When I first saw the movie Frankenstein, I realized that Hollywood was still changing the classic novels. In their usual fashion, they changed the names of the characters to be somewhat pleasing to the audience. I guess Henry Frankenstein was a better wholesome name than Victor Frankenstein. Instead they saved the name Victor for the supporting actor because no one would care what they named him. Next they changed Elizabeth to Margaret for some unknown reason. By movie standards today, the monster looked like a man in bad makeup and stiff cting.
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In Mary Shelleys original interpretation, I envision a monster with pale Caucasian skin color, misshapen limbs and with more vocabularies than Ugh or Ahh. I have come to the realization that the 1931 movie review of Frankenstein and I share the same opinions for the movie. Though I did find the acting and the makeup mediocre, in 1931 it was as the film critic said, the most effective of its kind. The background and scenery impressed me. Dr. Frankensteins laboratory was indeed impressive.
The elaborate machinery and ound effects added to the sense that life was being created, though they really did go into great detail as to how life was brought back from the dead. The review says that the actor portraying Frankensteins monster, Boris Karloff, did not portray a robot but a man sewn together with an abnormal brain. However I believed that the monster acted like a robot in the scene with the little girl. The girl presented a set of instructions (throwing flowers in the lake). The monster then copied the instructions like a program.
Unfortunately, the bnormal brain caused a bug or glitch in his programming which caused the death of the girl. Humans are programmed, like a robot or computer, to follow instruction to perform actions such as walking, talking, driving, or doing simple math. In a sense we humans are highly advanced mechanisms given the ability to comprehend and interpret. After the monster was created, Frankenstein boasts about his achievements. Demonstrating a perfect example of the God complex, he exclaims; Now I know how God feels.
It is mans greatest task to equal or surpass its creator. At the beginning of the novel, its atmosphere is completely different than that of the 1931 movie. First, the novel begins after Victor created the monster that killed Elizabeth. You realize immediately in the novel that there was no happy ending as the movie portrayed. Elizabeth is dead by the monsters hands and Victor has now become obsessed with hunting down and destroying the creature. You also find out in the novel the background information of why Victor is so in love with Elizabeth.
The movie also fails to give a very good reason as to how Victor goes on this journey to ring life back to the dead. They forget to mention his studies into Natural Philosophy or Galvanism. The novel also describes a more dark and sinister outlook. The time he brings life to his creation, readers feel a dark chill down their spines. When he describes how the monster haunts him in the shadows, the readers start to feels as if the monster is watching. When it starts to commit other atrocities, shock and horror invade the mind. I believe the film was an unjust representation of the novel.
The 1931 film gave a lighter representation. It begins to be a little disappointing watching the film after reading halfway through the novel. During the 1920s and 30s, mankind was involved in the search to improve the human race called Eugenics. I believe the 1818 novel and the 1931 film were perfect examples of how the idea of eugenics was so widespread. At this time scientists were working on ways to create life that rivaled God, whether to create perfect children free of disease or to create the super soldier to fight their wars.
It was even being suggested to create towns elected with the best of mankind. However, as in the movie and novel, the question of should we manipulate the forces of nature comes into the equation. The movie could be meant as a warning on the evils of eugenics. Though it seems simple to manipulate the body of man, it is difficult to control the lasting effects. Frankensteins monster is possibly the first example of eugenics on film. We see Harry Frankenstein selecting the best parts from dead men. He carefully pieces together the delicate puzzle and he does receive a reward and a curse.