I’ve owned this movie for a good half-decade, and I don’t think I’ve watched it since I got it, But I got it the same time I got Dracula and Wolfman, so it had to wait its turn. I think I have the first 5 at least, I’ll see how many I have as we go. Please enjoy my Frankenstein Series, and this review.
Considering these movies are all over 70 years old, don’t expect spoiler warnings. So do the movies hold up? Are they worth it, or just better left in the dustbin of Hollywood?
First off, I love the fact that the Monster gets a ? for who plays him. They do give Karloff as the name at the end, but its a nice touch, about the closest we get now is Kevin Spacy not being in the credits for “Seven” but still.
So we start with Frankenstein, thats Dr. Frankenstein, lets always keep in mind that Frankenstein is the creator, NOT the monster. Its kind of like who was the killer in Friday the 13th for your great-grandparents. Of course, back then they may have read the book, but I digress. Frankenstein and Fritz (not Igor) are pulling a coffin out of a grave, cause they need the parts. Coffins are F’N heavy, but not for these pair.
Elizabeth shows up, and can’t figure out why he’s always working, and why she can’t visit his work. So she goes with her freind, Victor Moritz, to go see Dr Waldman, to have an intervention for Frankenstein. Dr Waldman is able to find out what the experiment is, Frankenstein is working on creating life! Elizabeth is still trying to get Victor to stop working. She’s hot, but getting annoying.
Dr Frankenstein finally finishes his work, and tells the crew to watch. We get the whole lightning storm action, and Dr Frankenstein is a HUGE ball of fun to watch here. The Monster’s hand starts to move, and Dr. Frankenstein is jumping all over the place like a madman.
The Monster is kinda slow at this point, so Dr Frankenstein has him have a seat. Fritz walks in with a torch, that panics the monster, and Dr. Frankenstein thinks that he’s attacking him, and Dr. Frankenstein and Waldman go after him and a battle comes out. The fun thing is Dr. Frankenstein almost as strong as the Monster as when they fight hand to hand, Frankenstein is able to stop him. So the Monster is chained up in the . . . basement? Fritz decided to be an asshole to the monster, using a whip and a torch to mess with the monster.
Dr. Frankenstein and Waldman debate what to do with the monster, when they hear a scream, The Monster has gotten a hold of Fritz and killed the bastard. So instead of just shooting it, or something, they want to inject it with a chemical, after they release it. I ahve no idea why they want to do this, but ok. If the Monster is the first of its kind- how does Frankenstein know the chemical will kill it? So the Monster is released, they are able to inject him, but it doesn’t kill him, just knock him out. Again, they let him live.
Frankenstein decides he needs to go to his wedding, leaving Waldman with the Monster. Waldman gets killed by the Monster, and he escapes to the wilderness.
The Monster comes across a little girl. The girl isn’t scared of him, and they have a cute little scene where the girl throws a flower in to the lake/river/ocean and the Monster thinks this is fun, so he grabs the girl and tosses her into the water, she drowns in a few feet of water. The Monster panics and takes off again. This is his first actual kill of an innocent.
So the Wedding is ready to go, and the couple is waiting on Waldman. Victor comes in and says that Waldman is dead, and Frankenstein blames the Monster when he hears a scream, and runs to finds Elizabeth unconsous but alive on her bed.
Now the little girls body has been found, and her dad is carrying her body through the town, and I mean he must walk through the ENTIRE TOWN. The Mayor sends out the people to go after the monster. Frankenstein goes into the mountains (and if you look at the backdrop, you can see uh, some damage to the night sky) Frankenstein and the Monster meet up, the Monster knocks out Frankenstein and takes him in the old mill. His uh, “team” catches up to him, and they start to set the Mill on fire. He grunts and yells a lot, and fights Dr. Frankenstein again, and Frankenstein is thrown off the Mill, hitting one of the vanes like a ragdoll. Of course the first thing you do when a man has been thrown off a building is pick him up and carry him around. I know, I know, but its still funny.
The Mill is burned, and the Monster gets trapped under a beam and is burned. . . . as far as you know.
Back home Frankenstein is recovering with Elizabeth, and his Dad, Baron (von?) Frankenstein is saying he has a grandson.
This is a fun movie. There is a bit of plot, and but it’s not overly long like in some movies of the time period.
Dr. Frankenstein is a BALL. He just tears apart the movie and almost steals the movie from Karloff for me. He’s manic, and a big bonus in the movie is you don’t have a ton of time when either Frankenstein or his monster is on the screen.
My only real negatives
1. I understand it was the era, but the music could have been better- or even there. You got the Monster running around, you got mob scences, you even have an electrical storm. In the 30s a full orchestra could have done some awesome work. Sometimes it is just quiet.
2. Sometimes I care about the monster, but I don’t get why we have a “Criminal” brain, but he doesn’t do anything criminal. He’s not a bad guy starting off, and until he’s tourtured, really doesn’t do anything against anyone- he’s more simple than anything else, and even the “murder” of a little girl was an accident.
3. I feel like the little girl scene should have been earlier. He could have been evil after Fritz tourtures him. Its like Simple, Tourtured killing, acidential killing, purpose killing, end.
4. The curtain- you can SEE its not smooth. Its one of those, Wha? Parts, then you REALLY see it the second time.
Some minor gripes to be sure, but they don’t really take away from the movie too badly.
All in All, this is a FAST movie. Its claiming 70 minutes, but I’ve watched episodes of Resurrection that seem to take longer. I can see why the movie is so loved, and I can see why its aged well. Its well worth the time to watch, and enjoy with a group of freinds. I just love Dr Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
and finally House of Frankenstein (1944)
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