Colin Clive stars as Dr. Henry Frankenstein and Dwight Frye stars as his hunch-backed assistant Fritz. Dr. Frankenstein has taken to robbing graves in his effort to create his own human being. In his search for a human brain, Fritz inadvertantly steals a brain from an evil person. Frankenstein is unaware of this as he transplants the brain into his human. What results is Boris Karloff's monster. However, Frankenstein's monster isn't the "killing machine" that we see in today's horror movies. Rather, the monster seems to be searching for his own identity (witness the scene with the little girl near the river). The people of the town perceive him to be evil when perhaps he is merely searching for acceptance.
The acting in the movie is excellent. Colin Clive does a masterful job as Dr. Frankenstein, while Dwight Frye is excellent as Fritz. The scenework, such as the shots of Dr. Frankenstein's castle and the final scene at the windmill are captivating as well. I highly recommend this movie along with other classic horror movies of this time period. They will bring back memories of sitting around the TV on dark Saturday nights and jumping up from your seat at each scary scene.
Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) leaves medical school to pursue his experiments in re-animation. In the privacy of a Bavarian castle, the scientist pieces together a single body from assorted corpses and screams in ecstasy when he succeeds in brining it to life on a stormy night. However, his enthusiasm wanes when the brutish creature (Karloff) he created proves difficult to control. Doctor Waldman (Edward Van Sloan) eventually convinces his former student to destroy his creation but it escapes into the countryside. The creature is then hunted down by villagers after it kills a young girl (Marilyn Harris) and terrorizes Frankenstein's fiancée, Elizabeth (Mae Clarke).
The story of "Frankenstein" is today more relevant than ever with the dramatic advances in the field of genetics and the ethical dilemmas that have accompanied them. Yet at its heart, the film is a good old-fashioned scare-fest full of creepy shadows and chilling images. "Frankenstein" is a not a slasher film that relies on gore to create cheap thrills. It generates its suspense by way of careful storytelling and it generates its scares by way of careful filmmaking craftsmanship. Clive delivers an amazing performance as the mad genius who is driven to prove his theories true. He is wonderfully complemented by Karloff who delivers spectacularly in the role of his career. Not many films contain a performance that becomes iconic in the annals of pop culture - "Frankenstein" has the good fortune of having a pair of them.