"Frankenstein" (1931) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #115 Gem Mint 10.0

“Frankenstein“ (1931)

Director: James Whale

Writer: John L. Balderson, Mary Shelley, Peggy Webling, Garrett Fort, Francis Edward Faragoh, Richard Schayer, Robert Florey, John Russell

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Marilyn Harris

Rated: Passed / Pre Code

Runtime: 1h 10min

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Country: USA

Language: English | Latin

"Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts."

You might like this if you like: Horror, Monsters, Universal Monsters, Frankenstein Character, Zombies, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Drama, Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Marilyn Harris

Boris Karloff in "Frankenstein" (1931)

Another creepy classic I just had to have in my ‘Gem Mint’ collection. Expect to see all the Universal Monsters on here soon!

I consider “Frankenstein” (1931) to be the earliest Zombie film I can think of. The classic re-animation of the dead! Zombies stand on the shoulders of the ‘Frankenstein Monster’.

Without repeating myself too much (check out my first Universal Monster film review “Dracula” 1931), I fell in love with the monsters in my early teens. Diving in film history and consuming a lot of the early pictures around then. One of my favorite things about them are set pieces, make-up and all of the special effects that went into those pictures… absolutely incredible! Forgot to mention that in my “Dracula” (1931) review.

Boris Karloff (left) & Dwight Frye (right) in "Frankenstein" (1931)

I love the slow, cold opening with my favorite from “Dracula” (1931), Dwight Frye as ‘Fritz’, who graces us with his presence during the cemetery scene grave digging with Colin Clive for the soon to be monster!

The character relationships with student and professor I found really interesting and one of my favorite elements of the film to watch unfold. Edward Van Sloan’s Dr. Waldman’s relationship to Colin Clive’s Henry Frankenstein. It’s such a fun mythology, I love it! With his fiancé Elizabeth (Mae Clarke), and her friend Victor (John Boles).

Colin Clive in "Frankenstein" (1931

The entire ensemble of characters and how they effect each other feels so strong in this film me. It’s always made me feel for them a lot more than I have in most of these early monster pictures.

Colin Clive us truly amazing in this! I love me some Dwight Frye, especially after re-watching “Dracula” (1931) and very much loving Edward Van Sloan, but Clive took the show more than I remembered he did. It’s a wonderful arc to watch.

Boris Karloff (left) & Edward Van Sloan (right) in "Frankenstein" (1931)

Boris Karloff as well. Who I grew to love over his many, many performances and especially in Peter Bogdonovich’s “Targets” (1968), which I reviewed a few months earlier. I can’t even begin to point out the historical impact Boris Karloff’s ‘Monster’ has had in pop culture and society. From his movement, to his moans, you can see it mimicked even in today’s “The Walking Dead” (2010-).

Boris Karloff (left) & Marilyn Harris (right) in "Frankenstein" (1931)

A poetic, theatrical epic that goes down in history as an all-time classic. Again, I feel sort of unworthy reviewing any films, shows or comics without paying homage to the originals. It’s adventure, mystery, and science gone crazy in this wild tale!

Written by Sam Gall on June 28, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"James Whale's Frankenstein is a classic, not only in the sense of a genre but to film history overall. It masterfully adapts the work of Mary Shelley, presenting it to audiences in a culmination of skill at the dawn of horror." - Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

"Shocking in its day and still a genuinely creepy experience, director James Whale's primitive yet enthralling interpretation of Mary Shelley's classic tale of man playing God is the most influential genre movie ever made." - Alan Jones, Radio Times

"Frankenstein's "it's alive!" moment has left more of an imprint upon science fiction and horror filmmaking than any other big-screen scene before or since." - Sarah Ward, Flicks.com.au

"James Whale, director of the picture, may congratulate himself on making a talkie that wont be forgotten, even in those dark midnight moments when one awakes from a sound sleep to feel a prickling of the scalp and a cold sweat." - Globe Staff, Boston Globe

"The most influential horror film ever made, this stark and stylish work has a weird fairytale beauty." - Elliott Stein, Village Voice

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

Available on various VOD platforms

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