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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Frankenstein
Frankenstein
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted May 4, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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FRANKENSTEIN Synopsis:

In 1931 Universal studios produced & released arguably, Hollywood's most famous movie monster, Frankenstein! With an incredible make-up job by Jack Pierce, Boris Karloff stalked the screen as the one & only Frankenstein's monster! Dr. Victor Frankenstein has but one goal in lifeā€¦to bring life to the dead. The medical community thinks him mad & his colleagues scorn him. Working with an assistant, Frankenstein steals bodies from the grave & assembles them into a dormant hulk of a creature that needs only the spark of life to exist. Harnessing the element of electricity, Frankenstein bathes the body of his creation in lightening and then utters the words every fan of the film knows by heart; "it's alive, it's alive! The creature begins to stir & the terror that is Frankenstein is about to begin. James Whales' masterpiece is a timeless piece of cinema that is unparalled & a must-see for every generation!

Video:

Widescreen was nowhere to be found in 1931. As such the films from that era are generally full frame. You may find a few films that have been made to appear as though they are letterboxed but, to my knowledge, they have not been. In any event, the widescreen format is a non-issue regarding the Universal classic monsters series! The print itself is beautiful. Yes Virginia, there is flecking & some scratches & a hair or two but overall, the images are incredible for a 69 year old film! There is something very nostalgic about B&W films. I don't think I could stand to see any of them colorized! The B&W actually adds to the terror & is very much a character itself! Another cool part of the film is the "missing dialogue". If you look closely at the scene where Victor is screaming, "it's alive", there has always been something of a jump in the print. I always chalked it up to poor maintenance of the original film. Surprisingly enough, the film had been "doctored" all those many years ago to edit Colin Clive's line "Now I know what it feels like to be God"! Thankfully, the film has been restored to it's original complete self & now it's ours to enjoy for a lifetime!

Audio:

The audio as presented is a Dolby 2.0 Mono presentation. Perfect for the film at hand! Additionally, there is a running commentary provided by Film Historian Rudy Behlmer. He had a lot of information regarding the Universal Classic Monsters Collection with, Frankenstein being the central figure but I found his commentary distracting other than insightful. I am very thankful to have all of this information available but I would have preferred this information presented with the balance of the other "special features"

Extras:

I don't think that you could cram any more information into these discs than what is already here! The coolest part of the SE is an entry entitled The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood made a Monster! Here, David Skal's incredible knowledge of all things frightful is readily displayed. Additionally, the interviews with those close to the filmmakers, cast & crew are pretty priceless.! There are Cast & Filmmaker bios & film highlights. A short film entitled "Boo" that's a little long in the tooth on macabre humor but cool to have in any event. There's the feature commentary provided by Rudy Behlmer. You will also find The Frankenstein Archives, which is a collection of stills & promotional materials for the film from around the globe. Production notes for the feature, and the original trailer for the film (actually, it's the trailer that was used when Real art pictures released the movie in the 40's) and web links for Universal for those of you with DVD-ROM capability.

Overall:

When I was a little sprout, my dad used to tell me all about how he saw Frankenstein in the theater & that it scared him silly. When I was old enough, my dad introduced me to the Universal Classic Monsters, specifically; Frankenstein & I have been hooked ever since! In fact, some of my fondest childhood memories are sitting with my dad in front of the fireplace watching these classic monster movies. While this film has been often imitated, it has & will never will be equaled. Frankenstein is a classic timeless tale that everyone will enjoy.

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