Dr. Frankenstein decided to gamble with life and death, creating an eerie monster from body parts borrowed from the dead.
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Even before Batman and Superman, Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Alien and Predator or other popular heroes of the twentieth century became the objects of the classic dispute “who is cooler”, in the 30s the most important hack happened between Dracula and Frankenstein, Karloff and Lugosi. In fact, they are like 2 sides of the same coin – they are one whole and at the same time they are divorced at different poles. Dracula is an exquisite Romanian aristocrat, whose history reads for several centuries, and opposite him is a child of a new, machine age, created in the likeness of a man from the dead, sewn with thick Frankenstein threads. One enjoys power over people, the other is sometimes frightened by them. One took a liking to the old estate, the other liked the musty laboratory. One is neat, dignified and, on one side, even noble, the other, at first glance, is not far from a wild animal.
But no matter how many differences there are between them, they will forever remain the alpha and omega of horror, the basis on which everything was built. If it were not for them, their literary images created by Stoker and Shelley, perhaps during the 20th century, children would not have seen half of their nightmares, if Jason and Fyodor Kryukov had not been created. But what can I say, I’m pretty sure that we would not have the genre of horror that we all know. They brought to the word “monster” the meaning that we are putting now. And their influence on the history of cinema is already impossible not to note.
I have already written more than a dozen flattering words about Universal studio, but for some reason they are still there. After all, it was a rather risky commercial move to invest in the production of such films. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, in the courtyard, the beginning of the 30s, and the conservative public was not yet ready to watch a dozen corpses in films. Second, the great depression. Who cares what fears are shown on the screen if the average American viewer saw them in abundance on the streets every day. And thirdly, it was a new, unexplored niche in cinema, and no one knew how successful it would be. The film can be anything you like, on one condition – it must be profitable. But behind the phenomenal start of Dracula, the studio management decided not to hesitate and give the audience what they want – fears. The choice fell on the classic Gothic prose of Mary Shelley, which was ideal for film adaptation. In its form, “Frankenstein, or Modern Prometheus” was very convenient for adapting the script and had one more feature. Those who watch both “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” will notice how much they have in common precisely in the cinematic sense. Figuratively speaking, Universal Pictures created a remake of their extraordinarily successful film.
There was only one “but”. Bela Lugosi categorically refused to star in the role of Frankenstein’s monster, either because of the silence of this character, or in the wake of his popularity, he decided not to exchange himself for several secondary pictures. In any case, the decision is controversial and ambiguous. On the one hand, if Bel took this role for yourself, perhaps everything in his career and life would have turned out well, and he would not have ended his journey as an opium addict, starring in Ed Wood’s âBride of the Monsterâ. Although their tandem turned out to be one of the most unusual and strange in cinema, contributing also its share to world culture. On the other hand, no one would have seen the equal, no less, talent of Boris Karloff, and Lugosi would not associate himself with Dracula so much that in his will he asked him to bury himself in the most famous image.
And yet the appointment to the main role of Karloff is a great success for the entire cinema. The actor was able to fully reveal himself in the cinema just after the brilliant role in “Frankenstein”. Even externally, he very much coincided with his hero, just look at his thin, whiney face. His look at the character presented the monster exactly as everyone is used to seeing it now: a rough, uncouth, aggressive and mooing piece of sewn human flesh dug out of graves. Behavior, gestures, gait and especially eyes have become the hallmark of this monster. Despite the fact that the Frankenstein trademark has many remakes, sequels and even crossovers, none of the actors managed to get close to Boris for a tenth. Even Robert De Niro retreats into the dark, deep shadow of the angular figure of the 1931 model.
After the opening remarks of one of the flagships of Universal, Lemle Jr., which in its essence is a censorship relic of its time, the viewer moves into that foggy, damp, burial atmosphere of fear that permeates the entire film. Even after 80 years, there is no way to get rid of it, what can we say about the untrained viewers at the premieres? It makes no sense to describe the plot, the acting, the director’s findings, this is what you just need to see. But one cannot fail to mention separately the moment when the monster throws a little girl into the river. Perhaps this is one of the most expressive, vivid, memorable scenes in all black and white cinema. What happens in the entire 70 minutes of timekeeping, heavily curtailed by cinematographers, is the dark side of cinema. The one who is so attracted to herself and which, having seen once, cannot be forgotten.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (89.6 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
French: DTS 2.0
Spanish: DTS 2.0
German: DTS 2.0
Italian: DTS 2.0
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