The classics. The favorite movie monsters of film. Dracula. The Wolfman. The Creature From the Black Lagoon. All of these characters have stood the test of time to become cinema classic. But, what about Frankenstein's Monster? Does the 1931 film Frankenstein stand the test of time? Let's find out. Warning. Spoilers After This Point.
The film follows Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he and his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) bring a creature made up of dead body parts to live. The Monster (Boris Karloff) wreaks havoc as Frankenstein and a professor friend of his, Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan) try to kill it. The films story is a fairly simple one, but it is well done and entertaining.
Boris Karloff gives one of the greatest performances of all time as The Monster. He gives out this innocent performance while at the same time remaining a fearsome monster. In one of my all time favorite scenes from any movie, The Monster comes across a little girl playing by a lake. The girl invites The Monster to play with her and show him how flowers float on water. Karloff shows just how innocent The Monster really is, by having him be absolutely delighted by the simple act of floating flowers. Then we see the tragicness of The Monster, as he tries to see if the little girl will float, and accidentally drowning her. It's a really heartbreaking scene and Karloff acts it perfectly.
The rest of the cast is fine. Clive is great as Dr. Frankenstein, especially when he realizes just how much his creation went wrong. Van Sloan does well too, in the role he's given. But, other than Karloff, my favorite character has to be Frankenstein's father, Baron Frankenstein (Frederick Kerr). I don't know what it is about him. He's just really entertaining to watch.
The atmosphere is also very well done. The castle is a great set and the windmill scene at the end is another truly fantastic scene. There isn't much music though, which does add to the spooky nature of the film. The film keep you in suspense while wait for The Monster to be revealed. The reveal is great too, with The Monster walking into the room backwards and slowly turning around. In fact, I can't really think of anything that is really wrong with this movie.
In the end, Frankenstein is a classic. It stands the test of time and still remains as one of the greatest monster movies. However, when giving a movie a possible perfect score, it must go sometimes it comes down simply to weather or not you feel the film deserves it. And it the end, while Frankenstein is a good movie, it's just not enough to give it a perfect score. Still a 5.5 out of 6 though. Now, if you'd excuse me, there a full moon out tonight and I have to howl.