Trailer: Victor Frankenstein

Posted on September 6, 2015 at 8:00 am

James McAvoy plays the doctor who tried to play God, Victor Frankenstein, in this latest film based on the classic novel by Mary Shelley.  Daniel Radcliffe plays his assistant, Igor, and the cast includes “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay and “Sherlock’s” Andrew Scott.  It will be in theaters this Thanksgiving.

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Happy birthday, Mary Shelley!

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

On August 30, 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born.  She was the daughter of philosopher William Godwin and pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.  She had a remarkable life and married the poet Percy Shelley, but she will always be remembered for the book she wrote when she was still a teenager, Frankenstein, which she called “Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus.”  She wrote the book when she and her husband were staying with Lord Byron, who challenged his guests to tell a horror story.  What happened next became a movie of its own, Haunted Summer .

The scientist who wanted to create or re-animate life has been adapted for dozens of movies, starting with one of the very first films ever made by Thomas Edison and inspired dozens more, including this year’s upcoming Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania.  Some of the highlights include:

Frankenstein with Boris Karloff No adaptation is more iconic than James Whale’s 1931 version and the “Bride of Frankenstein” sequel. Gods and Monsters is the story of James Whale and the making of the film.

Young Frankenstein Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks created this affectionate tribute and parody, using some of the original Whale sets and props.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein stars Robert DeNiro and Kenneth Branaugh as the monster and his creator.

Frankenstein is a 2004 miniseries with Luke Goss and Julie Delpy.

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein The famous comedy duo meet not only Frankenstein’s monster but the Wolf Man and Count Dracula.

The Curse of Frankenstein Peter Cushing stars in this Hammer horror classic.

 

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Celebrate Mary Shelley’s Birthday: Watch Frankenstein!

Posted on August 30, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Mary Shelley, daughter of two leading intellectuals and wife of a brilliant poet, was a teenager when she was challenged to write a ghost story and came up with one of the most enduring and often-filmed scary stories of all time, now considered the first true science fiction novel as well. She called it Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. And, as we all now know, it is the story of a scientist who tries to triumph over death by creating life. On screen, Frankenstein and his creation have co-starred with everyone from Abbott and Costello to Alvin the Chipmunk. The monster has been played by Boris Karloff, Robert DeNiro, Randy Quaid, David Warner, Tom Noonan, Peter Boyle, Michael Sarrazin, Lon Chaney, Jr., David Prowse (the actor who played Darth Vader) and John Cleese and inspired the character of Herman Munster, played by Fred Gwynne.

We Belong Dead: Frankenstein On Film is a good resource for the movie versions of Mary Shelley’s story. Some of the best Frankensteins include:

Frankenstein (1931) The James Whale-directed classic starring Boris Karloff is an unquestioned masterpiece of mood and filled with iconic moments.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) Whale and Karloff returned with this sequel, which many consider even scarier. Elsa Lanchester plays both Mary Shelley and the title character. Whale’s skill at making the story not just horror but tragedy makes this a compelling film that transcends genre.

Gods and Monsters (1998) This is not the story of Frankenstein but the story of James Whale (brilliantly played by Ian McKellan), whose depiction of Shelley’s story would be as influential in the 20th century as her book was in the 19th. The re-creations of the scenes from Whale’s films are meticulous and illuminating.

Young Frankenstein (1974) This loving spoof of Shelley and Whales has a hilarious script by Mel Brooks (who directed) and Gene Wilder (who starred as Dr. Fronk-en-STEEN). As influenced by Whales as by Shelley, this wildly funny film used some of Whale’s original sets and props.

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) Brook and Wilder were not the first to see the comic possibilities in a monster film. Abbott and Costello run into a whole bunch of movie monsters with a lot of silly, Scooby-Doo-style scares.

And be sure to check out the Frankensteinia blog, which is a tribute to all things Frankenstein.

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