Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This year has been filled with adaptations of Mary Shelley's famous novel for me. This summer I saw two screenings of Danny Boyle's brilliant stage production. Earlier this month, I saw Tim Burton's stop-motion homage Frankenweenie. (I'm not complaining: I just find it...unusual.)

And what better way to cap them all off than with James Whale's famous film? Made in an era where horror films were king, Frankenstein tells of a tale where one man tempts the moral ethics of his being. How? Nothing too extreme. Just trying to create a "am" from the remains of corpses.

The man in question is Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), a brilliant but visibly disturbed mind. (Not sure why the name went from Victor to Henry.) His devotion to his work becomes an unhealthy obsession, something that those close to him can clearly see. Yet he sees no flaws in it. Method to his madness, I suppose.

The "man" is, of course, played by Boris Karloff. Along with Bela Lugosi in Dracula and Claude Rains in The Invisible Man, Karloff just makes the role his own. There have been many imitators, but there can only be one original.

It feels rushed towards the end, but Frankenstein is still a great film. Whale knows how to capture the rage within both the creature and its creator, channeling anger towards the society that has scorned them. Oh, and you just can't beat Clive's manic delivery of this line: "Now I know what it feels like to be God!"

My Rating: ****1/2

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