"It's alive! It's alive! It's alive! It's alive!...Now I know what it feels like to be God!"
- Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) after creating the Monster
Premiere - 12/01/2003
"The granddaddy of the horror genre..."
Total Film - 01/01/2004
"The best of the Universal monster movies, it boasts a fragile beauty."
New York Times - 09/26/2006
"A complete reimagining of the Mary Shelley novel, Whale's version makes the monster an object of both terror and pity..."
FRANKENSTEIN is James Whale's first stylish, expressionist film (INVISIBLE MAN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN) to grace the Universal horror cycle of the 1930s and 1940s (DRACULA, THE MUMMY). Scientist Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his hunchbacked assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), embark on an unholy mission by stealing a body from a graveyard and a human brain from a medical college. Unbeknownst to Frankenstein, however, Fritz takes a violent and murderous abnormal brain. Henry's strange letters about his experiments worry his fiancée, Elizabeth (Mae Clark), and friends Victor (John Boles) and Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan). They arrive at Frankenstein's laboratory to find the spectacular scene of creation under way--and Frankenstein intoxicated with his own godlike power.
FRANKENSTEIN is in many ways the original horror classic, virtually creating the genre itself, leading to numerous sequels and myriad imitators. Whale's ability to give humanity to the Monster is one of the film's most stunning successes.
James Whale's trailblazing horror classic is loosely based on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's gothic novel and features Boris Karloff in the role that made him a star. Mad scientist Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) has an insane ambition to create life in his own image. Frankenstein and his hunchbacked assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), toil in his foreboding mountaintop laboratory using pillaged human brains and cadavers. With the terrible creation's success, Frankenstein must shield his fiancée, Elizabeth (Mae Clark), and friends from the Monster's (Boris Karloff) fiendish wrath. Will Frankenstein pay the ultimate price for playing God'
Based On A Novel |
Horror Classic |
Horror Movies |
Mad Doctor |
Sci-Fi / Horror / Fantasy |
FRANKENSTEIN is number 87 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies.
FRANKENSTEIN was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1991.
Bela Lugosi, star of DRACULA (1931), turned down the role of the Monster. Lugosi and Karloff later became costars in many of Universal's popular 1930s horror films. Lugosi did play the monster in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, opposite Lon Chaney Jr.
Boris Karloff, an Englishman, was born William Henry Pratt. Karloff was a stage name.
Certain previously censored and cut scenes, including the drowning of little Maria, were restored in 1987.
FRANKENSTEIN bears little resemblance to the novel on which it is based. Frankenstein is even given the wrong first name (in the book he is Victor Frankenstein, and his friend is Henry). More of the novel's plot is covered in the film's sequel BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
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