Revisiting “Frankenstein” (1931)



For my latest entry where I cover the Universal 100th series, I am going to take a look at a film where (finally!) I have read at least one of the sources upon which the story is based.  Although known primarily by its Gothic novel by Mary Shelley, the film is actually based on the stage play written by Peggy Webling. This is similar to the film (and earlier ILC entry) Dracula.

For those unfamiliar with the story, I suggest you read the story. Dr. Frankenstein (portrayed in this film by Colin Clive), is obsessed with reanimation, the recreation of life. In order to achieve this, he and his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) harvest body parts, all in the hope of creating life through electricity. Unbeknownst to them, one of the parts they have collected (the brain) comes from a criminally psychotic man. You can guess where this is leading …

For me the most moving and touching scene is when The Monster (Boris Karloff) is on the run and he starts playing with the little girl. In fact this scene leads into probably the most iconic scene of them all – the marching of the townspeople hell-bent on revenge tragedy involving the village girl, when the townspeople are in pursuit. It is a sequence which has remained with me all these years later.

If I were to choose between the two monster movies (Dracula or Frankenstein), I would say that this is by some measure my preferred film.

Check out this original trailer for the movie:

Along with a couple of my favorite scenes:


  1. Only just saw this for the first time this year, and I’ve got Dracula and The Mummy lined up to watch soon too.

    Enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. The scene where the monster accidentally kills the girl, really very sad!
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  2. I find this movie so sad that I rarely if ever re-watch it. Boris Karloff is so good as the tortured creature. I even like Colin Clive as the somewhat hysterical Dr. Frankenstein.

    I must admit my favorite of the Frankenstein films is THE SON OF FRANKENSTEIN with Basil Rathbone as the rather hysterical son. Must run in the family.

    Bela Lugosi plays Igor in that one.

    If I had to choose between DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN, I think I’d choose DRACULA. I’m a Bela fan-girl. 🙂
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    • I think you hit the nail on why I prefer this one over Dracula. It is so beautifully fraught with emotion.

      I think also part of my problem is that with Bela Lugosi as the lead I cannot get out of my head his final role – Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. Which really is a shame because by all accounts he was a very good actor who fell into the typecast well.

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