Saturday, October 06, 2007

Frankenstein


***1/2 (1931)

"Crazy am I? We'll see whether I'm crazy or not!"

Ahh, that's better. We all know the plot, say it along with me: Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz create a being of grave-robbed parts and criminal brain. Electricity provided by a picturesque thunderstorm enlivens the creature. Friends and family are appropriately concerned. The creature is docile enough until there is some trauma with a torch and a whip, which unleashes his violent side, and then people begin to get hurt and killed. Creature escapes castle. Cut to Dr. Frankenstein's wedding day which is spoiled by the creature terrorizing the bride and by the appearance of drowned little Maria, carried into town by her shocked father. Dr. F and townsfolk go to hunt creature; creature clocks Dr. F and carries him up a windmill tower, batters him and throws him to ground badly injured. Townsfolk burn windmill with creature in it. Dr. F lives to marry his sweetheart.

I really enjoyed this movie. The acting was good and played straight; the makeup was good; gotta love the iconic mad scientist laboratory (stress second syllable of "laBORatory"); even though I knew what was going to happen, I cared about the characters and their fates. I always feel empathy for the creature: he is capable only of simple emotions like fear, joy, curiosity, and anger, he has a bad brain and presumably no conscience (nature) and has had no socialization other than trauma (nurture), so how much can we blame him for his deeds?

And yes jpx, of course I'm going to review Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

5 comments:

DCD said...

Love the ploy synops, AC!

AC said...

Thanks dcd! :)

JPX said...

Great review! You should check out the 4 sequels, they're all fun. Also, if you dig the era, I would also suggest checking out the 5 Universal Dracula, Mummy, Werewolf movies as well as The Creature From the Black Lagoon and Invisible Man films. All are from the heyday of Universal monster movies and have been reviewed in previous Thons.

Octopunk said...

I've always liked that Dr. F's assistant in the first movie is named Fritz, not Igor. Where's Igor?

Bride of Frankenstein is great, and follows so closely on the heels of Frankenstein there's even a bit of dialogue that repeats. "Sit!"

I'mnotMarcbutmyboyfriendis said...

also one of the best books i've ever read. not just horror. it's freakin spellbinding. see whether i'm crazy or not.