Frankenstein (1931)

The door opens and the monster lumbers in, taking his first unsteady baby steps. He’s alive! But as he turns to the face the camera, there’s a ghoulish deadness behind his eyes. How we picture Frankenstein’s monster is defined by make-up legend Jack Pierce’s handiwork: those neck-bolts, the flat head, the sunken eyes. In 1932, the audience was expecting Bela Lugosi as the Monster, but he’d been dropped by the studio (and Lugosi himself had disapproved of the way the script turned Mary Shelley’s philosophising creation into a non-speaking part). Boris Karloff, then a relative unknown, was cast by on-the-rise director James Whale, who also brought to Frankenstein his trademark dry wit. Not that his film lacks scares, and a scene in which a farmer carries the limp body of his daughter through a village celebrating Frankenstein’s wedding is still deeply shocking. CC
Dir James Whale (Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Mae Clarke)

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