Frankenstein

Frankenstein

4.8 12
Director: James Whale

Cast: Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Mae Clarke

     
 

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This DVD is actually superior to the film it contains, and considering that the movie in question is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, that's saying something. James Whale's Frankenstein never looked better than it does here, running circles around even the best laserdisc editions. A few scenes show more wear than one would like, but the image and

Overview

This DVD is actually superior to the film it contains, and considering that the movie in question is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, that's saying something. James Whale's Frankenstein never looked better than it does here, running circles around even the best laserdisc editions. A few scenes show more wear than one would like, but the image and the details are so sharp that it looks as though one could step inside of it. In this edition of the movie, viewers can truly appreciate the sheer eeriness and the full details of Boris Karloff's monster, right down to the texture of the skin, and get a good idea of what made the movie so extraordinary in its time. Additionally, it's fascinating to compare the assembly of the "restored" material here with the laserdisc version of the late-'80s; the laser looks like a crude and sloppy editing job, where the DVD is seamless in those previously "lost scenes" (the uncut creation sequence and the incident with the little girl). The audio is a little more problematic; while clean and very crisp, the dialogue is mastered too low in relation to the sound effects, making listening a choice between the dialogue too low or the sound effects too loud. The film by itself might well justify the high list price of this DVD, but the latter offers a lot more. The accompanying secondary audio narration by Rudy Behlmer is one of the best ever done for a classic film. Behlmer walks viewers through virtually every shot of the movie and the story as it unfolds, not just through the pre-production and production history but the entire tale of the Frankenstein story and its various theatrical and cinematic incarnations prior to the Universal film, right down to the details of the various screen tests (including that of Bela Lugosi). This principal part of the supplement is a great performance in and of itself -- vastly entertaining and as valuable as a detailed book about the film, the novel, and Universal. The film is also accompanied by a selection of stills and lobby cards, a re-release trailer, and a frame-by-frame look at the movie's production history and the background of its players. The menu is easy to access and maneuver, though the film starts up automatically, so one must punch it up out of the modern MCA-Universal logo.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Because Frankenstein created much of the cinematic language of horror films, it has often been imitated (and parodied). Consequently (and ironically), viewers coming to the film today may mistake the conventions that it created for clichés. The mad scientist and his neo-gothic lab, comma-shaped assistant, and rigidly lurching monster were all creations of director James Whale, and all have become movie icons. However, watching Frankenstein is more than simply an exercise in nostalgia. Despite moments of melodrama, the film is wonderfully economical, telling a complex and engaging tale in little more than one hour. There are more moments of quiet power (most of them involving the strikingly effective Boris Karloff as the monster who simply wants to be loved) than you'll find in a fistful of big-budget horror films. Whale knew his medium and didn't clutter the action with a lot of chatter. Instead, he filled the screen with images that would become part of our cultural lexicon. He builds the story to its tragically inevitable climax, interchanging moments of subtle beauty and dreadful horror. Rather than simply adopt a conventional perspective (man should not play God), Whale emphasized the human drama (Frankenstein should not have abandoned his creation), turning a horror film into an existential tale of man's fear of abandonment.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/17/1999
UPC:
0025192032523
Original Release:
1931
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:11:00
Sales rank:
1,062

Special Features

"The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster" (original documentary); Feature commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer; The Frankenstein Archives; Short film "Boo!"; Production notes; Cast and filmmakers' bios and film highlights; Original theatrical trailer; Universal web links

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Colin Clive Henry Frankenstein
Boris Karloff The Monster
Mae Clarke Elizabeth
John Boles Victor Moritz
Dwight Frye Fritz, the Dwarf
Edward Van Sloan Doctor Waldman
Frederick Kerr Baron Frankenstein
Pauline Moore Bridesmaid
Michael Mark Ludwig, Peasant Father
Francis Ford Villager
Arletta Duncan Actor
Lionel Belmore Herr Vogel, Burgomaster
Marilyn Harris Little Maria

Technical Credits
James Whale Director
E.M. Asher Associate Producer
John L. Balderston Screenwriter
David Brockman Score Composer
David Broekman Score Composer
Arthur Edeson Cinematographer
Francis Edwards Faragoh Screenwriter
Robert Florey Screenwriter
Garrett Elsden Fort Screenwriter
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Charles Hall Art Director
Clarence Kolster Editor
Carl Laemmle Producer
Jack P. Pierce Makeup
Maurice Pivar Editor
Herman Rosse Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter List
1. A Word of Friendly Warning [2:04]
2. The Grave Robbers [4:37]
3. The Abnormal Brain [7:27]
4. The Preparations [4:19]
5. Frankenstein's Plan [4:30]
6. The Creation [7:42]
7. The Creature [3:33]
8. His Tormentor [:58]
9. First Blood [6:37]
10. The Creature Escapes [5:49]
11. Maria and the Monster [5:47]
12. The Uninvited Guest [4:34]
13. To Find a Monster [5:33]
14. The Windmill [2:06]
15. Death to the Monster! [2:00]
16. A Toast to the Frankensteins [2:15]

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Frankenstein 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great acting, great screenplay. It was as scary as it was suspensful.
drsdata More than 1 year ago
I recommend this great DVD package to anyone who is a fan of universal horror classics. And also to anyone that wants to see a powerful performance by Boris Karloff in the definitive Frankenstein role done with such humanity,care and believability. For a character that did not speak the creatures eyes told of his tortured ordeal to be accepted by man.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best of all Frankenstein films that have been made so far, this film is by far one of the best classic films. Boris Karloff is the of all people to play the monster without a doubt. Although the movie is barely based on the book, it is still one of the best films to come out of the black & white era. With a great cast and an excellent director, Frankenstein is a great film that people would be insane to miss. Surely a great horror classic all will love if they appreciate the fine acting and the terror that will make you want to see it again.
marty47 More than 1 year ago
My 11 year old saw parts of this in science class so we had to get it for Halloween!
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