Reviewing one movie at a time…

Frankenstein (1931)


Trailer: Frankenstein (1931)

Starring:  Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff  – Directed By:  James Whale

Running Time: 1hr & 10 mins – Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

 

Big JD (Host)

Movie Selection Relevance

Happy Halloween!  What better time to watch a classic horror film than now.  It was a toss up between Dracula & this movie.  I figured since last week or so the new I, Frankenstein movie trailer premiered than this was an automatic lock.  It is a movie I’ve never seen and “frankly” I’ve always been curious.

Synopsis:

Henry Frankenstein was a very accomplished scientist that his obsession on “creating life”  had taken over his life.  Even when he was engaged to be married he still had to complete his life’s work on creating life with his bare hands from an assembled mess of dead body parts.  When he finally achieves his goal he finds that it is not possible to play god and that happy endings don’t come cheap.

Review:

Disappointing.  My first thoughts rang out during this entire movie.  Knowing that this movie had been made over 80 years ago I was prepared to give it some leeway.   Although, there were some things I couldn’t let slide no matter how much of a classic this movie claims to be.

The acting was very typical of 1930’s cinema.  Overacting in all of its grandeur.  I let this go due to the period of which this film was made.  I felt that Colin Clive did very good with the character of doctor Frankenstein.  (minus the fainting attacks)  Casting was superb with the likes of Boris Karloff playing a classic monster.  Go figure.  He did what hes good at I guess.  The directing was not to my liking although I will be nailing James Whale in the Editing portion so, I don’t want to double ding.  In this category also exists Lighting and Wardrobe.  The lighting gave a fantastic feel to this film, and the wardrobe only helped add to the feel and tone of the movie.  Well done.  I guess you might throw set pieces in there as well.  You could tell they were set pieces but I felt they were done very well and I especially liked the dark skies backdrops.

The editing of the film let much to be desired.  It started with bad cuts before and after the “digging up the grave” scene.  Then the bad editing and smooth transitions were all over the place.  Again, I was going to let it slide until I got to the “Monster meets Maria” scene.  Which I feel had tremendous potential of showing that the Monster had a large heart.  But after he tosses the little girl in the water it goes into a jumble of cut scenes showing the monster freaking out.  But what happened to the little girl?  Oh we see the father carrying her later on and we just have to assume that she’s dead.  I’m guessing the studio didn’t allow James Whale to show Frankenstein killing the little girl.  But if that was the issue he could have cut the film better with additional scenes to stronger convey what happened.

So, the father of Maria carries her lifeless body all the way into town and up to the doorsteps of the town mayor. (I’m guessing he’s the mayor).  And the mayor says why did you bring her?  With his reply being “she was murdered!”.  Now, stop right there.  What in the world makes him assume that she was murdered?  He left his young girl all by herself so that she could play right next to a lake.  He comes home and is surprised that she drowned?  Seriously?  Better parenting might have saved her life.  How could she not know how to swim when she lives right next to a lake?  So, then the town gets all upset and takes to fire & pitchforks after a person they’ve never seen before if he even exists.  Then Frankenstein joins the search in which after his fiancé was attacked he assumes his monster is in town.  But did he tell the mayor at all about this?  Nobody knows.  Quick question:  Was Fritz suppose to be Igor?  Or was Fritz the original character from the Shelley book?  I’m thinking he was.  The soundtrack was hardly there.  Wait, I might have to go check to see if there was a score…

Overall plot to me was very weak.  Man creates monster, monster gets loose, monster kills creator, town kills monster.  Actually that small synopsis felt like it had more depth than what I spent an hour and 10 minutes watching.  They give up on the “monster” after one incident that he was actually provoked into (fire).  That doesn’t seem like the Dr. was actually obsessed with his “experiment”.  Maybe he was just obsessed with the experiment itself and once he finished it he grew tired.  The Monster of Frankenstein was creepy at best.  I’ve seen this character my whole life and I thought he would be scarier than what he actually was.  He was quite agile for a Frankenstein monster.  Ninja-like at times.  I guess I was expecting more of the zombie stiff walking/creeping to show up but we get very little of that.

On the whole, I’m glad I watched it.  I was pretty terrified to start it up but once I did I realized there was nothing to fear.  Seriously, nothing at all to fear.  It’s not that the movie was cheesy, it’s more of the fact that it had so much potential to be more than what it was.

*Sidenote* I think I know where George Lucas got some of his character inspiration for his Yoda character.  Please see Baron Von Frankenstein.

Comic book Connection: n/a

Nudity Bonus:  n/a

 

2.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

After finally getting a chance to sit down and watch a Halloween Classic video all these years I finally get to see what the fuss is all about.
Boris Karloff the grand-daddy of monsters and playing multiple monsters being type casted just like Lon Channey and Bela Lugosi as the classics of horror, Boris plays the tall lanky giant of a man(or monster if you prefer) who says very little, much like my beloved Chewbacca. In this movie I feel there isn’t much of an acting part however he does bring the monster to life like when he is with the little girl and tosses the flowers to float in the water.
The rest of the cast did well but no one really stood out.
Classics like this for me are slow starters I feel like I am going to be bored but they are great sleepers they eventually grab my attention and keep me involved, for example for me with this movie it was a slow pace at first watching them collect everything for the monster. I know this is an adaptation but I felt they should have explained more about why he was so set on proving his point, who told him he was crazy in the first place ( Obviously the Professor/ Doctor who suddenly jumped on board then wanted to explore more before he “killed” the monster, and then the father Baron von Frankenstein obviously wasn’t too worried about his son because it had been how long then he wants to go get him, and was sure it was another woman “his experiments” Lots of things that would have been good scenes if more was produced.

I am sure we’ve all heard “Time is money” and if figure that is why the movie was a measly 1hr 10min long, to me it just gave me a taste with a chipper happy ending…? I mean the monster is dead right? and the maid staff wanted to bring wine for the recently wounded Young Henry Frankenstien, but I felt that it should have added more scenes that went into more detail, Also why did they call Igor “Fritz” a midget hunchback who looked like he could have been a ginger…even little guy.
Well over all the movie for a classic was ok, I don’t really see myself going out and watching it again, but it does leave me curious to see The Bride of Frankenstein. I was told it was much better, but like always that is one’s opinion.

2.50‘s

 

Kimmay!

In the last post, if you read it, I mentioned that I do not like old horror movies. I guess I should have said that I do not like the ones from the 60’s to the late 80’s. But the classics…I absolutely love them. Actors like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff really knew how to draw their audience in. The acting was not cheesy and to me, had just the right amount flair to make it fun to watch.

I must say I felt sorry for the monster in Frankenstein. This kind of brings up the question of nature over nurture and which one is more of a factor of how one is in life. Fritz, Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant. tormented the monster as much as he could. It was almost like he was the only child that got replaced by a new baby. He teased and teased even though “daddy” told him not to. The monster wanted to be good, that was shown when we was playing with the little girl. He just wasn’t taught how to be gentle, or the fact that throwing a person in water could kill them in 10 seconds or less.

So it was decided when the little girl was found dead that the monster must be taken care of. Dr. F takes it on himself to find and kill his own creation. But kinda gets his butt kicked in the process.

I really do like this movie. It has drama, romance, death and intrigue. So I give this movie…

4.0‘s

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s