ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Frankenstein is classic cinema, but it's definitely not the novel

Updated on October 13, 2011

First a brief rant

Okay, I'll admit it. There are plenty of times when merely saying the name "Frankenstein" gets my English-major hackles up. There are so many misconceptions here that, on their own, aren't that big a deal but together just make me cringe:

  • Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, not his creation. His creation is simply called "the monster".
  • Those are electrodes in his neck, not bolts to hold his head on.
  • Where does this green color come from? The original movie was in black-and-white but the makeup used on Karloff gave him yellow skin on the set. (This is actually one of the few consistencies with Mary Shelley's original novel.)

And that's another thing entirely. The movie differs from the novel in so many ways:

  • In the book, Frankenstein isn't the noble scientist, defending his creation until he has no choice. He abandons his creation almost the very moment it comes to life.
  • The monster's acts of violence are a deliberate reaction against the mistreatment he receives, not innocently misguided acts of a creature who simply doesn't know better.
  • Frankenstein doesn't have any assistant in the book.
  • And very notably, in the book, the monster teaches himself to speak early modern English by reading the classics, like Paradise Lost. He's not this grunting hulk. (You're probably thinking about the actual Hulk, who, by the way, wasn't green to begin with either. I know. Mind-blowing.)

(I know I've spoken before about mediating your expectations when evaluating text to film adaptations, but sometimes it still does get to me. Mostly I wish people wouldn't rely on movies for their knowledge of the classics. Read people.)

Check out these Frankenstein products

And now, your regularly scheduled movie review

Okay, so, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I will say that, taken on its own merit, the 1931 version of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff is actually pretty good. It's on the short side, running only 70 minutes, but it doesn't necessarily need to be any longer.

The movie follows a genius scientist named Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) who with the help of his assistant, Fritz (not Igor, sorry) (Dwight Frye), creates a being by combining the parts of various corpses and an Abbie Normal, criminal brain (in a mixup custom made for Young Frankenstein). The creature gets loose and terrorizes the nearby German town until they decide to have a neighborhood monster roast.

I don't know why they decided to give Karloff a flat-top, but thus is born one of the most iconic images in monster movies.

The story-telling is a bit rudimentary by today's standards, but it's still a classic in the genre. And considering how short it is, people should definitely see this one to help preserve this classic piece of modern cinema in our public consciousness.

It may suffer a bit from the fact that it was made for a different era entirely, but for me, on the classic scale alone, it still earns a solid 7 / 10.

Frankenstein isn't rated but there are a few sequences of violence (mild for today).

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)