Movie Review: Frankenstein (1931)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1931 horror classic starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive.

Synopsis: A scientist discovers a way to create new life and assembles a creature from body parts stolen from corpses. His experiment is a success. However, due to a mistake made by his assistant, his creation received an abnormal brain and, as a result, is a danger to others. Things become worse when the monster escapes and interrupts the scientist's wedding.

Who's In It?


My wife had to work tonight so my oldest daughter and I had a father/daughter movie night again. We've seen it before but, since we're reading the book "Frankenstein" together, we decided to watch the classic movie again. And, once again, we were very entertained by the film.

Boris Karloff receives a lot of accolades for his performance as the creature in this movie and fully deserves them. The thing I like about his version of the monster is, while the creature has violent tendencies, the movie never gives you the sense the monster is actually evil. If anything, Karloff's version of the creature is almost child-like. Frankenstein's monster is easily amused but, at the same time, easily frightened too. 

At minimum, you could argue the monster was a misunderstood victim. In total, three people are killed. Fritz (Frye) enjoyed tormenting the creature and had it coming, Doctor Waldman (Van Sloan) was trying to dissect it, making his death self defense and the little girl (Marilyn Harris) was just a bad accident. That's the kind of thing that makes movies like this more interesting to watch.

Even though Karloff (rightfully) gets a good deal of the credit for the success of this movie, I think Colin Clive is also a big part of the reason why the movie is so enjoyable. His portrayal of Henry Frankenstein is very memorable. He's able to play the character with a lot of energy and Frankenstein's insanity is much more believable as a result of it. Karloff's monster might be the reason to watch this movie but, without Clive, I don't think it would be anywhere near as good.

Final Opinion

This movie is considered a horror classic and there is a good reason for that. If you have never seen this movie, or it has been a long while since you last saw it, I recommend taking the time to watch it. I know we enjoy it every time we do.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/06/2015, StevenHelmer
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