Saturday, February 22, 2014

Frankenstein (1931)

Starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan
Directed by James Whale
(actor & director credits courtesy

A brilliant scientist succeeds in bringing life to a human body he's assembled from dead tissue, but he's soon horrified when he realizes it's an uncontrollable monster he's created.

Universal Pictures presents another of the great classic horror films, anchored by the twin triumphs of Boris Karloff's terrific performance as the monster, and Jack Pierce's frightening makeup for the actor.  Karloff is truly mesmerizing, providing childlike wonder, mortal terror, and seething anger when called upon, and it's not hard to imagine audiences of the time screaming when the monster's attacks turn brutal.  Although it's not a close adaptation of Mary Shelley's famed novel, the film is true to her themes of the dangers of man playing god, and the terrible consequences this can have, and director Whale stages a memorable birth scene for the creature, raised to the terrific height of a staggering tower to be bathed in the electrical output of a powerful storm.

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