🦇 Dr. DuLacula 🧛’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!
The more times I watch Frankenstein the more I realize how ahead of it's time the film was and what a masterpiece it truly is. While Dracula is heralded as a classic and credited with starting the era of Universal Monsters, the fact of the mater is Frankenstein came out the same year and puts Dracula to shame as a film. To take it even further a lot of the Universal Monster films that would come out for the next decade or so didn't come close to the quality of Frankenstein either.
The visual style of the film has a slight German Impressionism take to it that gives the entire film a surreal look. The sets themselves end up being just as important as most of the characters. They are amazing, with my favorite (as most people) being Frankenstein's laboratory. It's really a breathtaking piece of set design that wasn't completely necessary for the film, but it's still just a piece of iconic cinema history. While some sets don't seem realistic, especially the outdoor scenes, it's still incredibly effective. It's as if you're viewing these events through a dream or perhaps a nightmare.
The cast has several standout performances. Boris Karloff gives a great physically imposing and yet sympathetic performance as the monster. Colin Clive actually only gets better on repeat viewings because you realize his Henry Frankenstein is much more then just a mad scientist and is actually a very nuanced character. Dwight Frye gives us another creepy character as Fritz who unfortunately most people associate with the name Igor (or Ygor). Ygor's character is nothing like Fritz damn it!! Anyways...
The crazy thing is that while this was James Whale's first Universal Monster film, helping usher in the new era, it would hardly be his last masterpiece in the genre. Another man that helped create this era in film, and he doesn't get mentioned enough, is Jack Pierce. Hollywood can make as many Frankenstein films as accurate to Mary Shelley's original novel as they want, the fact of the matter is when people think of Frankenstein's monster they think of Jack Pierce's design. Boris Karloff himself credit's the creation of the monster's look solely to Pierce and that legacy lives on over 80 years later.
Horroctober II: Bride of DuLac