I have not seen the original movie in awhile, but many reviews mention the great expressionistic German village!
As it was in the original novel, Dr Frankenstein never goes to Transylvania, and it looks like the original movie was set in Germany, so who decided the monster had to come from Transylvania and when? Or: Why later movies began to place the monster in Romania?
This would be a good time to ask also if the correct spelling is Romania or Rumania.
Mmm, more searching points to other reviewers mentioning that the movie was set in a German/Austrian village, can someone verify if the 1931 movie was set in Germany? If that is so, then this movie was not the one that originated the Transylvania connection; even tough it is true that it came after Dracula.
The original James Whale movie was set in Germany or Germanic Switzerland; I have it on DVD but I don’t remember if they said. I haven’t seen it in a year.
The book, unless I miss my guess, was set in Switzerland. Victor was Swiss.
To Americans, Transylvania is a mythical place, without any other context than horror movies, so it’s the de facto homeland for all the classic tropes. That’s why Mel Brooks put Young Frankenstein there, but he’s not the only one.
IIRC, the Universal movie set Frankenstein in Germany. The novel moves all over the map,. with the monster bei8ng created in Germany, but menacing Victor first in Switzerland. The association with Transylvania I am sure, comes from the association with Dracula, and thus, ultimately, because Bram Stoker read a book called The Land Beyond the Forest. “Transylvania” sounds exotic and interesting, but not too strange, like “Mohorovicic”. It sounds reassuringly like “Pennsylvania”.
I agree with Fiver, and others above, about Transylvania’s status as the “classic” horror location. It’d take some serious film study to pin down the first movie to locate Frankenstein there.
Interestingly, Transylvania had a substantial ethinic German population from the middle ages to the end of World War II, when the Soviets started unapologetically shoving around populations as they redrew the map of Eastern Europe. I believe German place names pop up in the original Dracula novel, which may have fed subsequent confusion.
The actual Frankenstein Castle, whose name Mary Shelley may have picked up on her way to her stay on Lake Geneva in 1816, is in Darmstadt, Germany.
As Edward the Head notes, both spellings of Romania are acceptable. Formally, Rumania was generally used before the 1960s when its government began promoting Romania as a way of emphasizing the nation’s cultural ties to ancient Rome.
I just watched Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein last night, so I can answer this one:
Aside from a brief opening with Larry Talbot/The Wolfman in London (where A and C aren’t), all the film is set in Florida, including scenes in a most un-Florida-like gothic castle on an island in a lake.
No Transylvania involved.
Actually, there is a precedent for setting eerie things in that region that, I believe, predates even Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Jules Verne set his novel Carpathian Castle in the Carpathians (duh…)It is, so far as I know (aside possibly from Twain’s Connecticut Yankee), the first novel in which all the “supernatural” effects are created by scientific tricks, including powerful magnets and — a Television.
I think others have hit this one on the head. Transylvania, being the origin of Prince Vlad, has become – in American popular culture – the home of all ghoulies and beasties. I think the responsibility for this can be placed squarely on the scriptwriters for the old Universal horror films. Sure, Dracula is obviously from Transylvania. But the Wolfman? IIRC, werewolf legends were more centered in France. These movies invented an awful lot of the details which have now become permanent fixtures in the monster mythology.
Something else I noticed while watching several of these old movies was that – aside from the inevitably gypsies – most of the townspeople of exotic Transylvania seemed to be British, with the occasional German thrown in. Mel Brooks noticed the same thing, which is why he had a cockney constable in Young Frankenstein (according to the DVD commentary). That’s Constable Henry, BTW. Inspector Kemp was definitely German.
Only if you promise never to make me watch another Mummer’s Parade—I grew up watching those damn things, and to this day the sound of “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers!” makes me weep and hide my head under the quilt . . .
Our love shall be like Frankenstein’s creation-more than the sum of its parts, an elemental force beyond the ability of humans to explain or control, and capable of enduring fire, frost, or crushing stones.