Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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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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