Frankenstein

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“Frankenstein” is a sci-fi horror movie directed by James Whale and produced by Universal Pictures in 1931. The film is based on the famous novel by Mary Shelley “Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus” and is considered a classic of the horror genre.

The plot of the film follows the story of young scientist Victor Frankenstein, played by Colin Clive, who tries to create life through science. After many failed attempts, Frankenstein finally manages to create an artificial human being, played by Boris Karloff. However, the creature turns out to be a monstrous and uncontrollable creature, which Frankenstein tries to remove from society.

The film is known for its gothic atmosphere and for the performances of its principal actors. In particular, Boris Karloff became famous for his portrayal of the creature, which made the character iconic in horror cinema. The film also introduced many elements common to later horror films, such as the gothic castle, the insane assistant, and the monster who falls in love with a woman.

“Frankenstein” was a huge box office success and influenced many subsequent films of the horror genre. The film has had many sequences and remakes, but the 1931 original remains a classic of horror cinema and a milestone in the history of cinema.

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Plot

Frankenstein-1931

The plot of the film follows the story of the young scientist Victor Frankenstein, who tries to create life through science. After many failed attempts, Frankenstein finally manages to create an artificial human being, using parts of human corpses. However, the creature is revealed to be a monstrous and uncontrollable creature, frightening and alarming all who encounter it.

The monster escapes from Frankenstein’s laboratory and makes its way to the city, where it is pushed back and driven away by the terrified inhabitants. Frankenstein tries to capture the creature and bring it back to the laboratory, but the creature always manages to escape.

Meanwhile, Frankenstein falls in love with Elizabeth, his fiancée, but the creature falls in love with her and tries to kidnap her. Frankenstein manages to save Elizabeth and the creature is chased and killed by the villages.

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Characters

Frankenstein-1931

Here is a list of the main characters featured in the 1931 film “Frankenstein”:

Victor Frankenstein: An ambitious young scientist who seeks to create life through science. He is played by Colin Clive.

The Creature: The artificial human being created by Frankenstein, played by Boris Karloff. The creature turns out to be a monstrous figure, yet both moving and tragic.

Elizabeth: Victor Frankenstein’s girlfriend, played by Mae Clarke. Elizabeth is a kind and loving young woman who tries to help Victor overcome his obsession with science.

Henry Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein’s best friend and assistant in his laboratory, played by Dwight Frye. Henry is an unstable character and obsessed with Frankenstein’s work.

Fritz: Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory assistant, played by Dwight Frye. Fritz is a dark and unstable character, who enjoys tormenting the creature.

Maria’s father: a village farmer, played by Frederick Kerr. Maria’s father is the first to encounter the creature, but is killed by it.

Maria: A little girl from the village, played by Marilyn Harris. Maria approaches the creature, despite its monstrous appearance, and becomes its only friend. She is then killed by the creature, unintentionally.

The head of the village: an authoritative and decisive man, played by Lionel Belmore. The village chief leads the villagers in hunting down the creature and orders its killing at the end of the film.

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Film Production

Frankenstein-1931

The 1931 film “Frankenstein” was produced by Universal Pictures, one of the most important film production companies in the United States. The director of the film was James Whale, an English director already known for his work in silent cinema.

The film is based on the famous novel by Mary Shelley “Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus”, published in 1818. The screenplay of the film was written by Garrett Fort and Francis Edward Faragoh, with the help of James Whale himself.

The production of the film was quite troubled, with numerous production problems and with the budget being spent more than expected. However, the film was a big box office success, grossing nearly five times its production cost.

The film was shot entirely in the Universal Pictures studios in Hollywood, with the use of innovative techniques for the time, such as lighting and black and white photography. In addition, Boris Karloff’s makeup to play the creature was particularly elaborate, with the use of prosthetics and heavy makeup.

The film was released in the United States in November 1931 and was highly successful, becoming one of the most popular films of the year and one of the most important horror films in the history of cinema.

Distribution and Reception

The film “Frankenstein” was released in the United States on November 21, 1931 by Universal Pictures. The film was very successful at the box office, grossing nearly five times its production cost. Also, the film was highly praised by critics and audiences.

The film was particularly noted for Boris Karloff’s performance as the creature, who was critically lauded for his ability to make the creature a tragic and moving character. The film also received praise for the direction of James Whale, who was able to create a dark and disturbing atmosphere.

However, the film was also criticized for its violence and controversial themes. In particular, the film was the subject of controversy for the scene where the creature kills a little girl. This scene was cut out in some versions of the film and led to the creation of the Hays Code, a set of ethical rules that would be used in the American film industry for decades to come.

Despite the criticisms, the film had a huge impact on popular culture and inspired numerous other films and fictional works. The creature character has become an icon of sci fi genre and horror cinema and the gothic genre, and the film helped make the theme of science challenging the limits of nature a recurring motif in modern fantasy and fiction.

Movie Style

1931’s “Frankenstein” was one of the first horror films to be produced in Hollywood and was one of the most influential films of its genre. The film’s style was characterized by a strong emphasis on gothic atmosphere and creating a feeling of dread through the use of light, shadow and sound.

The film uses black and white photography, which creates a dark and eerie atmosphere. Lighting was used to create strong contrasts and shadows, which help make the film visually striking.

Furthermore, the film uses a fast-paced editing and intense soundtrack, which create a sense of suspense and tension. The music was composed by Bernhard Kaun and was used creatively to emphasize the emotions and feelings of the scenes.

The film also uses innovative special effects for the time, such as the use of prosthetics to create the creature’s appearance. The make-up of Boris Karloff, who plays the creature, was particularly elaborate and helped make the character iconic.

Overall, the style of the film “Frankenstein” was innovative and influenced many other horror films that followed. His emphasis on atmosphere and creative use of photography, music and special effects created a visceral experience for audiences and helped define the genre of modern horror.

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Director

James-Whale

James Whale, the director of 1931’s ‘Frankenstein’ was an English director known for his work in silent and sound films. Whale began his film career as a set designer but became a director in 1930 when he directed the film ‘Journey’s End’.

Whale was chosen by Universal Pictures to direct “Frankenstein” because he demonstrated a great ability to handle films on a small budget and with a rapid production. The director created an eerie atmosphere in the film using innovative techniques such as lighting and black and white photography.

Whale also worked on other major horror films, such as ‘The Invisible Man’ (1933) and ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (1935), which is regarded as one of the best sequels ever made.

However, the director has also faced many difficulties in his personal life. Whale was openly homosexual, a fact that caused trouble in conservative 1930s Hollywood. Following his retirement from the film business, Whale lived an isolated and depressed life until his death in 1957.

Despite personal hardships, James Whale was an innovative and influential filmmaker who helped define the horror genre in American cinema. His work on “Frankenstein” was particularly important for the creation of a gothic atmosphere and the creative use of cinema technology.

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