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Old June 7 2013, 05:15 PM   #606
Agent Richard07
Re: TCM Genre movies schedule...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
I also liked the openning narration with Mary Shelly (they even used her maiden name) but I never liked her message about "playing god". There's a good point in there about not tampering with what you don't fully understand, but the message often sounds like an argument against power and knowledge.
I don't believe that was Shelley's message, just the film's misreading of it.
Perhaps. It's been 20 years since I read the book. The movie's religious undertones were really in your face though. However...

Christopher wrote: View Post
She had Frankenstein curse his creation as evil, but I don't think she intended the reader to see Frankenstein as being in the right. The creature was highly intelligent and sympathetic, wanting only to be loved, but its rejection by its own creator, and everyone else, based solely on its physical appearance made it bitter and vengeful. I think the book was a statement against bigotry, not against "playing God." And it can be read as an allegory for how abused and neglected children can end up becoming violent and abusive themselves, so I think it's a statement about taking responsibility for your offspring.

And really, even the films don't quite buy into the characters' belief that the Monster is fundamentally evil. Whale and Karloff's Monster may not have the intellect of Shelley's, but it has the same basic benevolence, only lashing out when provoked or inadvertently doing harm because of his great strength and clumsiness. When he finally found someone who accepted him rather than attacking him -- the blind hermit -- he was able to live in peace with him for weeks, learn to speak, even temper his fear of fire. It was only when he was again attacked by xenophobes that he retaliated.

So maybe it wasn't the film's misreading of Shelley's message. Now that I think about it, I got the impression during that opening scene that maybe Lanchester's Mary was only pretending that the book condemned the creation of life in order to stave off protests or censorship, so she could slip its subversive message under the radar.
This is a good assessment. Makes me consider that the real lesson here is about being disconnected which is the basis for the bigotry you mentioned as well as the misuse of power and knowledge.
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