Saturday, January 24, 2015

Frankenstein - caught by the flash mob

Next out of the box set is James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein with another instantly iconic appearance by Boris Karloff as one of the most instantly recognisable movie creations of the 20th century.

And Karloff is indeed great, which is just as well as the rest of the cast are a bit theatrical and dramatic for modern tastes. Dwight Fyre stands out again as Fritz, and the man who plays the drowned girl's father is very impressive. The scene where he carries his child's body through the wedding festivities is moving and memorable.

Oddities that stand out on this viewing include the fact that the famous creation screen is witnessed by Dr Waldman and Frankenstein's friend Victor. Quite why the title character has swapped first names with his best friend is a mystery. There is also the strange mixture of upper class British society and the trappings of the Tyrolean village setting which places the film in that weird Hollywood uncanny geographical valley.

Jack Pierce's makeup and Karloff's creature are the clear stars of the show. Apart from that the film is strangely muted. The creature kills Fritz, and there is its horrifying mistake with the child by the water, but Elizabeth survives her attack. Apart from that it does very little other than wrestle with his creator on top of the mill as the torch carrying mob look on. Was this the very first sighting of a torch waving mob in the movies? No pitchforks on show but lots of sturdy sticks to beat the creature if they should come across it.

I'm going with 4 out of 5 neck bolts for this one and on to the next. I want my Mummy.

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