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Robert Florey's Frankenstein Starring Bela Lugosi [Philip J. Riley, Robert now the script for"Frankenstein" as it would have been had Bela Lugosi starred; and.
Table of contents
- Customer Reviews
- Life of Boris Karloff: Frankenstein and Beyond
- ROBERT FLOREY'S FRANKENSTEIN STARRING BELA LUGOSI by Philip J. Riley
Show Boat was a big hit at the box office. Whale next made the comedy The Great Garrick while on loan to Warner Brothers ; the theatrical background of the story about English actor David Garrick Brian Aherne was well suited to his talents. Sinners in Paradise was a tepid melodrama about a group of plane-crash survivors—each of them carrying a dark secret—stuck on a mysterious island. Universal was deep into an austerity program, so remaking The Kiss Before the Mirror as Wives Under Suspicion was an obvious cost-cutting move, but the remake was inferior to the original.
Dissatisfied with the material he was being offered, Whale made an army training film, Personnel Placement in the Army , went into retirement, and spent the next 15 years painting. After two strokes in , his health declined, and he drowned himself in his swimming pool in You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. James Whale. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. James Whale American director.
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Written By: Michael Barson. See Article History. Early work Born into a poor family in an English coal-mining town, Whale was eager to join the army when World War I broke out. Start Your Free Trial Today.
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Bela read the original script and angrily stated: "I was a star in my country and I won't be a scarecrow over here! As a sidebar, Bela Lugosi was to eventually play the Frankenstein monster. In this film, Frankenstein did indeed speak, handling Bela's original objection, but sadly, at early screenings Bela's Hungarian accent played more funny than terrifying and caused audiences to titter, not quiver in fear. Bela's dialogue was cut out of the finished film, and Bela himself who had played the monster as being blind only appeared in a small portion of the finished movie.
British director James Whale, who had been imported to America by the Laemmle Brothers at Universal, took over the helm of Frankenstein. It was Whale who basically threw out the original Frankenstein script and concept and rewrote and amended it. A year-old unknown, journeyman actor from England was soon signed to take over the lead as the monster.
His name was Boris Karloff. Although many factors contributed to the huge success of Frankenstein writing, direction, other cast members, cinematography, special effects, et al , it was clearly the amazing sympathy, vulnerability, pathos and gentleness of Karloff that most heavily factored in the film's immortal appeal particularly with female viewers, who are generally not as "into" horror films as their male counterparts.
Makeup man Jack Pierce, a Greek immigrant, also figures heavily in the Frankenstein film's legend. It was Pierce's idea to give the monster his now legendary flat head, drooping eyelids, loose and unkempt costume and bolts in his neck often mistakenly referred to as bolts, they're actually electrodes. None of these physical facets were a part of Mary Shelley's original novel Frankenstein , but after the film's success were to become standard, both in films and in people's minds.
Pierce was known to be often temperamental and extremely stern, but during production he and Boris had a very friendly relationship. Pierce used a greenish-gray greasepaint to coat Boris's face and hands which was deliberately designed to come across pale and ashen on film. Boris was so cooperative that he even agreed to remove the partial bridgework in his mouth, in order to give the monster his hollow, sunken cheek look. Boris spent four hours in the makeup chair each day of filming.
The Frankenstein outfit weighed an unbelievable 48 pounds. Each of his boots weighed 11 pounds or 13 pounds, depending on the source.
Mae Clarke played the film's female lead "Elizabeth" Bette Davis was also reputedly considered for the role and was probably the hottest movie personality in the cast at the time of filming. She had recently gained her own film immortality a few months earlier as the woman in whose face Jimmy Cagney shoves a grapefruit in the classic gangster film Public Enemy Mae confided to Boris that she would be petrified when he came towards her in his creepy makeup. Boris empathized and told her that when he menaced her in the film to watch for his pinky finger. He said he would wave and wiggle his pinky at her, out of camera range, and this would be their special, personal signal that it was just Boris, not really a scary monster.
Seven-year-old Marilyn Harris played the little girl the monster throws into the lake, drowning her in the process. It was feared that little Marilyn would be terrified of Boris in his scary get-up, too. But when the cast and crew were driving to film on location, Marilyn ran over to Boris in his car already in full costume and asked him "May I ride with you? In the scene where Marilyn was thrown in the lake, director Whale shot the scene several times, but still needed just the right take.olatenflatat.ml
Life of Boris Karloff: Frankenstein and Beyond
Marilyn agreed, and Whale told her that if she did the scene, he'd give her anything she wanted. The perfect take was finally executed by Marilyn, and she asked Whale for a dozen hard-boiled eggs, her favorite snack.
Whale gave her two dozen. Marilyn's "drowning in the lake" scene was later edited out of the film in some states; it was considered to be a bit too graphic for contemporary film-going audiences. Later-day viewers seeing this version of the film in theaters or on television were often baffled as to how the little girl who drowned in the lake was put into that situation.
Colin Clive was billed first in the film's credits and given the name Henry Frankenstein. The original name of his character in the Shelley novel was Victor, but this was considered too severe and unfriendly to American audiences. Colin delivered the film's most immortal line, when he brings the monster to life and shrieks "It's alive! It's alive!
ROBERT FLOREY'S FRANKENSTEIN STARRING BELA LUGOSI by Philip J. Riley
Now I know what it feels like to be God! The line was later restored, but is partially obscured by the sound of castle thunder. Incidentally, Frankenstein was the first movie ever to use the familiar "castle thunder," now a horror movie staple. Although almost everyone believes Dr. Frankenstein's crippled assistant is named "Ygor," Dwight Frye, who plays the hunchbacked aide, is named "Fritz. Kenneth Strickfaden was responsible for all the electrical effects used when Frankenstein is created in the doctor's laboratory. According to one source, Boris was afraid of getting hit with the flying sparks in the creation scene and Strickfaden actually stood in for him.
Strickfaden was not given billing in the film's credits. Ironically, a lot of the equipment used in Frankenstein was used again by Mel Brooks in his parody Young Frankenstein.