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Frankenstein 75th Anniversary Legacy Series DVD

Universal's 2-disc 75th Anniversary edition DVD of the classic Boris Karloff / James Whale 1931 film.

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"Now I Know What it Feels Like to Be God!"

  • Dec 19, 2008
  • by
-This review pertains to the Frankenstein: 75th Anniversary Edition DVD-

Mary Shelley's classic horror story, Frankenstein, has been dramatized countless times since the novel's publication in 1816. The first dramatization, a melodramatic stage play from the early 1820s, was called Presumption: The Fate of Frankenstein. The play resonated with audiences as it greatly emphasized the themes of scientific advances conflicting with Christian ideologies, of man's ego violating the laws of nature, and of ambition overwhelming conscience. A century later, in the year 1927, a playwright named Peggy Webling used similar themes in her adaptation, which was the primary source of inspiration for the classic Universal film. Garrett Fort, who also wrote the screenplay for Dracula, and Francis Edward Faragoh, wrote the film's screenplay. The screenplay was based on Peggy Webling's play, as well as on a produced play that was never produced by John L. Balderston.

To say that the film had a troubled production is an understatement. Originally to be directed by Robert Florey and starring Béla Lugosi, Frankenstein was ultimately directed by James Whale and starred Boris KarloffJames Whale had made a name for himself with the films Journeys End and Waterloo Bridge. Both Karloff and Whale can be accredited for the film's status as enduring classic. Whale, who was something of an outcast himself, understood how to create flawed characters that the audience would still sympathize and empathize with.
Frankenstein's Monster and the Little Girl
Karloff, who was at the time an underpaid, unknown, and hardworking actor, brought a sense of innocence and vulnerability to the role of Frankenstein's Monster.
Joining Boris Karloff was a wonderful group of actors including Mae Clark as Elizabeth, John Boles as Victor Moritz, Edward Van Sloan as Doctor Waldman, Dwight Frye as Fritz, and Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein. Clive was a tragic figure, both in the film and in reality. He died before his fortieth birthday, not a full year after the release of the sequel The Bride of Frankenstein.

The greatest stars of Frankenstein were Boris Karloff, Jack Pierce, and Kenneth Strickfaden. Jack Pierce created the brilliant makeup for the Frankenstein Monster as well as most of the other classic Universal monsters and Kenneth Strickfaden created the electrical apparatuses seen in the iconic scene where Frankenstein creates the monster in his laboratory. The electrical equipment, which served no real function other to dazzle audiences, was featured in many films all the way up into the 1970s when it appeared in the affectionate spoof Young Frankenstein.

The story follows an obsessed young doctor named Henry Frankenstein, who along with his hunchbacked assistant Fritz stole corpses from their graves and used their body parts to construct a Monster. Originally Frankenstein wanted nothing more than to advance science to the point where the effects of death could be reversed, but his noble ambitions turned to blasphemous conceit and his creation would take on a life of its own. Frankenstein sends Fritz to a university to steal the brain of a genius, which will be given to Frankenstein's creation. However Fritz drops the brain and replaces it with another. The new brain is a dysfunctional one, that of a criminal.
Meanwhile Henry's fiancée, Elizabeth and his best friend, Victor learn that Henry's become reclusive and secretive. Along with Henry's mentor, the dogmatic Doctor Waldman, they travel to Henry's laboratory on one fateful night. When they arrive Henry seems fanatical and possessed with a mania. He insists that they stay and witness his grand achievement. That night Frankenstein gives birth (figuratively, not literally) to a pathetic creature, born of the components he gathered from the graves that he burglarized. Waldman, Victor, and Elizabeth are horrified. Yet they've no idea of the horrors in store for them. After coming to his senses, Henry acknowledges what he's done but the Monster has escaped and is rampaging through the nearby villages. Can it be stopped or will Frankenstein's Monster live forever?

Frankenstein (2-disc 75th Anniversary Legacy Series Edition DVD)
This monstrously good DVD includes an audio commentary with film historian Sir David Frayling, an audio commentary with film historian Rudy Behlmer, "Karloff: The Gentle Monster" documentary, "The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster" documentary, Monster Tracks trivia, "Boo!: A Short Film", "Universal Horror" feature-length documentary, Frankenstein Archives poster montage with music, and theatrical trailer.

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster
Frankenstein 75th Anniversary DVD Cover Frankenstein poster This Man, This Monster Colin Clive and Dwight Frye The Creation Scene The Monster Attacks The Burning Windmill

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October 18, 2010
Yes indeed good Sir, well done, another wonderful review. I can't see any reason why any one who is a horror fan does not own these Legacy sets.
October 18, 2010
I love them. In fact, I'd go on record and say that Universal's Legacy Series of horror films are some of the best DVD out there regardless of genre.
December 22, 2008
excellent perspective on the classic monster film. I too, along with T-man like the remake with DeNiro.
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About this movie


Boris Karloff is the screen's most tragic and memorable monster in the Frankenstein 75th
Anniversary Edition. Tampering with life and death, Dr. Frankenstein pieces together salvaged body parts to create a human monster. Director James Whale's 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley's masterpiece novel remains a timeless classic, and this 2-disc 75th Anniversary Edition offers an all-new digitally remastered picture of the greatest horror movie of all time. Frankenstein: It's alive!

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, John Boles, Mae Clarke, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye, Frederic Kerr
Directed by: James Whale

Disc 1
  • Run Time: 1 Hours and 11 Minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated (N/A)
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Picture: Full Frame (1.33:1)
  • Black & White

  • Bonus:
  • Karloff: The Gentle Monster
  • Monster Tracks
  • Feature Commentary with Rudy Behlmer
  • Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling

Disc 2
  • Run Time: 0 Hours and 0 Minutes
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Picture: Full Frame (1.33:1)
  • Black & White

  • Bonus:
  • Universal Horror
  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
  • Frankenstein Archives
  • Boo! A Short Film
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Director: James Whale
Genre: Classics, Horror
Release Date: 1931
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Garrett Fort
DVD Release Date: Sept. 2006
Runtime: 71 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios
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