Yoinked from the almighty wikipedia, with a special thank you to Frankensteinia, the Frankenstein blog ...
"Frankenstein is a 1931 Pre-Hays Code horror film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Shelley. The film stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan.
There are more differences between the movie and book than there are similarities. This is because the movie is largely based on the 1920s play by Peggy Webling rather than the original Shelley text. Jack Pierce was the makeup artist who designed the now-iconic 'flat head' look for Karloff's monster, although Whale's contribution in the form of sketches remains a controversy, and who was actually responsible for the idea of the look will probably always be a mystery.
The film begins with Edward Van Sloan stepping from behind a curtain and delivering a 'friendly warning' before the opening credits:
'We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation – life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even – horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to – uh, well, we warned you.'
In the opening credits, Karloff is unbilled, with only a question mark being used in place of his name. This is a nod to a tradition of theatrical adaptations billing the monster without a name. Universal had not revealed in advance who was playing the monster, and had not released any pictures of the monster in order to conceal his appearance.
Although Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant is often referred to as 'Igor' in descriptions of the films, this is incorrect. In both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein has an assistant who is played both times by Dwight Frye who is crippled. In the original 1931 film the character is named Fritz who is hunchbacked and walks with the aid of a small cane. In Bride of Frankenstein, Frye plays Karl a murderer who stands upright but has a lumbering metal brace on both legs that can be heard clicking loudly with every step. Both characters would be killed by Karloff's monster in their respective films. It was not until Son of Frankenstein that a character called Ygor first appears (here played by Bela Lugosi and revived by Lugosi in the Ghost of Frankenstein after his apparent murder in Son of Frankenstein).
The world's most valuable movie poster is the full color 1931 Frankenstein 6-sheet which is currently owned by Stephen Fishler, a NY poster collector. It is the only copy known to exist."
"Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American horror film, the first sequel to Frankenstein (1931). Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of his mate and Mary Shelley, Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein and Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Pretorius.
The film follows on immediately from the events of the earlier film, and is rooted in a subplot of the original Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein (1818). In the film, a chastened Henry Frankenstein abandons his plans to create life, only to be tempted and finally coerced by the Monster, encouraged by Henry's old mentor Dr. Pretorius, into constructing a mate for him. As originally filmed, Henry and Elizabeth died fleeing the exploding castle. Whale re-shot the ending to allow for their survival, although Clive and Hobson are still visible on-screen in the collapsing laboratory. Whale completed his final cut, shortening the running time from about 90 minutes to 75 and re-shooting and re-editing the ending, only days before the film's scheduled premiere date.
Preparation began shortly after the first film premiered, but script problems delayed the project. Principal photography started in January 1935, with creative personnel from the original returning in front of and behind the camera. Bride of Frankenstein was released to critical and popular acclaim, although it encountered difficulties with some state and national censorship boards. Since its release the film's reputation has grown, and it is hailed as Whale's masterpiece.
Modern film scholars, noting Whale's homosexuality and that of others involved in the production, have found a gay sensibility in the film, although a number of Whale's associates have dismissed the idea. Gay film historian Vito Russo, in considering Pretorius, stops short of identifying the character as gay, instead referring to him as 'sissified' (sissy itself being Hollywood code for homosexual). Pretorius serves as a 'gay Mephistopheles', a figure of seduction and temptation, going so far as to pull Frankenstein away from his bride on their wedding night to engage in the unnatural act of creating non-procreative life. A novelization of the film published in England made the implication clear, having Pretorius say to Frankenstein ''Be fruitful and multiply.' Let us obey the Biblical injunction: you of course, have the choice of natural means; but as for me, I am afraid that there is no course open to me but the scientific way.'"
"Son of Frankenstein is the third film in Universal Studios' Frankenstein series and the last to feature Boris Karloff as the Monster as well as the first to feature Béla Lugosi as Ygor. It is a sequel to Bride of Frankenstein. The film was a reaction to the very popular re-releases of Dracula and Frankenstein as a double-feature in 1938. Universal's declining horror output was revitalized with the enormously successful Son, and the studio enjoyed another two decades of popular monster movies.
After director James Whale had departed from Universal Films, Universal selected Rowland V. Lee to direct Son. Lee's film explores dramatic themes: family, security, isolation, responsibility and father-son relationships. Son of Frankenstein marks changes in the Monster's character from Bride of Frankenstein. The Monster is duller and no longer speaks. The monster also wore a giant fur vest, not seen in the first two Frankenstein films. He is fond of Ygor, and obeys his orders. Unlike the previous two films, the Monster only shows humanity in two scenes: first when he discovers Ygor's body, letting out a powerful scream and later when he contemplates killing Peter, but changes his mind.
The film was intended to be shot in color. Test shooting took place although the monsters make-up did not look good enough and the idea was abandoned. Color clips of Boris Karloff in monster make-up clowning around are included in the documentary. After the phenomenial success of Son of Frankenstein, Karloff decided not to return to the role of the monster, feeling that the monster was becoming the brunt of jokes. Also Son marked the final 'A' production of the Frankenstein films, which later went to 'B' films beginning with Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942."
The Ghost of Frankenstein, is an American monster horror film released in 1942. The movie is the fourth in a series of films produced by Universal Studios based upon characters in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and features Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Monster, taking over from Boris Karloff, who played the role in the first three films of the series, and Béla Lugosi in his second appearance as the demented Ygor.
Ghost of Frankenstein marked the final appearance of the Monster in a solo capacity. Beginning with the next film, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (in which Lugosi plays the Monster with Chaney switching to his Wolf Man character), and continuing for the rest of the Universal Monsters series, Frankenstein's Monster would be part of an ensemble cast of creatures.
The blinding of the Monster resulted in a lasting stereotype of the creature walking with arms outstretched, even though this is the only film in which it is explicitly indicated that he is blind, such references being cut by the studio from Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, sabotaging Lugosi's performance in the process, since the audience is left to wonder why the Monster is behaving so peculiarly. The Monster's sight was also restored in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man but references to that were also cut. The Monster's ability to speak would be dropped after this film (Lugosi's dialogue being filmed but ultimately deleted from Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) until Glenn Strange, playing the monster, spoke briefly in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Despite having been apparently killed at the end of Son of Frankenstein, Ygor was revealed only to have been 'maimed by the bullets shot into him by Wolf Frankenstein'. There was no mention of a second son of the original Dr. Frankenstein in Son of Frankenstein. Ludwig states that he has lived in this area his entire life, but it is not explained why only Wolf was raised in America."
"Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, released in 1943, is an American monster horror film produced by Universal Studios starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster. This was the first of a series of "ensemble" monster films combining characters from several film series. This film, therefore, is both the fifth in the series of films based upon Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and a sequel to The Wolf Man.
As ultimately edited and released, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is told in two almost precisely-equal halves. The discovery of the Monster and pursuit of the notes don't begin until thirty-five minutes into the film; the preceding scenes tell the story of Talbot's resurrection, killing spree, hospitalization, and escape across Europe. Most synopses of the film's plot begin with his discovery of the Monster and describe the first half only briefly. Much time is spent with a secondary police inspector character and on scenes with a desperate Talbot hospitalized by Dr. Mannering. The second half introduces the Monster, Elsa, and the village of Vasaria and its inhabitants.
Immediately following his success in Dracula, Lugosi had been the first choice to play the Monster in Universal's original Frankenstein film, but Lugosi famously either turned down the non-speaking part or was disinvited after director Robert Florey was replaced by James Whale; the virtually unknown Boris Karloff then was cast in his star-making role. (Florey later wrote that 'the Hungarian actor didn't show himself very enthusiastic for the role and didn't want to play it.') Eight years later, Lugosi joined the franchise as the Monster's twisted companion Ygor in Son of Frankenstein. He returned to the role in the sequel, The Ghost of Frankenstein, in which Ygor's brain is implanted into the Monster (now Chaney), causing the creature to take on Lugosi/Ygor's voice. After plans for Chaney to play both the Monster and the Wolf Man in the next film fell through for logistical reasons, the natural next step was for Lugosi, who turned sixty during the film's production, to take on the part that he once was slated to originate.
The original script — and indeed the movie as originally filmed — had the Monster performing dialogue throughout the film, including references to the events of Ghost and indicating that the Monster is now nearly blind (a side-effect of the transplant as revealed at the end of the previous film, and the reason for the iconic stiff-armed "Frankenstein Walk"). According to screenwriter Curt Siodmak, a screening audience (studio or public) reacted negatively to this, finding the idea of the Monster speaking with a Hungarian accent unintentionally funny (although the Monster spoke with Lugosi's voice at the end of Ghost of Frankenstein and audiences did not hoot it off the screen). Though it cannot be confirmed through any other sources, this has been generally accepted as the reason virtually all scenes in which Lugosi speaks were deleted (though two brief scenes remain in the film that show Lugosi's mouth moving without sound). Consequently, Lugosi is onscreen literally for only a few minutes, leaving the Wolf Man as the film's primary focus. Lugosi suffered exhaustion at some point during the filming, and his absence from the set, combined with his physical limitations at age sixty, required the liberal use of stand-ins.
This would be the final Universal horror film in which the Monster played a major role; in the subsequent films House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, the Monster, now played by Glenn Strange, comes to life only in the final scenes. In the 1948 Universal comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (the second and only other film in which Lugosi plays Dracula), Strange has a larger role and the creature once again speaks, albeit very limited dialogue, twice muttering 'Yes, Master.'"
Steve's Snacks Of The Week:
Day Old Chinese Food
... and now we have something really special!
In honor of our marathon we have, courtesy of the Cinebeats blog, a pretty sweet mix-tape of really swingin' Frankenstein-flavored tunes that you can stream by clicking on the image below. The mix of music swings from Soupy Sales to The New York Dolls and Edgar Winter and a ton of strange, fun tunes in-between.
ENJOY THE SHOW, Y'ALL!