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Warped9 September 25 2010 05:43 AM

1931 Frankenstein....
 
Believe it or not until this evening I've never seen the original 1931 Frankenstein. I ordered it from Amazon and just finished watching it.

An interesting experience. In all candor I find it a bit creaky and awkward. Much of the acting is stiff and unconvincing. But Karloff is definitely the reason this film works. From when we're first introduced to him to the very last frame of him I felt nothing but sympathy for the monster. Without a word Karloff outclasses everyone in the film, no question.

I'm glad I finally got to see it and now have it in my dvd library.

Next up I want to see the 1931 Dracula and 1941 The Wolf Man

Greg Cox September 25 2010 06:05 AM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
You should definitely check out the sequel, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, which is even better. (And there are no creaky scenes between Mae Clarke and John Boles.)

Warped9 September 25 2010 06:09 AM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Quote:

Greg Cox wrote: (Post 4414881)
You should definitely check out the sequel, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, which is even better. (And there are no creaky scenes between Mae Clarke and John Boles.)

Yes, I intend to. I've got it on my list.

Christopher September 25 2010 03:09 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Also, unlike the original film, Bride actually has a musical score. In 1931, they hadn't yet developed the means to dub additional audio tracks onto film, so there was no music unless it was performed live on the set. By the time of the second film, the technology had advanced to the point that music could be tracked onto a film, and Bride of Frankenstein boasts a classic, famous score by Franz Waxman, which was reused in the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers adventure serials.

Warped9 September 25 2010 03:12 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Sometimes certain things can work better without musical accompaniment and sometimes it's the reverse. I have seen films where I thought something was needed to help set mood and atmosphere and other times I thought it would work better without. In Frankenstein's case I don't think it's really hurt by lack of a score. I think its absence actually adds to the atmosphere.

Starbreaker September 25 2010 03:18 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Frankenstein is a great film. I've got the set of the first six Frankenstein films, but this one is a classic.

Too Much Fun September 25 2010 04:11 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
I don't like the first "Frankenstein" movie much, but the sequel is a huge deal to me. It is my favourite 'older' movie, and opened my eyes to a whole new world of movies by making me realize more than any other oldie I've seen that films made before I was born could be just as relevant and moving as modern ones. It's beautifully shot and acted. I was shocked that a movie made so long ago could be so mesmerizing and make me tear up.

I was very disappointed with "Dracula". Every moment of Bela Lugosi's performance was captivating and he's completely worthy of his legendary status, but I think that movie is severely hobbled by the constraints of film making at the time. It has one of the most pathetically anti-climactic climaxes I've ever seen. Still worth watching for the incredible atmosphere, direction, and lead performance, but the ending was a huge letdown.

Warped9 September 25 2010 04:22 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Once in a while an older film does bump up against the limitations of the time it was made. And occasionally a film still shines because it manages to not be hampered by such limitations.

This makes me think of some superhero films. Much of of we've been getting lately would really have been scaled back drastically or even impossible before. The 1978 Superman was just barely able to get by and even that shows the limitations of the day. Spider-Man and Iron Man and Hulk would have been impossible to do before they were done.

Forbin September 25 2010 04:31 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
If I may move the genre slightly sideways, I also recommend "Tarzan and his Mate," which I find amazingly more compelling than the original Weismuller Tarzan film. Plus, ya know, Maureen O'Sullivan has that little nude scene. :D

Greg Cox September 25 2010 04:48 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Yeah, the 1931 DRACULA has aged very badly--and that's coming from one of the world's biggest vampire freaks. It's an incredibly creaky, stagebound production redeemed by a great cast: not just Lugosi, but also Edward Van Sloan and Dwight Frye.

To be fair, the early Transylvania scenes are nicely creepy and atmospheric, but once Dracula gets to London, the movie turns into the old Balderston-Deane stageplay and gets incredibly static. The whole middle of the movie is pretty much a chamber-room drama, with the characters standing around talking about all the interesting things happening offstage. "Look! Out the window! I just saw a wolf running across the lawn!"

Granted, the Carfax Abbey sets at the ends are pretty cool, and the Renfield's death is nicely staged.

P.S. The 1931 Spanish-language version, which was filmed simultaneously with the Lugosi version, is livelier and arguably better directed. And the actress who plays Lucy wears a much skimpier negligee!

Alas, the guy playing Dracula in the Spanish version is no Lugosi.

Warped9 September 25 2010 05:22 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Quote:

Greg Cox wrote: (Post 4415433)
P.S. The 1931 Spanish-language version, which was filmed simultaneously with the Lugosi version, is livelier and arguably better directed. And the actress who plays Lucy wears a much skimpier negliee!

Alas, the guy playing Dracula in the Spanish version is no Lugosi.

The edition of Frankenstein I have is the 75th anniversary edition with a few lengthy documentaries and it does elaborate on the Spanish version.

Slightly OT, but has anyone here ever seen The Black Cat with Karloff and Legosi?

Alas Frankenstein is like anything else in that everyone will have a different take on it. The Bram's Stoker's Dracula from several years ago wasn't that great, but visually it really did evoke the original book for me. I also recall a television production of Frankenstein in the early '70s that I recall as being decent although it bears little resemblance to anything else. I'm still not sure what to make of Robert De Niro's version.

Greg Cox September 25 2010 05:39 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Quote:

Warped9 wrote: (Post 4415494)

Slightly OT, but has anyone here ever seen The Black Cat with Karloff and Legosi?.


THE BLACK CAT is a seriously weird and kinky movie, especially for the 1930's. It's easily the best and most fascinating of the Karloff/Lugosi collaborations, and definitely worth checking out.

It's also interesting in that Karloff is basically playing a sinister Lugosi-like character and Lugosi is playing a tormented, sympathetic Karloff-like character. It's like they're both playing each other's role!

One warning: Don't be fooled by the title. The movie has absolutely nothing to do with Poe!

Warped9 September 25 2010 07:01 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
^^ Thanks for the recommendation.

propita September 25 2010 07:08 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Try watching Young Frankenstein--they use a lot of the same sets and there's more laughs. A lot more laughs.

Greg Cox September 25 2010 07:16 PM

Re: 1931 Frankenstein....
 
Quote:

Warped9 wrote: (Post 4415709)
^^ Thanks for the recommendation.


No problem. I grew up on those old Universal films. I love talking about them.


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