Frankenstein - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Frankenstein Reviews

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June 8, 2017
Colin Clive's mad performance and the legendary Boris Karloff dominate this classic. It's a shame that Clive died so young. His nuanced performance, alongside the moody but innocent Karloff, make this a genre standout that is imitated even today.
June 8, 2017
This Is My Favorite Film Adaptation Of Mary Shelley's Novel.
½ May 21, 2017
A must-see classic and near perfection
½ March 14, 2017
A monster-movie where we never really dread the monster, but rather the people trying to kill it.

Movies tell us everything about place and time - they will be important artifacts for archaeologists of the future trying to understand our culture and each era that defines us. What this film says about an attitude of an era amazes me. That it's regarded as a monster horror film might be reflected differently if it were released in the 60s. The sensitivities in which it views it's subject are to me 30 years ahead of its time. Whereas audiences would scream at the Monster in 1930, it's the villagers and mad Dr. Frankenstein they'd scoff at in horror by 1960.

The Monster of Frankenstein is a victim, born into shackles - it's heartbreaking.
It's more of a heartbreaking film about miscommunication, possibilities of understanding breaking down, insensitivity towards victimization... You might say our attitude about post-slavery USA, the meanness towards which we treat the perceived 'loose animal.'

It acts as a featurette rather than feature film, an exercise in torture for the audience - how much cruelty can we take? In that sense it's a more effective horror film than just about any I've seen, but I'd call it a reverse-monster movie.

Frankenstein has a penchant for incarcerating - he does it to Monster, his wife, and himself.

Frankenstein must be wearing flame retardant pants, because he should've caught on fire

Why did they change Victor to Henry and then name someone else Victor who looks like future Vincent Price?

I'm in danger of cinema guru villagers coming to burn my own house down if I say that I find the influence of German expressionism slightly more effective than the originators with this film. When I think of what I love in movies, what I want to see, or the effect I want it to have, it's the set pieces and lighting in Frankenstein. They are done with expressionist quality, yet painted over by the slightest tinge of realism. Frankenstein's gothic hilltop laboratory under rain and lightening is such an iconic dream image - I have The View on as I write this and they're using it as a background image for their Halloween special! That says it all. My favorite is the opening graveyard; nothing equals the surrealist quality of that painted sky, silhouetted cross, etc.

I'm not sure how film class has managed to skip lauding over the epic shot of the father carrying his dead daughter through the village - a majority of the scene is composed in a complex single tracking shot, requiring tremendous mise en scene articulation, staging a variety of background actors who hit their marks so well it feels absolutely real. The quickness in which the villagers want to avenge the murder is not so real, and seems to force the film to get to that point quicker without building into a real uprising - but then it's a statement of how quick and infectious stupidity spreads.

The sweetness of Monster tossing flowers with the girl is again heartbreaking and misunderstood.

Boris Karloff's incredible body language and facial expressions are the most sensitive - we can only believe the circumstances that are sold on us because of his ability to empathetically embody this tortured soul who never asked to be animated.

The choice of medium close-ups when Dr. Waldman quells Victor's naivety. Here again is an example of how delicate mise-en-scene is beyond mere framing choices, though the framing is the key, which makes it so effective. Here they are casually conversing about Dr. Frankenstein's odd behavior of late in a wide-shot, when Victor dare suggests Frankenstein's work on a few dead animals is paltry in a medium. The framing is bare of anything besides him and his stupid face perched atop his clumsy body, isolated by anything else in the shot. Versus Waldman, an established intellect, framed by vials and workload that highlight his authority, so that when he tells Victor he doesn't understand and that these experiments of Frankenstein are bizarre, dark, we all get a real sense that he means it. A lesser filmmaker would just say, close-up to embolden the idea, but James Whales is clever in juxtaposing these images.

Zoetrope chase behind spinning wheel, Frankenstein vs Monster.
February 28, 2017
Excellent, as well as iconic.
½ January 8, 2017
One the greatest films ever made
January 5, 2017
Still a FANTASTIC Film! While maybe not the scariest film I've seen (back then it was!), but the film is well-acted, has a good story showing the monster is not really bad but just misunderstood, good pacing and is just a classic!
½ December 21, 2016
This 1931 version admittedly turns Mary Shelley's classic novel into a black & white B-movie, but it's a terrifying mad scientist horror story all the same.
December 9, 2016
Karloff's performance really gave this iconic monster true character. An instant classic! Mary Shelly would be proud!
November 15, 2016
what I love about this is he is supposed to be a monster but he really isn't. The scene where he comes across the girl you think " oh my god hes gonna kill her!" when you see him playing with her and throwing flowers in the water with her its heartwarming. This is someone who is misunderstood and feared for the way he looks and for wat he is. It speaks volumes about how people think and fear what they dont know. Very Powerful movie!
November 4, 2016
Much like many Universal monster movies, the classic Frankenstein has been able to realize the characters as original, albeit coming from Mary Shelley's more complicated novel. There is a great performance from Boris Karloff, who has no dialogue but is able to sell his portrayal of the creature with movement alone. Colin Clive as the ambitious scientist is just as great, moving from pride to shame as he realizes what he has created. The emotions these two characters convey contrast each other, but we see into their minds both alone and together. As a result, they seem the same. It raises a rhetorical question that no one knows the real answer: who is the real monster?
½ October 25, 2016
Iconic, entertaining and daring with great performances, even if quite dated.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2016
This classic has its place in film history, but both times I've watched it (separated by many years), I've struggled to stay interested. There are a couple of iconic moments, including the fast cut to tight shots on Boris Karloff as we first see Frankenstein's monster. However, after some great initial scenes in the graveyard, the direction by James Whale often takes us away from scenes of interest or tension, and doesn't delve deeply enough into the darkness of 'playing god'. Instead we get silliness, such as the assistant getting the jar marked 'Abnormal Brain'. This one hasn't aged well, and I would 1932's 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' instead.
½ October 20, 2016
A real classic horror movie, Frankenstein is a masterpiece.
½ October 16, 2016
Masterful and still underseen
October 14, 2016
The movie that started the monster craze, Frankenstein shows the way of why no should play the role of God
October 10, 2016
10 out of 10:

Eerie, creepy, and filled with great cinematography, costumes and makeup, and performances, especially from the lead star, the turkey makes Frankenstein one of the greatest monster film of all time.
October 1, 2016
A classic. This movie has, and will go down in history forever! I love all the scenes in the movie. There isn't a single promlem with this. A perfection movie.
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