Classics Review: Frankenstein (1931)

In the year 1818, British novelist, Mary Shelley, penned a book called Frankenstein, about a mad scientist named Dr. Frankenstien, who collects body parts from various corpses in order to create the very first artificial creature to make scientific history on resurrection but things go awry when the creature escapes to the outside world. The book earned praise from readers and gained Shelley a bunch of fame for her work as a writer. Many years later, Universal Pictures began to produce a motion picture based on the book of the same starring Boris Karloff as the monster himself and the role propelled him to stardom.

Frankenstien was released in 1931, earning postive reviews from critics and it was also a box office success. Over the years, the film continues to earn a bunch of recognition from contemporary critics and audiences. In 1998, The American Film Institute, (AFI for short) ranked the 1932 version as number 87 as one of AFI’s 100 Years Of Movies.

This review doesn’t contain any big SPOILERS. Feel free to read it all about it. Does the movie remain as a horror classic? Time to find out!

Alive & Dead Elements.

Alive: Boris Karloff did an excellent job on his unforgettable performance as the title character.

Other Cast Members did an great job including Colin Clive for his portrayal as Dr. Henry Frankenstein.

The Set Up for The First Act, wasn’t slow, as it shows how Frankenstein was created in the first place.

Set Pieces were crafted by hand such as Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory and the infamous Windmill scene.

Prosthetic Makeup was applied to change Karloff’s appearance. For a film released in 1931, it still holds up.

Cinematography felt decent without any problems with the camera.

Practical Effects were used to bring specific elements to life. This was before Computer Animation existed.

I’m gonna have to give this film an Extra Point for keeping the monster’s actor a mystery, this was way before The Internet was born. If The Internet was around in the 30’s, the public would’ve never been surprised by a certain actor appearing in movie without any confirmation. I’m not kidding, if you watch the opening credits, it shows Cast Members playing who’s who. Only one them is labeled as a question mark on who’s portraying the monster. Let’s be honest, we all know who it is ever since we’ve heard of Frankenstein in countless media.

Dead: Where the heck is Igor? The doctor’s lab assistant who helped him in his experiment? You can’t have Dr. Frankenstien without Igor. It’s as if Morty from Rick & Morty never existed without Rick!

Similar to my review for the 1932 version of The Mummy, the running time for the film is surprisingly short for a full length feature film, which is the equivalent of a one hour episode of The Sopranos or a stop motion movie. I don’t know if movie studios in The Golden Age Of Hollywood made movies this short back then, but in today’s entertainment, it would’ve irritated the general public on why they wasted their money on something this short.

The Final Verdict: A-

In my opinion, I thought this classic gem kept me entertained without any distractions. If you’re in the mood for some classic monster movies, I highly recommend this picture, if you’ve never seen this version of Frankenstein. Karloff’s version of the character, is considered a timeless classic for many generations as one of the best films of all time. Frankenstien has inspired many films, comics, and television shows for including “The Playing God” complex involving robots, synthetics, and genetic mutation, as a plot element for the Science Fiction Genre on what this trope can do by adding a variations to it without easily becoming a cliche.

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