Synyster Graves

Frankenstein

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Bear Goes Back In Time

Great Film, Bad Edit

Universal Studios was without question the most influential studio in the whole of the horror genre. From the silent classics like Phantom of the Opera through to Dracula and the Wolfman, they created some of the alltime great legends of cinema; And Frankenstein is probably the finest of the lot. Although not my favourite of the cycle of horror films it is surely the most refined and brillaint.
James Whale directed the film with loving care for every detail and the sets are simply superb. Every image that is now associated with the legend seems to have come from this film. The makeup for the creature (as Karloff preferred to call him) is also miraculous and again, has now been copied so many times that it has become a cliche. Karloff is of course incredible as the misunderstood and tragic protaganist and plays the part with much more heart than would be afforded the role by later characters. He also says more without uttering a single word than great actors like De Niro could in hundreds. Colin Clive, Dwight Frye and many others are also brilliant (with the exception of Frankenstein’s father who ruins every scene in which he appears).

The reason I give this film 4 stars rather than five is down to the edit and the final scene. The film comes to a climax with the windmill burning, but as the film was much more terrifying in its day, the studio executives stuck in a final scene with Frankenstein’s father drinking a toast to his son. The scene has no bearing on the film whatsoever and leaves a sickly taste in the mouth. My advice is to stop the DVD before you get there, it is not worth watching even once! The other little snag is the edit. The creation scene includes one of my favourite lines of alltime where the mad doctor, on seeing his horrible creation come to life has to be restrained ‘in the name of God’, in a fit of insanity and ego he cries: ‘In the name of God…Now I know what it feels like to be God’. The line is simply stunning. However, to watch it I must watch the making-of-documentary. When the film was released on TV in the 50s, certain religous pressure groups ‘passed judgement’ on the film and forced the line to be overdubbed with thunder and lightning to considerably lessened effect. It is just such a shame that no restored versions seem to bother putting the original line in rather than the sanitised version.

So, if they rerelease this film with the great line included, and you stop before the ghastly final scene, you will have a film good enough to knock Gone with the Wind and many other classics like it right out of the water!

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