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on September 20, 2009
For those of you who remember staying up late at night as a kid to catch an old horror movie, this collection is a gem.
Having seen the original Frankenstein on sale at a well known retail outlet for over $35.00, the oportunity to own five of these movies for much less was too good to pass up.
These movies are, as far as I can tell, the original uncut versions. They are actually more disturbing than I recall, probably due to the lack of commercials that gave me time to catch my breath as a kid. Karloff was a master at portraying the monster's frustration with mankind, and Universal Pictures knew exactly how to arrange sets and lighting to ensure that you checked over your shoulder, from time to time.
Glenn Strange is perhaps less of a master of the monster in "House of Frankenstein", but Karloff as Dr.Nieman brings the creepyness back into this film.
I agree with one reviewer that said you should purchase now, before Universal finds out that they have made a mistake in releasing these movies. I would have probably paid $35.00 for the one movie.....
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This is my second retro-review in as many days.This time it is the companion set to the Mummy franchise,Universals'Legacy Collection of the original "Frankenstein" franchise.I have decided from time to time to go back into my collection and pick out titles that I have never touched and do a retro-review on them like this one.
This set is one of my more prized ones.Five movies are here starting with the absolute horror classic that spawned and inspired countless such films that came after it,the original 1931 "Frankenstein" starring the inimitable Boris Karloff.Karloff had been in the business for some years as a minor player in silent and early sound films.But it was this role that was to change his career and life forever and make him a household name almost overnight.I recall my mothers' recollections of this film on seeing it on its' debut run as a young girl.She always remembered the scene with the little girl being thrown into the water and that the entire picture scared the begeesus out of her.It still has the ability to scare and terrify even today.
Everybody is familiar with the plots of at least the first two films,"Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein"(1935).They involve the doings of one Dr.Frankenstein(the monster had no name and was never called Frankenstein) who becomes obsessed with reanimating dead tissue.This leads him,with his assistant Ygor,to try his theories on human bodies;the fresher the better.When finally the good doctor brings to life his experiment the monster he has created becomes hard to handle.It is basically trying to get a grasp on his unusual situation but is being pulled in many directions at once.He escapes and has a few encounters with outsiders but his actions are totally misconstrued.He ends up being hunted down and eventually "perishes" inside Frankensteins' castle.
"The Bride of Frankenstein" stars Karloff again and this time the doctor wants to right the wrongs he made the first time.The monster has come a long way from his original animation and eventually persuades the doctor that he needs a companion.The doctor reluctantly obliges realizing though that another one is going to double his woes if not handled just right.He re-animates from body parts a woman for the original monsters' desires.The minute she awakes however it is the doctor she clings to and is abhorred at the sight of her expectant mate.Frankenstein again goes crazy which only ends with his "demise".
Part of the reason these two films are veritable classics is that they reek with atmosphere.As I stated in my recent Mummy review Universal was without peer when it came to creating the right sets and lighting to generate the proper look that it wanted.And the work they did in these films are benchmarks and without question still stand the test of time.
The next film in the series is "Son of Frankenstein"(1939).Basil Rathbone stars as the the deceased doctors' son who 25 years later comes back to his fathers' home.There is no warm reception for the young man who also happens to be a doctor.Wandering through the castle ruins one day he finds Ygor,played by Bela Lugosi.Ygor introduces the son to the monster(Karloff) who is still alive.Ygor wants the doctor to help him which he does but both are at cross purposes.The doctor thinks maybe he can somehow regain control of it while Ygor is suspicious of his plans and has other nefarious ideas of his own for the monster.Ygor eventually gets the monster on a killing spree which arouses the local townsfolk again.The hunt is on but not before the doctors' own son is kidnapped by the monster.It's touch and go but the monster is eventually pushed into the sulphur pit below the castle ruins.The doctor in disgrace ups and leaves the town for good.Karloff again plays the monster with some degree of feeling and sensitivity,things that would be lacking in the next two films.
"The Ghost of Frankenstein" finds Ygor still inhabiting the ruins of the castle.The townsfolk also get wind of this fact and decide to blow the place up once and for all.One explosion goes off and Ygor stumbles across the monster(Lon Chaney).Both escape and look back as the castle is totally blown away.They seek out the other son of the late doctor,Ludwig Frankenstein(Sir Cedric Hardwicke),who with the help of a receptive colleague has also been experimenting in the reanimation of dead tissue,but not to the extent of his late father.The monster and Ygor boldly walk through the village and when the monster helps a little girl retrieve her ball from a rooftop,the townspeople misinterpret the gesture and he is captured by the local constabulary and thrown in jail.Ygor goes to Ludwig and tells him the situation.Ygor retrieves the monster and when both show up Ludwig gases both of them.Ludwig wants to take the monster apart piece by piece but changes his mind when the ghost of his father shows up to persuade him otherwise.Instead Ludwig decides to transplant the brain of a more normal person into the monsters' head.However his assistant double crosses him and switches the good brain for Ygors'.The monster awakes but shortly learns the implant will not take as Ygors' blood type was not compatible with the monsters'.He goes on a suicidal rampage destroying the lab and house with himself in it.
"The House Of Frakenstein"(1944) involves the story of a disgraced and jailed Dr.Nieman(Karloff) who has obviously studied Dr.Frankensteins' lamentable methodology with a friend who bears a remarkable resemblance to Ygor.They escape and run into a wandering showman called Lampini.It seems Lampini has the skeleton of Count Dracula.Nieman kills Lampini and takes his identity.He raises Count Dracula(played by John Carradine)back to the living to do his bidding and take revenge on those that imprisoned him.But Dracula can't be restrained and he goes on a silent killing spree throughout the area.Nieman/Lampini with his friend and Dracula in tow try to outrun the town posse but Dracula is killed in the chase.The two escapees come to the ruins of Frankensteins' castle where they find the Wolfman(Lon Chaney) and the monster(Glenn Strange) encased in ice.Nieman tells the Wolfman that he will operate on him to relieve him of his affliction but in due course The Wolfman finds out that Nieman seems much more interested in the monster than in him.This leads to conflict between them and the Wolfman changes and starts to kill.He ends up being shot and killed and Nieman and the monster are pursued by an angry mob.Nieman is injured and the monster helps him to make their getaway but he takes him in the wrong direction and both disappear into a pit of quicksand.
To supplement this amazing collection(the best of the Legacy series) are some very fine additions.All theatrical trailers are here along with the 1931,1938 and 1951 re-issue trailers."Boo" a cute but odd short film is here along with poster galleries for the first two movies,"She's Alive" a documentary about "The Bride of Frankenstein",another documentary called "The Frankenstein Files:How Hollywood made a monster" and finally a take on the making of the Frankenstein films by the director of "Van Helsing",Stephen Sommers.
By all standards this release gets top marks all the way.The films have been wonderfully remastered and restored and are very clean and crisp.I highly recommend this set to everyone but as an ESSENTIAL to the collection of anyone who has even the slightest interest in the horror genre of motion pictures.The first two films here are absolute essentials and both still quicken the pulse and startle even a jaded fan like myself after all these years.This release has been around for about four years now.May I suggest if you haven't already that you get yours today before it is gone forever.
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on June 1, 2004
This collection has been long overdue! Savor it! Relish it! The ultimate Universal collection in all of its digitally remastered glory will NOT disapppoint the true fans of the genre nor any low key fan either. Frankenstein collection includes the 1931 RESTORED version("Now I know what it feels like to BE GOD!"), the superior 1935 sequel BRIDE (Elsa Lanchester's bust line has never looked better!), solid sequel SON, 1942's Ghost, and the very good HOUSE OF(1944).
Bride of Frankenstein will always be my fave from Universal's vault of horror and the commentary is highly engaging. Watch it without and then with. Maybe someday Universal will release the fully restored 90 minute version of Bride that includes the Dwight Frye murder subplot involving Auntie and Uncle Glutz, the Goldstadt Morgue inquest scene, the monster's assault on E.E. Clive's(Was he Colin's brother?) burgomeister, Dr. Pretorious's OTHER little person in jar scene(part of which can still be glimpsed in this version), and the extended prologue with even more of busty Lanchester.
The films, themselves, look extraordinary on DVD. They are crisp, clear and sound magnificent. One interesting feature with regard to 'Frankenstein' and 'Bride Of' is the special features involving still photos with background music. Noteworthy:Bride of Frankenstein was one of the first films to have a fully orchestrated score just for the film. There is even a gem of commentary in which we learn that a rumour circulated of Franz Waxman suing Rodgers and Hammerstein(Listen to Bali Hi from South Pacific and tell me that it does not evoke the 3-note creation sequence from Bride!). Theatrical trailers are a riot, but why was Valerie Hobson the only actor in which Universal superimposed a title card over her preview scene? My only complaint is that Universal should have included Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein(read my review of this one).
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Just as Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein are the most complex and impressive of all the classic Universal monster movies, Frankenstein The Legacy Collection is the most impressive of the three Legacy Collection DVD sets. Not only do you get five classic Frankenstein's monster films, you also are treated to more numerous and significant extra features here than in the Dracula and Wolf Man Legacy Collection releases.
It is difficult to compare and contrast the different Universal monsters; my personal predilection draws me to Dracula, but I daresay Frankenstein's monster is the most successful, memorable, and influential of the Dracula - Frankenstein's monster -Wolf Man triad. The first two Frankenstein films are nothing short of brilliant (although I still regret that they did not truly recreate the monster of Mary Shelley's imaginative vision), with the sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, actually going one better than the original. When you think of Universal's Dracula, you think of Bela Lugosi; when you think of The Wolf Man, you think of Lon Chaney, Jr. When you think of Frankenstein, however, you think of Boris Karloff as the monster, Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein, Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale as the ingenious director, Jack Pierce as the legendary horror make-up artist, etc. Virtually every last detail of the first two Frankenstein films is perfect, unforgettable, and remarkably complex - the vision, the style of presentation, the iconic performances, the make-up, the special effects, everything. Not even Dracula is as memorable in half as many ways as both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein are.
Little more need be said of the first two Frankenstein films; they are the best of the Universal classics, and their complexity and appeal make them more amazing and impressive with each day that passes. But what of the other three films included here? Well, Frankenstein isn't what he used to be under Whale's direction. A lot of people seem to like Son of Frankenstein, but I see this is as the beginning of the big, dumb Frankenstein's monster stereotype that has stripped the monster of popular culture of the innocence and great human pathos that defined him early on. The film is most significant for being Karloff's last performance in the role he made his own, as the great horror actor wisely wished to have no part in the now-inevitable dumbing-down of the monster. Featuring Basil Rathbone as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi as Ygor, the broken-necked madman who befriends and to some degree controls the monster, and Lionel Atwill as the show-stealing Inspector Krogh, Son of Frankenstein robs the creature of his ability to speak and thus denies him the moving vestige of humanity bestowed upon him in the unsurpassed Bride of Frankenstein.
The Ghost of Frankenstein continues the story begun in Son of Frankenstein, this time introducing yet another Frankenstein son in the form of Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein (played most engagingly by Sir Cedric Hardwick). Incredibly, both Ygor (Lugosi) and the monster (now played by Lon Chaney, Jr.) survived the end of the previous film, and the pair set out to find yet another son of Frankenstein in hopes of restoring the monster's strength (long baths in boiling sulphur followed by radical ice therapy can get a monster down). Not surprisingly, the monster stirs up a little trouble in town, and Ludwig's attempt to undo his father's crucial mistake by replacing the monster's brain with a solid, non-criminal brain ultimately goes awry, thanks to Ygor and Ludwig's traitorous assistant Dr. Bohmer (Lionel Atwill). I actually found Ghost of Frankenstein to be a major improvement on the Son of Frankenstein storyline, although most fans seem to prefer Son of Frankenstein over this film.
House of Frankenstein boasts all three of the Universal monster heavyweights: Frankenstein's monster (now played by Glenn Strange), the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), and Count Dracula (played by John Carradine - the world's worst Dracula). It also features Boris Karloff in the role of the mad scientist who causes all sorts of trouble. A sequel of sorts to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein is a major disappointment in my eyes; only the Wolf Man character gets a decent treatment in this fun but rather insignificant film.
The extras in this collection are wonderful. For starters, you get theatrical trailers for all the films except Son of Frankenstein, poster and photo galleries for Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, and a discussion by Van Helsing director Stephen Sommers of the pervading influence of Universal's Frankenstein's monster in the horror movie industry. Frankenstein comes with a commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer, while Bride of Frankenstein features commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen (one of the best commentaries I've heard). Then there are two significant feature documentaries: The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster looks back through the history of the Universal Frankenstein movies, while She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein examines the making of Bride of Frankenstein. Both of these features include wonderful interviews with the daughter of Boris Karloff and the son of Dwight Frye. Finally, there is a short film called Boo! I was clueless as to what this could be, and I am still unsure of its origins, but it is basically a slightly comical little film featuring footage from Nosferatu, Frankenstein, and at least one other film.
This collection is not perfect (beware in particular a dangerous little bump in the casing beneath each DVD, as each one is just dying for the chance to scratch a disc). Still, considering how much material is included here, the Frankenstein Legacy Collection DVD set is a bargain that all Frankenstein fans would do well to snatch up. Of course, if you are interested in Dracula and the Wolf Man as well as Frankenstein's monster, look into getting the all-inclusive Monster Legacy Collection.
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on May 25, 2004
In celebration of VAN HELSING, Universal has pulled out the classic monster movies and given them the royal treatment that has been long overdue to them. This is the FRANKENSTEIN box set, containing five of the films telling the horrific, tragic tale of the Frankenstein Monster.
Under the protection of darkness, Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his hunchback assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) steal bodies and organs to build the doctor's dream; a man-made being. On a stormy night, with Dr. Frankenstein's mentor, Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan), Victor Moritz (John Boles), and his fiancee Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) watching him, Frankenstein brings his creation to life. Unknowingly, the brain Frankenstein used was a criminal's brain. Now, the doctor must do what he can to stop the Monster (Boris Karloff)
A pure classic, none the less. The atmosphere is appropriately gothic, the makeup is ingenious, the script is almost flawless, and the direction is very unique (4 closeups in a row, followed by an establishing shot). Performance wise, Clive defines the accursed doctor, Boles does what he can in his thankless role, Clarke is breathtaking as Elizabeth, Frye sets the standard for crazed assistants, Van Sloan is in strong form, and of course, Boris Karloff is in his star-winning performance as the monster.
Though apparently killed by the burning windmill, the monster (Boris Karloff) survives, as does the good doctor (Colin Clive). Unfortunately, Dr. Pretorious (Ernest Thesiger) coerces Henry back into the realm of gods and monsters, suggesting they give the monster, who has learned how to talk, what he wants; a bride (Elsa Lancaster)
James Whale has done the unthinkable. He has created a sequel that has surpassed it's legendary original. The gothic scenery, the beautiful dialogue, and the narrative is brilliant, retaining the elements of the novel and being original at the same time. Karloff delivers his greatest performance ever, Clive delivers an intensity that was unrivaled during that time, Thesiger is simply brilliant as the Dr. Hyde version of Dr. Frankenstein, Lancaster is equally beautiful as Mary Shelley as she is terrifying as the bride, and they're supported by a well-rounded supporting cast.
Many many years after the "destruction" of the monster, Dr. Frankenstein's son, Wolf Von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) and his family have moved in to Castle Frankenstein, despite the hatred the town has for their family. Their happiness is shattered when Wolf discovers that the monster (Boris Karloff) lives in his father's laboratory. The monster's friend, Ygor (Bela Lugosi) convinces the doctor to help the monster. However, Ygor lies behind ulterior motives.
While it lacks a bit in atmosphere, it certainly lives up to the previous films, with a welcome sense of sarcasm and humor. Karloff is back for the final time as the monster, once more speechless, and he delivers another fine performance. Rathbone brings some youthfulness to the franchise and a daringness that Henry Frankenstein didn't have in the first two. Atwill shines in one of his many roles in the Frankenstein films, and Lugosi nearly steals the movie in the only role that surpasses DRACULA.
A few years have passed now, and the people demand that Dr. Frankenstein's abandoned laboratory be destroyed. They destroy it, but fail to kill Ygor (Bela Lugosi), who miraculously survived the wounds Wolf Von Frankenstein inflicted upon him. When the building is blown up, the Monster (Lon Chaney, Jr.) is set free. However, he is sick and requires the help of Dr. Frankenstein's 2nd son, Ludwig Von Frankenstein (Sir Cedric Hardwicke). Ludwig reluctantly agrees to help the monster, but then chooses to give this monster a good brain, one that will rid it of evil. However, Ygor has other plans.
Though good, it falls behind a bit. Erle C. Kenton, though a good director, clearly lacks the style and wit of James Whale and Lee Rowland. The screenplay is good, though, and the film overall is more tense than the previous films. Hardwicke is a nice contrast from the more energetic Rathbone, Lugosi is good as always, Atwill is back in a different role, and Chaney, Jr. is trying his best to play the monster, but fails to bring any of the compassion or terror that Boris Karloff could create. Worth a watch.
Dr. Gustav Niemann (Boris Karloff) escapes from prison with his assistant, Daniel (J. Carrol Naish), with the intent to find the records of Dr. Frankenstein and make his own monster. Along the way, Dr. Niemann seeks revenge against those who sent him to prison, and they also run across a gypsy woman (Belle Mitchell) who Daniel falls in love for. They also meet Count Dracula (John Carradine), Larry Talbot AKA The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.) and Frankenstein's monster himself (Glenn Strange)
Though overly silly at times and not as effective as the rest of the bunch, HOUSE is a nice addition to the franchise. Karloff, though sadly missed from his trademark role, does good here, and it's nice to see him without all that makeup for once. Naish makes his hunchback sympathetic, and Mitchell is wonderfully full of life. Chaney, Jr. is great as Talbot/Wolfman, and it's nice for him to have a love interest this time out. Carradine takes the role of Dracula and makes it his own, but he feels like an afterthought and pretty much slows the narrative down. Strange, though physically on the mark, is a goofy-looking idiot in that makeup and he plays it robotically, without any emotion or trace of what this monster once represented. Still, not too bad.
There are also some really nice and informative documentaries. THE FRANKENSTEIN FILES tells you all you ever wanted to know about these films, SHE'S ALIVE! is strictly about the creation of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and there is a documentary featuring the cast and crew of VAN HELSING discussing these old films. Both FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN have commentaries, but they are boring and dull. A couple of trailers, a short film, and a few extras scattered around as well.
Three flawless films, one really good film, and one good yet flawed film, combined with boring commentaries, interesting documentaries, a fun short film, and Stephen Sommer's VAN HELSING documentary make for a wonderful box set that is everything that these films deserved and then some.
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on May 24, 2004
1. Frankenstein (1931) - Dr. Frankenstein breathes new life into a body made of dead parts. Unfortunatly it gets an abnormal brain and begins to terrorize the countryside. The only one who can stop him is his creator. Even for a 70+ year old movie, this is how to make a classic horror movie. Contained commentary from a film historian. 10/10
2. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - The monster survived, and now is looking for companionship. Meanwhile another scientist forces Dr. Frankenstein to continue his reanimation of the dead. The monster gets to speak and suprisingly gives an emotional performance. Also has running commentary. 9.5/10
3. Son of Frankenstein (1939) - The son of Frankenstein returns to discover the monster still lives with his friend Ygor (Lugosi). When the monster begins to kill again he must find a way to stop him. 7/10
4. Ghost of Franestein (1942) - Ygor and the monster find the OTHER son of Frankenstein :-) and starts brain-switching to cure the monster. 4/10
5. House of Frakenstein (1944) - All 3 monsters appear in this movie, but Dracula get shafted early and this is mostly the wolf-man show. Has some really great acting all around. 6/10
.. All this for ~ 20$! Also has 2 documenterys (~40min each) Great buy for 5 great movies, the first 2 are classics! Plus you get to see famous parts that Mel Brooks spoffed in "Young Frankenstein".
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on May 24, 2004
In part to take advantage of the release of "Van Helsing", Universal has release three great collections of movies centering on their three great horror Stars: Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein. In Frankenstein: The Legacy Collection you get five Frankenstein movies on two discs. It's actually three discs as one is double-sided.
The Movies are Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein. In addition to the five films, you get two 40 minute documentaries on the making of Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. Those two films also have full-length commentaries by film historians Rudy Behlmer and Scott MacQueen.
There are also still galleries of the posters used to promote the first two Frankenstein Films as well as a short film feature called "Boo". The Films have been re-mastered and restored to their original forms without the edits that were made over the years. Finally there is a short look at the new Van Helsing film.
Much more cannot be said of Frankenstein and "Bride". They are two of the renowned classics of the genre and deservedly so. James Whale's brilliant and atmospheric directing provide a gothic sense of forboding that were lacking in the rest of the films.
Son of Frankenstein was the third in the series and the last to feature Boris Karloff as the monster. Basil Rathbone plays the son who returns to the village where his father made the original monster and is scorned by the villagers.
To his astonishment, he finds out that the monster was not destroyed and has been cared for by Ygor, played by Bela Lugosi as a broken-necked grave robber. Eventually they revive the creature who does Ygor's evil bidding. The creature regressed here and was no longer talking as he did in "Bride". He is also much more decidedly evil as opposed to the sympathetic creature of the first two films. Son also lacks the gothic atmosphere of the first two movies but it's still good.
House of Frankenstein was one of several teamings made in the 1940's of Universals "big Three" of the Monster, Dracula, and the Wolfman. The others included House of Dracula, Frankestein Meets the Wolf Man, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
While there is a definite decline in quality as the series goes on, this is still an outstanding collection and I think the best of all the recently released Legacy collections. I particularly love the vast array of movie posters which were produced, many of which I had never seen before.
A definite must for fans of classic horror. Hopefully Universal will not stop here and eventually will produce sets on the Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
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on May 15, 2004
Frankenstein's Monster is probably one of the most misunderstood monster in horror film's history. Wasn't his choice, the Monster was made to be alive. He speaked for himself, "I love dead, I hate living." The Monster wasn't that bad at all, he's just like the Elephant Man, quite sympathetic.
The DVD contains 2 disc (1 single sided and 1 double sided) with 5 classic horror films: four sequels of Frankenstein, and one another film called House of Frankenstein. It comes with quite lots of special features like original theatrical trailers, documentary feature, commentary audio track, original poster and photo galleries, English closed captioned, and other substitles, etc. Surprisingly, both picture and audio quality are quite good & clear. Obviously, they are newly remastered for better clarity.
It also includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how these original Frankenstein films inspired director Stephen Sommers on his new movie Van Helsing. I don't feel it's an inspiration, I think Stephen Sommers wants to reuse couple classic scenes to show some authenticity of Frankenstein's monster in his new movie. But it seems it's trying to promote his new movie Van Helsing. Besides that, the true & serious fans of Frankenstein should find this DVD as their MUST-HAVE collectible item.
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I missed buying Frankenstein (1931) when it was out 4 years ago and have been kicking myself ever since. Its been selling for $30 or more on ebay and then you're sometimes buying a Brazillian edition(!!!).--
I enjoyed finally seeing the original (twice) and then watching it with the commentary turned on.
I then watched Bride the same way. (okay so I'm a DVD nerd).
This set was a bargain. While I think the first 3 Frankenstein films are REAL Classics I prefer Son of Frankenstein just a tad over the other two for personal reasons.
"Son of Frankenstein" has glaring continuty flaws if one has just viewed the first two movies.
Why is the village that is home to The Family Frankenstein now known 25 years later as the village of Frankenstein rather than the village of Gestadt as in the first two? [There was a signpost which established this in the first movie]
The lab was in an old watchtower (very much destroyed) not next door to the castle.
and so on and so on....
But Basil Rathbone's "Wolf" (Wolfgang von Frankenstein--notice the 'von' has been added) and the character of Inspector Krogh are superb.
Karloff's monster is actually better I think now that he is mute again. [Karloff always belived that the monster having speech in "Bride" was a mistake"].
Lugosi's Ygor is a true villain. He also set the benchmark for Mad Scientist Sidekicks that lives today. [Well you don't see a Mad Scientist's sidekick called Frtiz or Karl!]
All 5 movies are treasures. Keep in mind that Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman leads into Ghost of Frankenstein.
(ha ha! see why you need to buy them all!)
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on May 2, 2004
By now everyone should be familiar with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's macabre tale of the doctor who created life by sewing together parts of dead bodies. That the movie "Frankenstein" (1931)has very little to do with the rest of the novel is a mute point. James Whale's masterfully directed film remains one of the high water marks of cinema in general and horror films in particular. Whale followed his original up with "The Bride Of Frankenstein", a film that many critics consider equal to, if not better than, the original. Sadly, the last three films in this series are pathetic B-pictures that do not capture either the essence or mood of the first two masterpieces.
TRANSFER: The original 1931 film looks very good for its age. Though age related artifacts exist they are not terribly distracting. There is also a considerable amount of film grain. The grain is more noticeable in "Bride of Frankenstein" than the original. The last three films in the series are rendered with a marked improvement in image quality. In all cases, the gray scale is properly balanced with deep, solid blacks and nicely balanced contrast levels. There is a bit of edge enhancement and some pixelization but never anything that terribly distracts. The audio for all the films is mono. The original 1931 film exhibits slightly more hiss.
EXTRAS: Two very concisely produced featurettes that discuss the making of the first two films, an audio commentary for the first two movies and theatrical trailers and production notes for all of the films.
BOTTOM LINE: While the transfer quality is somewhat inconsistently rendered, this is by far the best that these films have ever look. Recommended!
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