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Frankenstein 1931 turns 90 this fall


RochesterRob
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  I had not really given the movie any thought until recently.  But it is interesting in many respects.  The movie was close to the beginning of the sound era of motion pictures.  Its inspiration was a literary source that was over 100 years old at the time.  It had already under gone a few revisions and the movie was closely tied to productions done on stage during the 1920's.  The monster briefly has a music score that inspired the score for Star Wars' Darth Vader.  On the business side it was probably one of the earliest to file for copyrights in terms of the Pierce prosthetics and makeup.  When England's Hammer Studios ran their own Frankenstein film series during the 1950's they had to consciously avoid the Universal Studio's work.  Then there is the argument of Boris Karloff's creature or Shelley's creature.  Was Shelley's work too esoteric?  Was Whale's movie too simplistic denying the creature some depth?  Relativity to society even today.  Teenage angst and social awkwardness?  A scientist trying to defy God and ultimately humiliated by God?  

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3 minutes ago, B-Man said:

 

 

Funny, It's on right now on that Svengooli nonsense.

 

I just watched the little girl and the lake scene.

  I've seen the ads during the week but actually I am not watching it tonight.  Not avoiding it but just doing other things instead.

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2 minutes ago, B-Man said:

frankenstein.jpg

 

 

 

  Too bad Colin Clive was done in by his alcoholism.  He had already passed on by the time the third movie was being readied for production just 8 years later.

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The differences between the book and the movie are very telling of the American psyche pre and post Industrial Revolution.  In the novel the monster tries to be human and actions are the result of how he's treated by others and their rejection of him. Personalities are the result of how we are treated by others. In the movie he is more of a machine, and his actions are predetermined by what he has installed. He has the brain of a murderer, so he will be evil.

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8 hours ago, CarpetCrawler said:

The differences between the book and the movie are very telling of the American psyche pre and post Industrial Revolution.  In the novel the monster tries to be human and actions are the result of how he's treated by others and their rejection of him. Personalities are the result of how we are treated by others. In the movie he is more of a machine, and his actions are predetermined by what he has installed. He has the brain of a murderer, so he will be evil.

  This is the thing.  I could put a couple dozen people in a theater, show that movie, and then get 2 dozen different interpretations of it.  I think that the point of having Fritz torment the monster is a foretelling of his mistreatment by society at large.  I think that the audience is suppose to believe that Dr Frankenstein has found the reset button for the brain used.  The monster does not come alive and the brain does not recall its former body.  The monster does not say "My name is Hans and I was a short old man and what the heck am I doing laying on a lab table?"

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Frankenstein (1931) was also one of the first, if not the first, film to include the theatre experience as part of the show

 

Movie theatres would pay women to sit in the audience and scream in terror during key scenes, and in some cases an hysterical woman would run out of the theatre

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3 hours ago, devnull said:

Frankenstein (1931) was also one of the first, if not the first, film to include the theatre experience as part of the show

 

Movie theatres would pay women to sit in the audience and scream in terror during key scenes, and in some cases an hysterical woman would run out of the theatre

  My understanding is people fainted for real at the first sight of the monster.   I don't know how well Universal understood that casting Karloff was a master stroke of planning.  He can readily pass that gaze that implies sinister and menace.  As I understood it the role was Bela Lugosi's for the taking but he passed on it.  Would there have been the large franchise that there was with Lugosi literally the face of it for the first three movies?   I don't think so.

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5 hours ago, RochesterRob said:

  This is the thing.  I could put a couple dozen people in a theater, show that movie, and then get 2 dozen different interpretations of it.  I think that the point of having Fritz torment the monster is a foretelling of his mistreatment by society at large.  I think that the audience is suppose to believe that Dr Frankenstein has found the reset button for the brain used.  The monster does not come alive and the brain does not recall its former body.  The monster does not say "My name is Hans and I was a short old man and what the heck am I doing laying on a lab table?"

 

But I think in the movie the expectation is no matter what happen, the monster is destined to fail because of the source of the brain.

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35 minutes ago, CarpetCrawler said:

 

But I think in the movie the expectation is no matter what happen, the monster is destined to fail because of the source of the brain.

  But that renders one of Shelley's central points moot.  That people failed the creature upon coming to life.  That the creature had a chance in life but was robbed by other people.  I always wanted to believe that the doctor saw the imperfect brain for what it was and either "repaired" it or had the audacity to think he could over come it.  Another point towards the doctor thinking that he could exceed God and another point that God punishes the doctor for.  

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34 minutes ago, B-Man said:

 

 

Original Book Cover 

 

illustrated-front-cover-of-the-novel-by-       The Modern Prometheus 


Is it odd that I find the Mary Shelley/Percy Shelley/Caroline Lamb/George Byron real life stories far more compelling?

 

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2 hours ago, Ann said:


Is it odd that I find the Mary Shelley/Percy Shelley/Caroline Lamb/George Byron real life stories far more compelling?

 

  I'll confess that I have read virtually nothing in terms of other works by the Shelley's, Byron, etc..  I read Frankenstein as part of a class curriculum in junior high school almost 45 years ago.  An exercise in expanding my understanding so as to grow out of Boris Karloff sporting a flat top and neck bolts.

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On 10/10/2021 at 3:11 PM, RochesterRob said:

  But that renders one of Shelley's central points moot.  That people failed the creature upon coming to life.  That the creature had a chance in life but was robbed by other people.  I always wanted to believe that the doctor saw the imperfect brain for what it was and either "repaired" it or had the audacity to think he could over come it.  Another point towards the doctor thinking that he could exceed God and another point that God punishes the doctor for.  

 

 

I was trying to show the differences between the book (from the early 1800's), and the movie (from the earlier 1900's). The movie doesn't really follow Shelley's themes at all, it changes the story and depicts the monster more as a machine, and because of this it can't be accepted. Shelley's monster is much more human, he speaks, reads, and learns. The doctor and humanity in general fail him by choosing to alienate and isolate him. That's what causes his bad behavior. The movie's monster is bad simply because he was built incorrectly.

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10 hours ago, CarpetCrawler said:

 

 

I was trying to show the differences between the book (from the early 1800's), and the movie (from the earlier 1900's). The movie doesn't really follow Shelley's themes at all, it changes the story and depicts the monster more as a machine, and because of this it can't be accepted. Shelley's monster is much more human, he speaks, reads, and learns. The doctor and humanity in general fail him by choosing to alienate and isolate him. That's what causes his bad behavior. The movie's monster is bad simply because he was built incorrectly.

  Dr Waldman appears in the book as well as the movie.  It is also apparent that Dr Frankenstein learned education wise from Waldman.  Presumably Dr F would have been at the same lecture as the one shown in the movie.  That Dr F could recognize a defective brain.  It makes sense to me that Dr F either repaired the brain that Fritz brought him or more likely thought that he could overcome a defective brain.  That just like the penal system at the time the thinking was moving from punishment to reform and education for most of its inmates.  Maybe Dr F thought the same way.  I just can't get around that Dr F was Waldman's student and therefore would have known about the differences in the brain.  The bottom line for me is that maybe the monster still had a chance.  We are going to see this differently and there is no harm in that.  

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4 hours ago, RochesterRob said:

  Dr Waldman appears in the book as well as the movie.  It is also apparent that Dr Frankenstein learned education wise from Waldman.  Presumably Dr F would have been at the same lecture as the one shown in the movie.  That Dr F could recognize a defective brain.  It makes sense to me that Dr F either repaired the brain that Fritz brought him or more likely thought that he could overcome a defective brain.  That just like the penal system at the time the thinking was moving from punishment to reform and education for most of its inmates.  Maybe Dr F thought the same way.  I just can't get around that Dr F was Waldman's student and therefore would have known about the differences in the brain.  The bottom line for me is that maybe the monster still had a chance.  We are going to see this differently and there is no harm in that.  

 

No harm at all.

 

I just don't see how Dr. F would have "repaired" the brain? I think the construct of the movie is that it is an organically abnormal brain. If he tried to fix it, I think that would have been emphasized in the movie. 

 

It's interesting to think about and I do think it shows a lot about American psyche pre- and post- Industrial Revolution.....but everyone knows the best Frankenstein movie is Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein 🤣

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18 minutes ago, CarpetCrawler said:

 

No harm at all.

 

I just don't see how Dr. F would have "repaired" the brain? I think the construct of the movie is that it is an organically abnormal brain. If he tried to fix it, I think that would have been emphasized in the movie. 

 

It's interesting to think about and I do think it shows a lot about American psyche pre- and post- Industrial Revolution.....but everyone knows the best Frankenstein movie is Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein 🤣

  Dr F should not have been able to keep a body from decomposing while looking for a brain but he did.  The parts from an organ donor body needed to be harvested in some instances less than an hour after death to preserve viability.  The brain governs all functions including the heart which circulates fresh blood and returns old blood to be cleansed.  I'm not sure how the decision came to be but the movie had a fair amount of material not included in the final cut.  I don't think there was much emphasis on science but maybe there was somewhat more explanation as to how the monster was built.  I am more of an Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein type man when it comes to humor but that's me.

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6 hours ago, RochesterRob said:

  Dr F should not have been able to keep a body from decomposing while looking for a brain but he did.  The parts from an organ donor body needed to be harvested in some instances less than an hour after death to preserve viability.  The brain governs all functions including the heart which circulates fresh blood and returns old blood to be cleansed.  I'm not sure how the decision came to be but the movie had a fair amount of material not included in the final cut.  I don't think there was much emphasis on science but maybe there was somewhat more explanation as to how the monster was built.  I am more of an Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein type man when it comes to humor but that's me.

 

abbott-and-costello-meet-frankenstein-pr

 

Thanks for jogging my memory, I might have to revise my list. As a kid I would have to say that was my favorite movie.

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