200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kai "the spy", Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Saul

    Saul Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love the Book, I love the old Universal movies. They are frankensteinly, incomparable. There are so many variations of the story which I love.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh. Somehow I had the impression that in some screen adaptation, I'd seen him in a costume with a red domino mask. I could be imagining it, though.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, I must've been thinking of Daffy Duck as The Scarlet Pumpernickel -- which, of course, I was aware of long before I ever knew what it was parodying. Come to think of it, the Scarlet Pumpernickel's costume seems to have been based on Zorro's with a bit more color. (Superman colors, in fact -- red and blue.)
     
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  3. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    I read the original novel when I found it at my high school library. That places my exposure somewhere between 1977 and 1980..

    Like EMH, I was stunned to learn that the creature was articulate and literate. Even more impressive, he acquired this skills simply through secret observation while hiding in a woodshed, watching the residents of the adjacent house tutor a young woman. Really, if it were not for hi outward appearance, Frankenstein's creation (let's call him "Adam") was a true "super man", superior to mere humans in almost every way.

    Sadly, the only reason he committed the murderous acts he did was because Victor reneged upon the promise to create Adam a "mate". I mean, his "father" abandoned Adam upon his "birth"; random people fled or attacked him simply for his looks and ultimately Victor destroyed the one thing that might have made Adam happy.

    As for the movies making "Adam" a speechless "brute", well, they contributed and popularized misconception, but Universal was not the "source" of that interpretation. The book was popular enough in the 19th century to spawn several different stage plays. It was one of those plays that started theme of the near mindless monster, arguably drawing upon the Golem of Prague for some inspiration. It was one of these plays upon which Universal based its screenplay and the very public nature of the movies then perpetuated that interpretation.

    Concerning the green skin, That likely resulted from one of the better known posters which, in turn, may have drawn inspiration from some color "behind the scene" photos of Karloff getting made up. Obviously, the creature was supposed to be a cadaver reanimated so it's reasonable to assume his flesh ans skin would look pallid. It was discovered in earlier photographic experiments that green photographed white upon monochromatic media. Jack Pierce, the man who designed the iconic "flat topped" skull applied green to Karloff so that he'd photograph far paler than his costars. A color photo was taken and possibly the artist for the poster took the color out of context, painting Karloff's altered features green in the final lobby signs. People who saw the art likely assumed the monster was supposed to be green and concept snowballed from there.
     
  4. Saul

    Saul Vice Admiral Admiral

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  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I agree that Adam is probably the best name for the book character, but I've got nothing against calling Frankenstein's Monster just "Frankenstein." One way of looking at it is that he's Frankenstein's son, and is thus entitled to the family name. Another way is that he's Frankenstein's creation, and thus could be called a Frankenstein by the same logic as a sandwich, a leotard, a theremin, Braille, or anything else named after its inventor.

    I find it interesting that in Son of Frankenstein, Basil Rathbone's title character complains about the public tendency to refer to the monster as "Frankenstein." So that convention was around pretty early on, enough that the filmmakers got metatextual about it.

    The Toho duology not only referred to the creature himself as Frankenstein (or Furankenshutain), but in the sequel referred to the mutated original and his cloned offspring as "Frankensteins" collectively, like a species name. The sequel gave the original creature, or rather the Sasquatch-like giant he'd mutated into, the name Sanda, while his evil clone was Gaira. (The American version, The War of the Gargantuas, edited out any Frankenstein connections, perhaps because American audiences would be confused to hear the name associated with Bigfoot monsters.)


    Note also that The Bride of Frankenstein showed that the Monster could learn speech and was anything but a brute. He lost that ability in the subsequent film due to brain damage (and due to Karloff preferring the character to be mute), but he regained it once Ygor's brain was placed in his body in Ghost of Frankenstein (along with his vocal cords, apparently, since they dubbed Lugosi's voice onto Lon Chaney). Which is why Lugosi played the Monster in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man -- except they then decided to cut out all his dialogue and make the Monster mute again for no apparent reason. So they kind of went back and forth on that one.
     
  6. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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  7. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Heh, I've been one upped, although I imagine writers do something like that on a more regular basis for stories that are Earthbound. Still, that it is a nice claim to fame.

    Ah, fair points about the Universal interpretation and clarification on the history the public perception. While I admit I haven't seen the Karloff movies in many years (or perhaps at in most cases) and that they might good in their own right, I still find it frustrating that the general public tends to think of Frankenstein in those basic terms instead of the more subtle and intricate character that Shelley created.

    Yeah, that certainly struck a chord with me, especially how that notion played on prejudice and ignorance that's still so common in today's world.

    That's a fair point regarding the surname. Prior to reading the book, I certainly had been one of those people who was very insistent on the point that the creator was called Frankenstein and not the monster. Since reading the book, my tendency is to refer to him as the Creature as Shelley did, but I must admit I forgot about the "Adam" idea. I realize now that calling him Adam Frankenstein wouldn't be too much of stretch.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I do tend to think of him as Adam Frankenstein, but in my more whimsical moments (which are frequent) I often think maybe his name is Frankenstein S. Monster. Frank for short.
     
  9. jbny67

    jbny67 Captain Captain

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    Penny Dreadful did a pretty good job of adapting the character. He was a lot closer to the character in the book than most adaptations.
     
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  10. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The one where De Niro was acting like the monster created in the Moe Howard laboratory?

    [​IMG]
     
  11. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Endless analysis has pretty much concluded that the creation of Superman took a great deal of its inspiration from the account of Moses' life.
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Not to mention Doc Savage . . . :)

    SUPERMAN drew on a lot of inspirations. The secret identity stuff with Lois is the most obvious legacy of the Pimpernel, perhaps by way of Zorro. "Oh, Don Diego, why can't you be be as heroic as Zorro!"
     
  13. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Burrough's John Carter seems a strong influence for Superman so far as his original abilities go. Like Carter, much of Superman's abilities came from Krypton having been a much heavier gravity environment than Earth as I recall.
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's true, although I think the trope of "Earthman having superstrength on lower-gravity planets" was fairly common in the "sword and planet" genre of the era. Siegel & Shuster just inverted it and had Earth be the lower-gravity planet. Although there was also an influence from the Nietzschean idea of the Ubermensch/superman, which is where they got the name from. Kryptonians weren't just from a high-gravity world, they were evolved to the peak of perfection, enormously more advanced than humans (under the common misconception that evolution is an upward process). The origin story on radio -- which I believe was based on its author George Lowther's earlier Superman prose novel -- portrayed Kryptonians as virtual gods, able to travel clear across the city in a single stride, with Jor-L (as it was originally spelled) needing to explain to an astonished Lara that the people of Earth could only move a few feet with each step.