The other day I happened to catch the 1931 film version of Frankenstein on TCM, the one with the iconic Boris Karloff portrayal of the monster.
I assumed I’d seen it before (I know I’ve seen bits of it anyway), but either I never watched the whole thing, or I was a kid and I’d forgotten most of it.
Several things surprised me, mostly surrounding the character of Henry Frankenstein. For starters, he was much less maniacal than I expected. True, he went a bit off the deep end for a while there, but he came back to his senses rather quickly when he realized he’d made a mistake. It was the other doctor, who did not follow through on his promise to destroy the monster, that allowed him to escape.
Later, my expectation was that the townspeople would rise up in anger against Dr. Frankenstein for having created this monster. Not so. Henry is actually one of the leaders of the posse going after the monster, and nobody seems to hold it against him. In fact, they save his life in the end. I expected a more tragic end for him.
Other observations: The climactic scene of the burning windmill looked magnificent. But the preceding scenes on the mountain – with the obviously fake muslin sky backdrop and everybody walking past the same rock over and over – were jarringly cheesy.
The film is only 70 minutes long! No screwing around here, we get right to the point. It’s a crisply told, fast-paced story that kept me fascinated start to finish.
Anyway, that’s about it. I have no really profound insights here, just wanted to share the fact that this 80-year-old classic was still able to entertain and surprise me, and to open up the floor for any further discussion.
MODERATOR INTERJECTS NOTE: This thread was started in April 2011, and is revived in March 2014 in Post #20. – CKDH