Frankenstein (1931)


Directed by: James Whale

Produced & Written by: Garrett Ford & Francis Edward Faragoh
Mary Shelley (Novel)


Colin Clive .... Henry Frankenstein
Mae Clarke .... Elizabeth
John Boles .... Victor Moritz
Boris Karloff .... The Monster
Edward Van Sloan .... Dr. Waldman
Frederick Kerr .... Baron Frankenstein
Dwight Frye .... Fritz

Release Dates: Theatrical: November 21, 1931; Venice Film Festival: August, 1932





People are grieving over their loved one's at a funeral and then later on a mad scientist named Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) along with his eccentric sidekick Fritz (Dwight Fye) dig up these corpses as well as finding a brain they stole in a science lab to try and create a monster made of dead bodies in which he succeeds after this thing is awoken by a flash of lightning during a thunder storm.
However, Frankenstein's creation is out of control and thinking that he has this thing locked in his dungeon without realising it has escaped into the woods he tries to settle down and get married to his loved one Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) but after he finds out on a murder from his creation him and a bunch of villagers try to track this monster down before anyone else perishes.


The film starts off marvellously with a great dark shot on a group of people grieving over at a cemetary since the settings looked perfectly gloomy since this was filmed at Universal Studios in which are perfect for their film sets without a doubt. Then we spot a couple of eccentric characters which is of course Henry Frankenstein and his sidekick Fritz as this of course looks deifentely twisted giving the film a perfect horror feel to everything surrounding this moment and leaving a perfect horror story impression too.
More mysterious and spooky moments with Fritz breaking into a science laboratory and trying to grab a brain there in which this can make you cringe as to why he's doing this but this was a nice drawing card to Frankenstein's creation with some of the intense moments on him accidentally knocking stuff down there and so fourth.
More perfect settings on a dark tower with thunderstorms occuring since this helps make something seem spooky as some of us were afraids of storms when we were growing up as well as a look at Frankenstein's lab and exposing his latest creation in which today looks typical for what the little kids sometimes wear for Halloween but definetely spooky back then as the monster that he's about to bring to life as well as his insane attitude which adds to the nice intensity to the story too. It's certainly creepy while se spot this creation of the monster while it rises to the top of the roof so lighnting can strike down on it to awaken which was a huge influence to other horror filmmakers to have some similar moments to horror characters like this example over the decades since it works well and making alot of this seem darker and more scary.
Plus there's a moment with Frankenstein approaching closer towards his creation which doesn't look too suspenseful nowadays but certainly was bone chilling then making you cringe that this thing might get up and attack and we do see his arms slowly starting to move making you wonder if he will leap up and attack.
Also there's a nice dark approach by the monster opening a dark door and revealing itself which was impressively spooky as well as Frankenstein trying to be cuatious by telling this thing what to do as this makes you watch carefully wondering if this monster will disobey and go into an attacking rage. There's the breaking silence of course when we have Fritz suddenly coming in and attacking with a torch which of course hell breaks loose as this looked pretty disturbing for this time and age. It looked well done adding alot of good suspense to the plot.
In the story we spot a nice heartwarming moment with a little girl named Maria spemding time with her tabbycat near a lake and being happy as well as befriending with the Monster by showing him on how to throw daisies in the lake. There's a moment when he is confused and tosses her in the lake causing her to drown as this scene was deleted which was pretty disturbing with this moment but nowadays it looks pretty funny and had to mention it. A good thing they put it back in 25 years later.
Perfect settings on the town going wild running with flame torches to try and find the monster and snuffing it out which was superbly well put in since alot of these moments were common in a monster film during this time period.
Nice dark shots on Frankenstein and the monster struggling against one another near a rocky area adding alot of good terror for a flick in it's time but of course nowadays it seems pretty stale.
There's even intense moments with the villagers lighting a windmill home on fire with the monster inside of it as of today you can tell it looks like a phony prop with the fire blazing around it but back then I can imagine that it looked incredible with the effects back then.
Bottom line is that this film works well still in today's standards as there's nothing but watching a good old fashioned monster movie offering alot of funny and dark sequences. May not be scary in today's standards but it was certainly an original monster flick that inspired many other horror films as well as spoofs. If you're in the mood for a classic black and white horror film then I'd advise this one.

The acting was good for it's time in which we have lead actor Colin Clive (Henry Frankenstein) playing no other than the mad scientist creating this beast. He definetely has a great drive into coming across as a bit nutty with his actions showing a high energised type of behavior. Plus he also knew on how to act calm and decent at the same time too throwing in the punches while doing all of this in which he shows off a nice versatality here. He was indeed a perfect character actor and a legend too. Shows a perfect rage of excitement after he spots his creation in which he knew on how to go insane with his speaking while he performs all of this.
Mae Clarke
(Elizabeth) comes across nicely with her mellow and caring type of behavior and knowing on how to come across clearly as someone who is the innocent type too. Does well screaming in a certain scene. She also shows nice energy with her fears in certain parts of the film too.
Boris Karloff (The Monster) of course took the bull by it's horns playing the creation here in which he certainly came across with a nice intimidating and confused type of attitude as well as bringing across the odd humoress personality too. He had no lines of course but knew on how to bring this role to life at the same time having expressionless type of appeal or even showing some expressions too. He for sure studied this part perfectly. He shows great energy with his meancing type of behavior too. Does well screaming and groaning in fear while being trapped inside a windmill house which looked intense and energetic.
Edward Van Sloan
(Dr. Waldman) brings across a nice sharp type of personality in which he really gets to the point with what he does and makes that very clear and also has a good tense type of behavior too when the suspense happens in the flick too. He also has the perfect looks for all of this in what he portrays too. Shows a good focus while teaching his class and was good with his speaking instructions on what to do making this come to life well.
Frederick Kerr (Baron Frankenstein) certain shows a nice elderly type of gruff behavior in what he does with his scruffy speaking in which this comes across as realistic as well as knowing how to get blunt to the core with everything that he does. I was impressed with his supporting role in this one and was a perfect attention grabber with what he does in his work. A nice blunt speaking and aggressive motions by ordering his servants in which he shows off a nice energetic moment while doing all of this.
Dwight Frye (Fritz) had the perfect key supporting role in the film as he got to act as crazy as he wanted to be and was totally hyped up for the part which inspired roles like Igor and other types too. He was believeable with his crazed eccentric role and can grab your attention big time with everything that he did for this role. Does well acting anxious pacing around in a laboratory along with nice blocking on him acting clumsy while grabbing for stuff in which he does well reacting very anxious while doing all of this. Shows nice energy storming in and attacking someone else in which he reacts well with a great rage of excitement. He often played these types of roles cause he's perfect for them and had the right crazed type of looks for it too in which he became a cult legend too.

The music sounds greatly old fashioned with the exciting trombone playing for the opening credits of the film making it sound very suspenseful as well as using fast violin playing too throughout the story and the drumbeats too. Plus there's also nice violin weeping for the romantic scene's used here which was all put together by Bernhard Kaun whom was uncredited in the film itself.

Victor Moritz: You're crazy!
Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We'll see whether I'm crazy or not.

Dr. Henry Frankenstein: You're quite sure you want to come in?... Very well.
[Locks door and pockets key]
Dr. Henry Frankenstein: Forgive me, but I'm forced to take unusual precautions.

Henry Frankenstein: The brain you stole, Fritz. Think of it. The brain of a dead man waiting to live again in a body I made with my own hands!

Henry Frankenstein: Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!
Victor Moritz: Henry - In the name of God!
Henry Frankenstein: Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!

Young Girl: See how mine floats.
[the Monster picks her up]
Young Girl: No, you're hurting me! No!

Doctor Waldman: You have created a monster, and it will destroy you!

Baron Frankenstein: [lastlines]
[Raises a glass of wine to offer a toast]
Baron Frankenstein: Well, as I said before, here I say again, Here's... Here's to a son... to the House of Frankenstein.
Maid: Indeed, Sir. You too, Sir.