Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Capsule Review: Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein is a film that benefits greatly from its influence and a handful of classic, unsurpassed elements which have made it into a classic despite a miniscule runtime (70 minutes) and a not particularly satisfying ending. The most important element, and the one that has aged best, is the tortured performance by Boris Karloff, who makes his patchwork monster into a sympathetic creature. Colin Clive does great work as Henry Frankenstein, but the rest of the supporting cast - aside from the enjoyable Edward Van Sloan - are a bit creaky and don't have much interesting to do. James Whale's direction shows occasional signs of life, and the wonderful windmill set with its twisting walls and shadows is still chilling, but Frankenstein works because of its uniqueness - and its introducing of a great character (and actor) to the world. Followed by a superior sequel and countless tributes.

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