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Frankenstein

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MichiganJ
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Frankenstein

Postby MichiganJ » October 26th, 2009, 6:02 pm

Thought the big guy deserved his own thread.

While battling a cold this weekend I took the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do, watch the entire Universal Studios Frankenstein series in sequence. While I've seen each film many (many) times, it was terrific fun watching them in order over one (and runny nosey) weekend.

Frankenstein (1931)--Although I've seen this dozens of times, from the first sequences, where Henry and Fritz dig up the newly buried body, and more gruesomely, cut down the hanged man (it's so creepy when Dwight's Fritz taps the corpse's leg and it swings), this film captures my imagination and I'm along, once again, for the thrill-ride. Clive, Mae Marsh and Boris Karloff are just perfect, and director James Whale doesn't waste a single moment. (I love Dwight Frye in this, particularly when he refuses admittance to Henry's family, turns to climb back up those sinister stairs, and stops to lift up his sock. How great is that?)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)--Honestly deserves to be on everyone's ten best movies list; this is a perfect film. Starting with Jack Pierce's awesome makeup, in which he shortens the Monster's hair (due to the fire in the first film) and just makes the Monster more Karloff and more Monster at the same time. There are plenty of laughs (Una O'Conner's second best role, the first being Whale's Invisible Man), and also plenty of scares. The revelation of the monster when Maria's poor father drops through the rubble is just great. Can't forget Thesiger (who could?), and the Bride herself, Elsa Lanchester, who, as Mary Shelly is actually quite cute. Notice that when she's Mary Shelly, she stands between Percy and Byron in exactly the same way her "Bride" stands between Colin Clive and Thesiger.

In the past few weeks I've also watched a good deal of other James Whale films and one thing I've noticed is that he likes to take his camera through walls to follow characters as they walk (through a door) from room to room. Never noticed that before.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)--This film is forever tainted, in the best way possible, by Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Most of Brooks' film (and Gene Wilder's script) comes from this, most notably Kenneth Mars' wooden-armed constable, here--making his first of 5 appearances in a Frankenstein film, each time a different character--is Lionel Atwill. Karloff makes his final appearance as the monster, and even as a kid, I hated the goofy vest he wears. Bela Lugosi's Ygor is fantastic, perhaps one of his finest performances. And there's scenery-chewing, in all the right ways, Basil Rathbone. One problem, though, I really really wish that Donnie Dunagan had gone into the sulphur pitt along with the monster. I know, for shame… (FYI--the blind man sequence in Bride also belongs to Gene Hackman from Young Frankenstein)

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)--This is the one that eluded me each time it was on TV when I was a kid. I was in my 20's when first seeing it on VHS and as such, it's the weakest in the series for me. Lon Chaney takes over the Monster's role, and lumbers around being guided by Lugosi's Ygor. Eventually they make it to the other son of Frankenstein, and Atwill sees to it that Ygor's brain gets put in the Monster's body. As the flames consume the monster, and Chaney's mouth moves with Lugosi's Ygor voice coming out…well, it just doesn't get much better.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943)--As a kid, my friends and I would actually debate who would win! But the answer is obvious (isn't it?). This time Lugosi takes over the role he refused back in 1931, and, at least in the face, his monster is a bit chubby. Originally the film was shot with the Monster blind (from the last film's fire) and speaking (with Ygor's voice as in the end of GoF) but the execs saw that it was too silly and simply erased his audio track! So poor Lugosi's monster looks more foolish than menacing. Lon Chaney reprises his Wolfman for the second time, and I don't think he's given enough credit for his acting chops.

House of Frankenstein (1944)--When I was eight, my parents gave me an 8mm movie projector for Christmas, and one movie: the 4-minute, silent, Castle Films edition of House of Frankenstein. Brilliant. The full version is episodic, featuring a short tale with John Carradine as Dracula (who is okay, but why not get Lugosi?), with the remaining dealing with the Wolfman, the Monster, and a terrific performance by J. Carrol Naish as the hunchbacked Daniel. Can't forget the beautiful Elena Verdugo as the ill-fated love interest for Chaney. And Karloff's evil scientist Dr. Niemann, well, he had the smarts to build his castle near quicksand, didn't he?

House of Dracula (1945)--Okay, so here the series officially "jumped the shark". John Carradine as Dracula, once again meets the sun, the wolfman is cured, and the Monster goes down in flames…again (third time, with one more to go). That said, whoever came up with the idea of the Hunchbacked assistant this time being a beautiful woman should win some kind of special award.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein--Hands down the best comedy/horror film ever (I write, humbly). It works so well because the Monsters are played seriously. Lugosi, in only his second performance as Dracula on screen (which is one of Hollywood's greatest shames), gives an amazing performance, as does Lon Chaney. Lenore Aubert is creepy and funny, too. And the basic premise of having Lou's brain put in the Monster's body in genius. (Favorite lines: Lon Chaney's Talbot: "You don't understand. Tonight when the moon rises I'll turn into a wolf." Costello: "You and twenty million other guys.") Can't loose.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby feaito » October 27th, 2009, 7:54 am

Great thread Michigan.

I also think that "The Bride of Frankenstein" is definitely one of the best horror films ever made. In fact, for me it's the very best and it is on my top ten list. It combines pefectly, gothic horror with touches of black comedy. It's a masterpiece. Along with "The Old Dark House" (1932) it is also my favorite James Whale film.

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Re: Frankenstein

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm

Another vote from me for The Bride of Frankenstein although I do think the original movie was scarier. I remember when I was 14 babysitting and the film came on at 11 o'clock and I managed to catch it up to the bit at the lake with the little girl. I thought it was so chilling. Bride has more comedy but is more perfect. I've never seen the others.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby moira finnie » October 27th, 2009, 5:19 pm

MichiganJ wrote:Thought the big guy deserved his own thread.

While battling a cold this weekend I took the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do, watch the entire Universal Studios Frankenstein series in sequence. While I've seen each film many (many) times, it was terrific fun watching them in order over one (and runny nosey) weekend.

Hope you're feeling better. You're so right about Frankie deserving his own thread! Below are my two favorites (other than the original Frankenstein):

MichiganJ wrote:Son of Frankenstein (1939)--This film is forever tainted, in the best way possible, by Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Most of Brooks' film (and Gene Wilder's script) comes from this, most notably Kenneth Mars' wooden-armed constable, here--making his first of 5 appearances in a Frankenstein film, each time a different character--is Lionel Atwill. Karloff makes his final appearance as the monster, and even as a kid, I hated the goofy vest he wears. Bela Lugosi's Ygor is fantastic, perhaps one of his finest performances. And there's scenery-chewing, in all the right ways, Basil Rathbone. One problem, though, I really really wish that Donnie Dunagan had gone into the sulphur pitt along with the monster. I know, for shame… (FYI--the blind man sequence in Bride also belongs to Gene Hackman from Young Frankenstein)

I love the expressionist castle best of all (kudos to art director Jack Ottersen, decorator R.A. Gausman and cinematographer George Robinson on the heaps of atmosphere). Basil Rathbone keeps wondering why Josephine Hutchinson is a bit leery about living there. Gee, I dunno, maybe it could be those chains hanging from the ceiling, the dramatic lighting you probably can't read by, and those noises from the tower. Oh, yeah, and Donnie Dunagan (Peter von Frankenstein) was a spooky little fellow, no?


MichiganJ wrote:House of Frankenstein (1944)--When I was eight, my parents gave me an 8mm movie projector for Christmas, and one movie: the 4-minute, silent, Castle Films edition of House of Frankenstein. Brilliant. The full version is episodic, featuring a short tale with John Carradine as Dracula (who is okay, but why not get Lugosi?), with the remaining dealing with the Wolfman, the Monster, and a terrific performance by J. Carrol Naish as the hunchbacked Daniel. Can't forget the beautiful Elena Verdugo as the ill-fated love interest for Chaney. And Karloff's evil scientist Dr. Niemann, well, he had the smarts to build his castle near quicksand, didn't he?

It's one too many monsters on hand for me in this one, but J. Carrol Naish's romantic-minded hunchback and Boris' manipulative mad doctor--always promising Naish that he can have the next victim's body for his very own--are great! I thought that Elena Verdugo needed a bit of guidance when choosing guys to date. First poor, lovesick Daniel (J. Carrol Naish) and then she's warm for the form of The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby Ollie » October 27th, 2009, 10:09 pm

Mich, great reviews and agree with each. The HOUSE OF films were the weakest and the ones I'd avoid re-watching for a long time, but ABBOTT & COSTELLO was a revelation that these could be fun for the actors. The 'appearance' of Vincent Price at the end was always making this film a candidate for the Cheekiest Ending Ever. It's always a great way to end this film.

I really do support your "greatest shame in Hollywood" with the queer refusal to get Lugosi and "Dracula" together.

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Re: Frankenstein

Postby mrsl » October 28th, 2009, 11:34 pm

.
Michigan J:

I have to agree with you when you said: "Thought the big guy deserved his own thread".

When I see Frankenstein, I see the humanity in him and the animal instincts in the towns people. He was a true gentle giant, although being engineered with no brain resulted in no remorse for his actions. Seeing the original movie, I fail to see how anyone could forget the scene in the field with the little girl, and how heartbreaking it is. If nothing else, that is an example of someone not knowing what they are doing. Throughout the entire film I felt sorry for him because of his simpleness, much like Kong when they were shooting at him at the end, he had no idea why that was going on because he didn't feel he had done anything wrong. Despite this being a frightening movie, it is more a fable of good and evil, and how each can represent the other in certain circumstances. I've seen this countless times in the last 55 or so years, and always come away with this feeling of sadness.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby JackFavell » October 29th, 2009, 7:35 am

mrsl - that was lovely. And it's exactly how I feel too.

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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MichiganJ » October 29th, 2009, 7:40 am

Sorry about the delay in responding. Unfortunately my cold has worsened and led to migraines, which focus in my right eye. Oh, and last night the bottom of my water heater decided enough was enough and gave out….
feaito wrote:Along with "The Old Dark House" (1932) it is also my favorite James Whale film.

I recently watched a bunch of Whale films and The Old Dark House still rates as his most unusual, and like you, it's been one of my favorites. Despite the fact that it makes no sense, it is quite daring in its humor (Horace Femm? Really?), and how about the Old Man (Roderick) being obviously played by a woman. Of course Gloria Stuart simply must change into a reveling evening gown (no arguments from me, by the way), and Charles Laughton gives a performance that is hard to resist. It's Karloff that doesn't have much, if anything to do, except, of course, sell the movie. LIke Bride of Frankenstein, The Old Dark House is filled with atmosphere, something that Whale excelled at.
charliechaplinfan wrote:I do think the original movie was scarier. I remember when I was 14 babysitting and the film came on at 11 o'clock and I managed to catch it up to the bit at the lake with the little girl. I thought it was so chilling.

I agree that the original is scarier, and the little Maria sequence is still quite chilling. When I'd first seen the film on TV, some of that sequence was still missing, as it was cut for the film's re-release by the Production Code. The Monster begins tossing the flowers into the pond, making boats with Maria, and when he's out of flowers, he reaches towards Maria. It cut from there to the townspeople getting ready for Frankenstein's wedding and Maria's father carrying her body. Now we see the Monster throw the girl into the water, and then hold her down.

The power of the sequence comes from Karloff's ability to make the Monster sympathetic. When he stumbles on Maria, she is startled, but quickly invites him to play with her. (She actually lets go of the "kitty" she was holding to grab the Monster's hand.) Maria's the first kind person he's come in contact with, and responds with almost a heart-warming smile (Karloff really shines here). Of course, though, the Monster has no concept of life/death (or buoyancy!), so tragedy ensues. Great scene.
moirafinnie wrote:I love the expressionist castle best of all (kudos to art director Jack Ottersen, decorator R.A. Gausman and cinematographer George Robinson on the heaps of atmosphere).

I completely agree about the set design in SoF, especially the staircase in the main room; a few steps up, then a long walk along the wall, and then more steps up. Oh, and you can't forget the door knockers, too!
moirafinnie wrote:J. Carrol Naish's romantic-minded hunchback and Boris' manipulative mad doctor--always promising Naish that he can have the next victim's body for his very own--are great! I thought that Elena Verdugo needed a bit of guidance when choosing guys to date.

It's odd knowing so many of Hollywood's great actors (leads and character) from their horror films. J. Carrol Naish is a good example as I've known him as "Friend Daniel" most of my movie-viewing life and when he pops up in something else, I either flash to him as Daniel, or, more likely, puzzle over where I know that voice from.

Naish's performance is pretty great in HoF, especially in his scenes with Verdugo. He's so happy when she flirts with him that he forgets that she doesn't know about his deformity, and when she asks to see him, he leaps up into the carriage. Immediately, though, he reads Verdugo's reaction. His," You will still talk with me?" is agonizing. (And yes, Verdugo does need some better dating advice, like "Stay of Vassaria!")
Ollie wrote:The 'appearance' of Vincent Price at the end was always making this film a candidate for the Cheekiest Ending Ever. It's always a great way to end this film.

Now that's a thread all its own, "Cheekiest Ending Ever." A & C Meet Frankenstein would also get my vote.

While he's not played by Vincent Price, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man is a pretty good outing for the two, although not nearly as good as Meet Frankenstein. ("Abbott and Costello Meet Each Other" is good, too! :))
mrsl wrote:When I see Frankenstein, I see the humanity in him and the animal instincts in the towns people. He was a true gentle giant, although being engineered with no brain resulted in no remorse for his actions. Seeing the original movie, I fail to see how anyone could forget the scene in the field with the little girl, and how heartbreaking it is. If nothing else, that is an example of someone not knowing what they are doing. Throughout the entire film I felt sorry for him because of his simpleness, much like Kong when they were shooting at him at the end, he had no idea why that was going on because he didn't feel he had done anything wrong. Despite this being a frightening movie, it is more a fable of good and evil, and how each can represent the other in certain circumstances. I've seen this countless times in the last 55 or so years, and always come away with this feeling of sadness.

Anne,
I think your comparison of the Monster with Kong is absolutely right. Both creatures are very sympathetic, which, I think, is the main reason they resonate so well, even with modern audiences. In both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, Karloff's monster is very tragic, and he even cries when he's rejected by his mate. While I like the other sequels, the one element they lack is a sympathetic Monster. Even in Son of Frankenstein, Karloff's monster is relegated to a servile position to Lugosi's Ygor, and from then on, the Monster is only a tool for one evil scientist or other. His humanity is gone.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby nightwalker » August 13th, 2010, 12:37 pm

The ability to evoke a sympathetic response in the viewer is a characteristic of many of the great monsters and the actors who portray them. One need only call to mind Lon Chaney Sr.'s portrayals of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Even Bela Lugosi's DRACULA, as evil and unsympathetic as he is, has his moments, particularly when he says "To die, to be really dead, that must be glorious." Lugosi manages to invest the line with sufficient pathos (even though he may only, at the time, have learned it phonetically) that one can believe that he is weary of his "life" and the means of his subsistence. And Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolf Man always had me pulling for him to be cured, until he actually was at the climax of HOUSE OF DRACULA.

Many (though not all) of Boris Karloff's "mad scientists" could also evoke sympathy from the audience because, although his methods might have been less than laudatory, often his goals were commendable. He often was also provided with a daughter (or, as in THE APE, a daughter-figure) in many of these films towards whom he could be kindly and protective.

Even, as has been pointed out, many of the more bestial type monsters have their moments.
King Kong and Frankenstein's Monster have been mentioned. I'd also recall, just to name a couple more, the Ymir in 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH and, perhaps most significantly, the Creature From the Black Lagoon. Even Marilyn Monroe comments on how sympathetic she found him in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH!

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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MichiganJ » October 12th, 2010, 3:07 pm

This year (has it been a year already?) I watched the Hammer Frankenstein series. Unlike the Universal films, the Hammer Steins' follow the good Doctor rather than the creature, and it's really only the first two in the series that are related in any significant way. The others seem to ignore, or at least re-invent what has come before.

Peter Cushing is Doctor Frankenstein in all but one of the films, and it's fascinating seeing how nuanced his performance is in each installment, for in some of the films the good doctor is the embodiment of pure evil, while in others he's a bit more human. In any case, Cushing is always terrific. No matter the situation or dialog, Cushing always comes across as believing what he's doing and saying, and if he buys it, then so do we.

One of the draw backs to the Hammer Frankenstein series is that, with a few exceptions, the Creature make-up is at best bad, and at worst, ludicrously funny. The Creature also rarely elicits any kind of sympathy and in most cases is used like that of the later Universal films, as merely a pawn for who ever the bad guy happens to be.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) The first and best of the Hammer Frankenstein's is the origin story, with the young Victor creating a creature from dead bodies. The Creature is played by Christopher Lee, but Lee has little really to do and his make-up is marginal. It's really Cushing's film, and it's great fun watching him and his disregard for everything and everyone. He's quite a libidinous Baron, too. There's plenty of implied grossness, which adds to the fun. (On TCM 10/29)

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) A direct sequel to CoF has the good Doctor escaping the guillotine and opening up shop elsewhere. Not really a revenge tale, this film offers plenty of atmosphere and does soften Cushing's Frankenstein somewhat. This time he transplants the brain (brain transplants happen a lot in the Hammer series) of his hunchbacked assistant. A couple of good jolts and fine performances all around. (On TCM 10/29)

The Evil of Frankenstein (1964) Sort of a re-make of Universal's House of Frankenstein (minus all of the other monsters), EoF has the Baron and assistant returning to his family castle. Through flashbacks we see the origin story (which is different from CoF), and by luck, the boys stumble upon the Creature. Unfortunately Universal Studious had softened its copyright on the Monster's flat-head look, and here we get a Creature who looks like he's wearing a shoebox on his head. Too bad, too, because the plot is a lot of fun (a greedy hypnotist uses the Creature as his own personal revenge machine).

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) Metaphysics comes to the series as instead of creating a Creature, this time the good Doctor tries to capture a wrongly condemned man's soul, placing it into the body of the poor man's girlfriend! "She" then takes out her revenge on those who were really guilty. Original and pretty great installment. (On TCM 10/29)

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) Back to being ruthless, this time the Doc blackmails a man and his fiancée to aid him in his experiments. Once again it's a brain transplant, this time for another mad scientist who has some information that Frankenstein needs. There is an unfortunate and out-of-place rape scene, that apparently was added after production to add some "sex", but it comes out of nowhere and is never referred to again. Otherwise not a bad offering. (On TCM 10/29)

The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) This one doesn't star Peter Cushing, which I guess is why it doesn't get the love the other films do. Too bad, too, because it's terrific. Essentially a re-make of the first, CoF, this is again the origin story. This time there is a lot of really dry and quite black comedy, and Ralph Bates is wonderful as the young Victor. Once again the Creature's makeup isn't much, but he is played by David "Luke, I am your father" Prowse.

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974) Wow does Cushing look emaciated in this, the final Hammer Frankenstein. This time the Baron is a Doctor at an asylum, and he creates a creature that looks like a Sasquatch (again played by Darth Vader's David Prowse). There are a lot of intriguing elements here, and more brain transplants (this time graphically rendered), but there's also a lot of wackiness and the creature is just plain silly looking.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MikeBSG » October 12th, 2010, 5:18 pm

"Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is probably my favorite Hammer Frankenstein film. There is a real pace to the film, as everyone is pursuing the Baron, that makes this one stand out for me.

I'd put "Curse of Frankenstein" in second place. Cushing's performance here is first rate, and Lee is also very good as the Monster. This film always reminds me of "Kind Hearts and Coronets" in its structure.

If they could cut off the first few minutes of "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" I'd like it better. It really picks up when Cushing enters the film.

"Evil of Frankenstein" is okay, although it makes the Baron too admirable for my taste.

There is nothing wrong with "Revenge of Frankenstein," but I've never been able to warm up to it.

I probably like "Frankenstein Created Woman" the least of the Cushing Frankenstein films. Have never seen "Horror of Frankenstein."

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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MichiganJ » October 19th, 2010, 4:36 pm

Couldn't help but continue on with a few more Frankenstein's:

Lady Frankenstein (1971) Surprisingly fun, this Italian exploitation cheapie stars none other than Joseph Cotton as the good Baron who is rewarded by his creature with a great big back-breaking hug before it goes roaming the Italian countryside. Daughter Tania takes over dad's experiments, and she seduces Dad's aged assistant, figuring she'll just transplant his brain into the body of the hunky servant. The creature looks silly, but Rosalba Neri is terrific (and quite pretty, too, both in and out of her clothes.)

Flesh For Frankenstein (1973) May be a bit too easy to take pot shots at, particularly for some of the line deliveries by most of the cast, but this is also wonderfully wacky. Sick to be sure, but fun. Very gross, in the best way possible (seriously, you see worse on Grey's Anatomy) and even the sex/nudity is relatively tame. Hard to resist Udo Kier as the Baron (and how novel is it to have a Frankenstein who has a Germanic accent?), and the eyebrow-less Monique van Vooren as the Baroness is pretty…scary. Hands down, Dalila Di Lazzaro wins as best looking Creature in a Frankenstein film.

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) Because this was the very first movie that my brother I got to see in a theater by ourselves, D v. F will forever go down as one of the greats. Sure, Al Adamson makes Ed Wood look like Orson Welles, and yea, it's sad seeing J. Carroll Naish struggling with his dentures as he visibly reads his lines, or worse, seeing the shape poor Lon Chaney Jr. is in (this was the last film for both actors), but nevertheless, this is a great film! There is a lot of cheesy gratuitous violence (mostly decapitations), and even a smattering of nudity--all in a movie rated GP! (Can't even remember what GP stood for but this film surely warped my impressionable 8-year old brain). Dracula's voice is all echo, and he has this way-cool ring that shoots lightening and can burn anything (or anyone) to cinders. The plot makes little sense, the Creature looks goofy, but the final battle between the two Monsters is awesome (and reenacted by my brother and me throughout that summer--I always won, too.)
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby intothenitrate » October 20th, 2010, 4:56 am

Hilarious post, MJ, especially the last block. It totally snapped me back to that age--when we didn't know bad cinema from good, and when a certain piece of film could get under your skin and reverberate for days on end.

When you were sick and had your Frankenstein marathon, were you watching the Legacy box set from Universal? That's really a fine set.

I recently re-watched Ghost of Frankenstein. And you're right, monster-ologically speaking, it's pretty weak. But this time, I watched it with the benefit of having spent time here on SSO, reading all of the perceptive and erudite comments of this distinguished group [all kidding aside].

Thanks to this good influence, I absolutely loved Cedric Hardwicke's performance as Frankenstein's younger son. He plays it with all the layered complexity of a straight dramatic performance. Some actors might play a role like that it for camp value, unable to reconcile the fantastic story elements with a believable on-screen persona. But Hardwicke pulls it off. I believe he thought long and hard about what Ludwig must be going through.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MichiganJ » October 21st, 2010, 7:12 am

intothenitrate wrote:Hilarious post, MJ, especially the last block. It totally snapped me back to that age--when we didn't know bad cinema from good, and when a certain piece of film could get under your skin and reverberate for days on end.

Thanks ITTN, re-watching the films from my youth really do act like a time machine and I find it really hard to see them in any critical way.
intothenitrate wrote:When you were sick and had your Frankenstein marathon, were you watching the Legacy box set from Universal? That's really a fine set.

Yes, the Universal Legacy Series are great sets, and are a good value for the amount of films you get . Be aware that Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman is part of the Wolfman Legacy set and House of Dracula is included in the Dracula set. (Both sets well worth having, as well.)
intothenitrate wrote:Thanks to this good influence, I absolutely loved Cedrick Hardwicke's performance as Frankenstein's younger son. He plays it with all the layered complexity of a straight dramatic performance. Some actors might play a role like that it for camp value, unable to reconcile the fantastic story elements with a believable on-screen persona. But Hardwicke pulls it off. I believe he thought long and hard about what Ludwig must be going through.

I agree. As you said, Hardwicke's performance is quite complex and rather understated, especially when compared to his "brother", Rathbone (in Son of), who is equally great but as broad as you can get without crossing over the line. (My imagination is such that I ponder the dinners of their youth together. Dad (Colin Clive) at the head of the table asking how school was, to keep elbows off the table and would one them pass the salt, please.) Hardwicke adds an air of authority and it's quite fun to watch him think through the possible complications and ramifications of the actions he so wants to take.

If you like Hardwicke in Ghost, check him out in The Invisible Man Returns. As in Ghost, his performance is quite thoughtful, and his character is wonderfully ruthless. I also liked him in The Ghoul, a good if not great Karloff film.
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Re: Frankenstein

Postby MikeBSG » October 22nd, 2010, 4:11 pm

I also like Hardwicke in "The Lodger," a horror-ish film. He plays a more raffish character than he usually played.

I like "Ghost of Frankenstein" because it was the first horror movie I ever saw. I like Atwill as the duplicitous scientist, and I love the scene with the Monster and the little girl on the roof.


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