film to star Bela Lugosi as the monster. Bela thought the part all wrong for him, since it would be done minus his brooding voice, and Boris Karloff got the part instead. The two actors would reign as the joint monarchs of horror for the next two decades. FRANKENSTEIN was such a hit that Universal demanded a sequel. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is considered by many to be the single finest horror movie of the era.

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