In the beginning there was 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and a ghost story that when published in 1818 was titled: "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus". She relates the story of Sea Captain Robert Walton. Who writes a series of letters to his sister Margaret Walton Saville about a man his ship has rescued named Victor Frankenstein and the story unfolds.
On March 18, 1910 the first filmed version of this novel was made directed by J. Searle Dawley starring Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein and Charles Ogle as the monster.
This would be followed by:
"Life Without A Soul" in 1915 were the Doctor was not named "Victor Frankenstein", but Dr. William Frawley and the monster was referred to as "Brute Man".
"Il monstro di Frankenstein (The Monster of Frankenstein) was an Italian version made in 1920.
The next film version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel was directed by James Whale and this article actually begins there.
One would never know with those thick foreign accents he used that actor Edward van Sloan was born in Chaska, Minnesota. The opening to Universal Picture's 1931 "Frankenstein" has van Sloan come out on screen from behind a theater curtain to address the movie audience before the feature begins:
How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a friendly word of warning: We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation; life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So, if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to uh, well, ––we warned you!!
The second film was made and released four years later in 1935. The posters screamed:
At this point what I am interested in mentioning is the bridge between the two films. I will discuss this movie specifically when I look at the fourth film in the Hammer Series "Frankenstein Created Women" from 1967.
"The Bride of Frankenstein" opens with a recreation of the night tradition states Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron told Ghost stories to each other and "Frankenstein" was born. At this point Elsa Lanchester as Mary reminds the two men that her intent was to tell a morality tale and the screen changes to the end of the 1931 film and the story picks up from there.
The result is what appears to be a continuous story line between the 1931 and 1935 films as if they were made at the same time and somebody decided the film was too long. Moving ahead 22 years to 1957 the British Company Hammer films released "The Curse of Frankenstein".
That movie opens with Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein in prison awaiting execution for murder as he relates the story of his life to a priest. The film ends with him being escorted to the guillotine for his execution to be carried out.
The direct sequel to the film was 1958's "The Revenge of Frankenstein" and it too had a bridge between the films. The sequel opens with the final scene from the first film, but we discover it is the priest that is beheaded and Victor Frankenstein now Dr. Stein has escaped through the power of money. As with the first two Universal films these two motion pictures can be viewed as one story.
Which brings us to what point did Universal's "Frankenstein Monster" and Hammer Films "Dr. Frankenstein" actually become a recurring character to build a series around.
Looking at Universal Pictures first two "Frankenstein" films the "Monster". Also called by the misnomer "Frankenstein" was not the immortal of the series yet. As presented these are two acts of the same story, or chapters of the same book.
Advance another four years to 1939 and in "The Son of Frankenstein" with Basil Rathbone as Wolf Frankenstein. The audience is finally introduced to the "Immortal" Monster by Bela Lugosi as the hanged Sheppard Ygor. It is at this point eight years after the first film that Universal Studios establishes that the monster either played by Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi, or Glenn Strange can not die. Although there is also a continuity issue I will address shortly.
Across the pond Jimmy Sangster's excellent scripts for "The Curse of Frankenstein" and
"The Revenge of Frankenstein" appear to establish Hammer Films' immortal character at the end of the second film. It is not Frankenstein's creation that does not change from film to film, but Baron Victor Frankenstein himself. However, even Sangster's concept would be tweaked as you will read later.
It had been "The House of Hammer's" original idea to do a straight remake of the Universal Picture's 1931 classic, but the other studio threatened them with a lawsuit if they attempted to copy Jack Pierce's make-up and use it in "The Curse of Frankenstein". Along with strangely calling their creature a "Monster".
At first glance it would seem that this obstacle put everything in Universal Studio's favor, but it actually forced the British writers to come up with other options, Therefore also not limiting Hammer to using just one make-up design as Universal had up to that time.
Take a look at the following photograph's of the Universal Monster and notice how even though the concept remained the same for the studio. What becomes obvious is that Jack Pierce designed the Frankenstein Creature's Make-up with one actor Boris Karloff in mind. Notice that the bone structure of the other three actors who played the creature force subtle changes to how the make-up looks on them. It is the copyrighted make-up Universal refused Hammer, but different.
1. Karloff in 1931's "Frankenstein"
2. Karloff in 1933's The Bride of Frankenstein"
3. Karloff in 1939's "The Son of Frankenstein"
4. Lon Chaney, Jr. in 1942's "The Ghost of Frankenstein"
5. Bela Lugosi in 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman"
6. Glenn Strange in 1944's "The House of Frankenstein"
As a result of Universal Studio's insistence over the make-up issue Hammer make-up artist Phillip Leakey created a design for Christopher Lee that also has become classic not only for its look, but because it appeared in the first Color (Eastman) film version of the story.
What many do not know is that Universal Pictures original idea was to make the 1931 motion picture a Three Strip Technicolor feature. Which would have meant "Frankenstein" would have been the first all color horror film being released one full year prior to Warner Brothers' "Dr. X". Here are rare photographs of Boris Karloff in Jack Pierce's color make-up from "The Son of Frankenstein".
Karloff and Jack Pierce
I mentioned story continuity before. This problem, although the audience did not either notice or care, shows up first in Universal's 1939 "The Son of Frankenstein". When 1935's "The Bride of Frankenstein" ends Elizabeth and Henry, not Victor , are now really free to start their married life. The monster is dead. However, move those four years forward between the Second and Third installments to 1939 and the question becomes how many years have actually passed?
In this latest entry we meet Dr. Wolf Frankenstein who we are told is the son of Henry and Elizabeth. In that four year period since an audience has seen the Frankenstein monster Wolf had to have been born, grow up, attend medical school, court and marry his wife Elsa and the two have their son Peter,. Also we find out that Inspector Krogh lost his arm as a child to the monster at the time of the 1931 film. Although there is no such incident shown. However, this time lapse is necessary so that the immortality of the monster is established for the viewer and the series that now follows.
Now look at the fourth entry "The Ghost of Frankenstein" which was released in 1942. For continuity Bela Lugosi is back as Ygor, but Boris Karloff has been replaced by Lon Chaney, Jr as the monster. The audience is told that the monster was found by Ygor encased in dried sulfur directly relating this film to the ending of "The Son of Frankenstein". So at first glance the continuity between films three and four has been established.
However, there are two noticeable questions raised.The first question raised is that time period from the two original films. As we now have a second son of Henry and Elizabeth that was never mentioned in the previous 1939 entry. This film is obviously set after "The Son of Frankenstein", but it is the apparent age of Cedric Hardwicke as Henry and Elizabeth's son Ludwig that concerns us. Hardwicke was 49 at the time, but his character looks even older.So you could ask which son came first Wolf, or Ludwig?
Then there is Ludwig's daughter played by Evelyn Ankers. She just happens to have the same name as Wolf Frankenstein's wife Elsa. Of course Elsa was a common Germanic name. One has to wonder was Ankers' Elsa named for her Aunt and by her apparent age born before Peter Frankenstein, or did Wolf just happen to fall in love with another Elsa. Take a look at "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" the following year 1943 with Ilona Massey as the love interest of Dr. Mannering "The Baroness Frankenstein". We know that Ankers Elsa ends her film in the arms of Ralph Bellamy's Erik Ernest. So who is this "Baroness Frankenstein"? Did Elsa drop Erik? This Elsa is young so she cannot be Wolf's widow. So do we now have an unknown sister to Wolf and Ludwig? Once more raising minor continuity issues that are just fun to speculate upon as they do not distract from a viewers enjoyment.
The sixth entry in the series would eliminate these continuity problems by simply eliminating any members of the Frankenstein family from the plots. I bring up the continuity issue only to illustrate how Universal was more interested in the monster rather than the person who created it. In fact starting with that sixth entry "The House of Frankenstein" it is the monster that was used to sell the remaining three films in the original series.
This brings me back to Hammer Films and their apparent, at the time, decision with "The Revenge of Frankenstein" to make the Baron immortal. For one thing had this idea stayed there would never have been any continuity problems with the character as all Peter Cushing's Baron had to do was move to another town and change his name. I'll address what happened to this idea shortly, but first how did the original idea work.
When we first meet "Dr. Stein" in "The Revenge of Frankenstein" his assistant is a hunchbacked dwarf named Karl played by Oscar Quitak. Hammer's tribute to Dwight Frye's "Fritz" from the 1931 Universal film.
Next enter Dr. Hans Kleve played by Francis Matthews who recognizes the Baron.
The stage is now set to turn Oscar Quitak into Michael Gwynn. The plan is to transfer Karl's brain into the perfectly created body of Michael Gwynn giving him a non-deformed anatomy. Everything seems to go right until Karl's brain decides to make Gwynn into its own image.
Gwynn is killed, but not before revealing Frankenstein's true identity. While back at Dr. Stein's "hospital" the patients revolt after finding out he is Baron Frankenstein and almost kill him. The dying Baron tells Dr. Kleve what must be done and the film ends with "Dr. Franck" admitting patients for treatment. At this juncture Hammer has created an immortal Dr. Frankenstein.
The next film in the series 1963's "The Evil of Frankenstein" really put the whole make-up lawsuit to rest. It didn't take Universal Pictures long, less than a year, to realize they blew it by not teaming with Hammer Films over 1957's "The Curse of Frankenstein". So in 1958 when the Rank Organization released Hammer's "Dracula" in the U.K. Universal Studio's got on board and released that film in the United States as "Horror of Dracula".
Not only does "The Evil of Frankenstein" use sets reminiscent of the one's from 1931, but with full approval of Universal Pictures the make-up for Kiwi Kingston is a tribute to Jack Pierce's original. Begging the question what Hammer might have done had Universal not filed that lawsuit in the first place? I will have more to say on this film's script shortly.
However, I want to switch gears as I promised at the start of this article to compare 1933's "The Bride of Frankenstein" to Hammer's answer 1967's "Frankenstein Created Women". The fourth film in their series.
The first obvious difference between the two films is that 32 years can cause a major change on the attitudes movie goers and censors have toward female characters. Both motion pictures deal with that section of Mary Shelley's novel when the created man wanted a mate. Although in the case of Hammer they just use the concept as a starting point for what is a morality tale that even Mary Shelley's agile mind never conceived.
Universal's choice of the title "The Bride of Frankenstein" and the posters for the motion picture clearly gave potential audiences the impression that the film would be about the creation of a mate from dead corpses for Karloff's monster. Along with the additional impression that she was the major character of the film. Of course this was a gimmick and Universal cheated thanks to a great Publicity Department. "The Bride" only appears in the final few moments of the 75 minute movie. Actually the entire time between Boris Karloff's and Elsa Lanchester's character's first meeting to their destruction is approximately two minutes and twenty-nine seconds of the last three minutes of the entire motion picture prior to the closing credits. The attached link clearly indicates this fact.
This does not mean the movie is not the classic we think it is, but the main portion of the film deals with the monster developing a "soul" as a result of the morality lesson mentioned in the opening sequence and an understanding of his differences to an ordinary human man. Along with learning to speak and very clearly relate his thoughts and feelings. Probably the best performance by Boris Karloff in the three films of the series he appeared in.
Yet, all of these excellent plot lines would just be dropped for the next film and the remaining five motion pictures of the series. The question this outstanding script created for Universal Pictures was how can you have Henry Frankenstein's creation called a "Monster" when he now has a "soul"?
Looking at the overall film the main story has two plot lines. The first has the monster meeting the blind man and learning to speak while he is obtaining and understanding human values. This only lasts until the other men arrive at the cabin causing his "friend" to seemingly become his enemy by the actions of these other men. The second plot line has Henry Frankenstein meeting the evil Dr. Septimus Pretorius who has been creating miniature human life of his own. Pretorius having previously met Henry's creation assists it by putting pressure on Frankenstein to create "The Bride" as a "soul mate". So instead of destroying the man he has created Henry is now looking at the potential of creating a mate and possibly their ability to have children.
Actually the character of the Monster's Bride was an afterthought. The original treatment for the motion picture and title was "The Return of Frankenstein" written by play write William Hurlbut. Hurlbut wrote the original script as just a continuation of the first story, but when James Whale was brought back as director. Whale thought the script unsatisfactory and wanted it re-written. A second writer John L. Balderston was brought on board and he remembered the incident in the novel about a mate. So he just inserted it in Hurlbut's original script at the end along with putting in the meeting scene between Pretorius and the Monster and adjusted some scenes and dialogue. Balderston had written the first draft for the 1931 film and the scripts for both the 1931 "Dracula" and 1932 "The Mummy" and was a favorite of Whale.
Of note Elsa Lanchester was billed as Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley in the closing credits, but as with the original "Frankenstein" film and Boris Karloff's portrayal of the monster there was only a Question Mark as to who played the Bride.
The 1935 film spoke of the "soul", but in 1967 Hammer Films actually used the "soul" as the basis for "Frankenstein Created Women". A film without a true monster thereby differing from both "The Curse of Frankenstein" and "The Evil of Frankenstein" and the one implied by Michael Gwynn's transformation back into the hunchback Karl in "The Revenge of Frankenstein".
Susan Denberg plays Christina the daughter of the Inn Keeper in a small village. The twist here from Elsa Lanchester's beauty even as the iconic "Bride" is that half of the girl's face is disfigured and paralyzed.
A young assistant to Baron Frankenstein Hans Werner has become Christina's lover. In a prologue we see Hans as a young boy witness his father's execution on the guillotine which has affected him mentality. About mid-way in the movie Christina's father has a fight with three "dandies" at the Inn over her. Her father is then murdered by these three men, but because of their status in the community. The police believe Hans, the son of a convicted murderer, did the killing. He is arrested and also sent to the guillotine. This leads the Baron to take Hans' body and "capture his soul" while it is still viable.The screenplay has strong metaphysical aspects to it.
The script for this unusual film was credited to "John Elder" who was actually Anthony Hinds a Producer at Hammer and the son of its founder William Hinds. In my earlier article "HAMMER FILMS: A Look at "The House of Hammer" by an Old 1950's American Fan". I mention that any film with "John Elder's" name as writer was questionable. Anthony Hinds, although he contributed at times to the screenplays, normally took credit for the scripts written by other writers who remained unknown. So in this case there is no way to know who actually came up with this story and wrote the screenplay.
The script takes another twist and Christina who did not defend her lover at his trial commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. The Baron recovers her body and transfers Hans' vengeful soul into it with unexpected consequences. When the bandages are removed Christina is a beautiful women who now seeks out the three men responsible for Hans' death and the real murder of her father.
The ending of the film has Christina once more killing herself unaware that she was possessed by Hans' soul. "Frankenstein Created Women" was a far cry from "The Bride of Frankenstein", but although critics on both sides of the pond thought as Leonard Maltin: "everything goes wrong, including script". I enjoyed it when I first saw it in 1967 and still do. More than any other motion picture this one truly illustrates the difference in approach by the two studios to a similar subject matter.
Returning to "The Ghost of Frankenstein" there are a couple of points I want to mention. One of them created a recognized trait of the Monster forever in this now "B" Budgeted entry to the series.
The first point is "The Ghost" itself. Many people believe it is the Monster played by Lon Chaney, Jr. in the film and reference his look at the beginning because of the encrusted sulfur on his body.
In actuality "The Ghost of Frankenstein" is quite literally that of Henry Frankenstein who speaks to his son Ludwig. However, Colin Clive had been dead for five years so Cedric Hardwicke in the scene plays both parts. Henry asks Ludwig not to destroy his creation, but give it a good brain. This will lead to the scene that created the trait I mentioned.
After his assistant Dr. Kettering is killed by the monster. Ludwig wants to place his brain in it. A little weirdness gets into this script as the monster wants the brain of a young girl he has befriended Cloestine. Meanwhile Ygor protests this idea and the monster pushes him aside damaging Ygor's spine. Ludwig's daughter is able to persuade the monster to let Cloestine go. Unbeknownst to Ludwig another of his assistants Dr Bohmer has replaced Kettering's brain with Ygor's. Following so far?
The brain transplant is accomplish and when the monster speaks we hear Bela Lugosi's voice. What Dr. Bohmer did not know is that Ygor is the wrong blood type for the monster. It suddenly goes blind as a result Lon Chaney, Jr. creates the classic walk with his arms straight out. This is simply done, because the monster can not see and needs to feel his surroundings. However, most viewers of the four films that follow never realized that the monster is blind.
Bela Lugosi was very excited to be playing the monster in the next entry 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman". He told his friends including Karloff and Chaney how this would give him the opportunity, as Lon had done, to put his own idea of the monster on the screen. He became a very disappointed actor and it shows in his performance. When he was told he could not change the monster's walk or actions by director Roy William Neil. It had been decided that the monster would stay blind and walk as Lon Chaney, Jr. had done. With the height of "B" Western actor Glenn Strange for those next three films the walk really is accented and became completely associated with the character.
Scenes from "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman"
Boris Karloff played the monster in the first three Universal Films and Glenn Strange in the last three with Lon Chaney, Jr and Bela Lugosi in the two middle entries. Although they were now "B, or perhaps in some people's minds "B-" films the first two that Strange appeared in "House of Frankenstein" 1944 and "House of Dracula" in 1945 were pure fun, because these two films were the "Monster Feast" pictures.
The first two stories were revolving doors for the monsters and the only three recurring actors were Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein Monster, Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lawrence "Larry" Talbot aka: the Wolfman and John Carradine as Baron Latos aka: Count Dracula. In "House of Frankenstein" J. Carrrol Naish was the Hunchback. While in "House of Dracula" actress Poni Adams played the advertised part. In "House of Frankenstein": the Mad Doctor was named Dr. Gustav Nieman and played by Boris Karloff. While in "House of Dracula" the Mad Doctor was named Dr. Franz Edelmann and played by Onslow Stevens. For those who have wanted Larry Talbot to be cured of being a werewolf.They got their wish at the end of "The House of Dracula".
The final film in this series that started with the 1931 "Frankenstein' and morphed over 34 years into these two revolving monster feasts followed "House of Dracula" three years later in 1948. Glenn Strange was back once more as the Monster, Lon Chaney, Jr. was back once more as the Wolfman without explanation as to why the cure hadn't work and Bela Lugosi was "Dracula". This sounded like a sure Universal Pictures Horror winner, but it was a comedy entitled "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein".
Not necessary the way to end such a classic series, but the story with Dracula wanting to put Lou's brain in the monster and Larry Talbott attempting to stop him had a $792, 000 budget and grossed $3.2 million dollars.It would actually spawn three more films: "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde" with Boris Karloff, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" and "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man". Actually they had already met him in the final scene of their Frankenstein outing in the voice of Vincent Price.
Returning to "The House of Hammer" we have that change to the original idea of Baron Frankenstein's character I referred too earlier. 1963's "The Evil of Frankenstein" is the third motion picture in the Hammer series and retains Peter Cushing portraying the Baron. However, it appears that the movie is either another take on Hammer's own "The Curse of Frankenstein", or more to the point an updating of Universal Pictures 1931 original motion picture. In short this is a reboot of the Hammer series after only two films.
"The Evil of Frankenstein" was produced by Anthony Hinds who had also produced the two Jimmy Sangster scripts, but here he uses his "John Elder" name as screenplay writer. No other writing credit is given. By this year the studio now had the full support of Universal Pictures. Therefore they were now able to copy the original make-up and other details Hammer had hoped to use in 1956 when the first production meetings were held on what would become "The Curse of Frankenstein".
Anthony Hinds completely deviates from the plot device established by Jimmy Sangster in "The Revenge of Frankenstein" that the Baron is now immortal and reworks his character. The only continuity the Hammer Film series will have from this movie forward is that Peter Cushing plays a character called Baron Frankenstein.
The Hinds/Elder's script uses the dialogue to set the new back story about Baron Frankenstein for the audience. As Anthony Hinds has made the decision to film the motion picture Hammer originally wanted to in 1956 before the Universal Studio lawsuit. At least this appears to be his decision pitting his script for "The Evil of Frankenstein" directly against Jimmy Sangster's for "The Curse of Frankenstein". My reader is free to decide which one works best.
In this screenplay"John Elder" the writer lifts elements from several of the old Universal Studio entries. To begin with we see the Baron returning to his original castle and discovering to his surprise encased in ice the monster he had created at a previous time. Shades of "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" were Lon Chaney, Jr. discovers Bela Lugosi.
The Baron uses a laboratory setting suggestive of the one's used in the Universal series to bring the creature back to life with the help of his assistant Hans. However, to overcome the previous mental issues with his creation. The Baron needs the help of a hypnotist named Zolton to clear the monster's mind of those previous "evil" deeds. The script also adds a mute beggar girl who befriends the creature and helps to keep it under control as his "friend". Again a variation on the blind man from "The Bride of Frankenstein".
Unknown to the Baron is that Zolton has an agenda of his own as did Dr. Bohmer in "The Ghost of Frankensten". The creature is now being used to murder different people in a similar way that Ygor used the Universal original. The film ends with the Baron and the monster being killed in a fire within the castle.
I have already mentioned how the dual of Anthony Hinds/John Elder did their twist on "The Bride of Frankenstein" in the fourth Hammer production "Frankenstein Created Women". Of note was that film had no connection to "The Evil of Frankenstein" and created a separate back story for the Baron. Once Anthony Hinds made the decision not to connect the second and third films and killed off Peter Cushing in "The Evil of Frankenstein". The Baron could only return with newly created back story's to each subsequent Hammer Production.
The fifth film in the series was 1969's "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" and this movie had some elements to the Baron's character we had never seen before such as being a rapist. Look at the two attached posters and the tone of this entry can be determined as compared to Hammer's previous productions.
The film once again starred Peter Cushing as the Baron, was directed by Terence Fisher with Hammer stalwart Freddie Jones and up and coming actors Simon Ward and Veronica Carlson in support. This entry was produced not by Anthony Hinds, but the solid Anthony Nelson Keyes It was the combination of first time writer Bert Batt's unflinching screenplay reflecting the tone of the Vietnam Era and the perceived need by Hammer executives to please non-British audiences by adding a rape scene that made this film extremely controversial.
Bert Batt was an excellent Second Unit and Assistant Director on films going back to 1949. Among his non-Hammer productions can be found "Zulu", "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Naked Prey". For Hammer he was the Assistant Director on "The Gorgon", "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb", "Dracula, Prince of Darkness", "Rasputin, the Mad Monk" and "Quatermass and the Pitt (Five Million Years to Earth)" among many more of the studio's better works. So Batt had a large amount of experience in the motion industry, but apparently never authored a screenplay according to IMDb.
What he did turn out and there is some indication that Anthony Nelson Keyes also had input which was normal at Hammer on the producers part. Is a Baron Frankenstein unlike anything Hammer, or Peter Cushing had done previously. In fact this is a Frankenstein without morality, or knowing the concept of the word.
Batt's Baron is a controlling person exploiting anyone he can for his own interests. He has no feelings beyond his obsession to create life and is a sexual voyeur among his other vices.
The basic plot of "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" has the Baron just happening to be staying at a boarding house where in the nearby insane asylum is a good friend. A scientist who is dying from lack of oxygen to his brain. What is actually revealed is that this other scientist Dr. Frederick Brandt has developed a brain transplant procedure that the Baron wants at any cost.
It just so happens that his landlady is a young women named Anna whose lover is another medical professional Dr. Karl Hoist working at the asylum. It doesn't take long for the Baron to discover that Karl is stealing narcotics to help Anna's sick mother. Frankenstein decides to blackmail the two into helping him obtain Brandt and then transfer his brain into a new healthy body. Once more it is revealed that it is not really the Baron's hope to save his "friend", but the means to Frankenstein's end of obtaining the information the other has developed. After the transplant is completed and while the body is healing the three, the Baron, Karl and Anna move it to an abandoned manor house.
When Brandt awakens in his new body. He is horrified by his appearance and the cold reality of why Frankenstein did this. As this point we have switched from actor George Pravda to Freddie Jones. The following is from an article for Turner Classic Movies by Jeff Stafford:
To lend verisimilitude to a character who awakens to find himself in another body makes a powerful demand upon the actor," Jones said (in Hammer Horror by Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio), "Incredibly, I recall the logical sequence I followed: fearful headache, therefore a desire to touch and perhaps discover some things. On its way up to the head, the hand naturally came into view. Shock! - as the head was instantly unfamiliar! More spontaneous perfunctory investigation and then, I notice the shiny surface of a kidney-shaped bowl - a mirror! And the truth. I don't recall any role making a greater demand.The new Brandt returns to his own home and appeals to his wife. The wife is terrified of the creature and cannot believe this is her husband. She flees and the Baron who has been following arrives to find Brandt spreading paraffin over the house as an accelerator for the fire he is about to start. Turning to Frankenstein as the police are approaching Bryant tells him:
You must choose between the flames and the police, Frankenstein...
Once more it appears Baron Frankenstein dies in the flames and I would be five more years until 1974 before Peter Cushing would return for the last time.
What about the rape scene? Terence Fisher, Peter Cushing and Veronica Carlson were shocked and completely against the idea of having Anna raped by the Baron. However, this came down from James Carreras one of the founders of the Studio and they had no choice.
Veronica Carlson has stated:
I couldn't refuse to do it. Peter was disgusted with the scene, and he didn't want to do it. Terence Fisher was very understanding, but it was totally humiliating.The scene had never been in Bert Batt's script, but Carreras insisted it be added to please the American Distributor Warner Brothers-Seven Arts.. Oddly the entire scene was censored from the original United States release in 1970, but reinserted years later for television. The listed running times of "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" are U.K. 98 minutes and the U.S. 101 minutes. So this scene that both critics and fans of Hammer in the United States objected to ran approximately three minutes.
As for the British release The London Times stated:
as nasty as anything I have seen in the cinema for a very long time and that's surely words of praise for horror buffs everywhere.The film is actually one of the best entries to the series and as I mentioned Bert Batt's script reflected the sentiment of the changes across the world during the Vietnam Era by using the character of Baron Frankenstein and other incidents within the films framework. In my opinion there was only one other character of this period that seemed to match this Victor Frankenstein and he wouldn't appear for another 9 years when Francis Ford Coppolla brought us Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now". That may seem a strange comparison,but remember I saw this film when it came out and was only a few months out of the United States Navy.
The final film for Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein was made in 1972 and "sat on the shelve" as they say for two years when it was finally released in the U.K. on May 2, 1974. Not only was this the last Frankenstein film for Cushing. It was also the last motion picture directed by Terence Fisher. The movie was "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell"
The supporting cast in the film included David Prowse as the monster. Prowse's name should be immediately recognized as the actor in the Darth Vader costume for the first three original "Star Wars" films, or as they are now Episodes Four through Six with the voice of James Earl Jones.
Patrick Troughton as a grave robbere. Troughton played the Second "Dr. Who" and it was during his run that the viewers learned the Doctor was something called a "Time Lord". Among his other roles was Phineas in Ray Harryhausen's "Jason and the Argonauts" and Melantius in Harryhausen's "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger".
Bernard Lee who was still playing "M" in the James Bond films.
For a film that spent two years gathering dust the cast was not bad, but perhaps the script by "John Elder" was. To begin with is this movie a direct sequel to "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed"? This is never made clear, but two things about Cushing's Baron says yes and a third says no.
When the film starts the Baron is now an inmate of an insane asylum, Is it the one from the other film? This is never made clear. His hands have been burned and they are useless to a surgeon. Again the other film has Frankenstein apparently burned in a fire. However, it is his look and especially his hair that does not fit the scenario.
The blond wig Cushing is wearing was designed by him and years later he joked how he didn't like it and it made him look like actress Helen Hayes. However, the fact that it is a wig would add to the possibility that again his head was damaged in the fire from the other movie, but nothing in "John Elder's" script makes mention of this fact. Actually the script doesn't tell us anything other than he is a trusty of the insane asylum calling himself Dr, Carl Victor, has incriminating evidence against the head of the asylum and as a result is free to do whatever he wants including creating another man.
Timing is everything and at this moment a new inmate Simon Helder arrives accused of body snatching. It turns out that Helder is a doctor and a surgeon. Also he happens to be an admirer of one Victor Frankenstein. Talk about lucky coincidence in Elder's script.
Add in the third member of the group the asylum's directors daughter a mute girl who has been helping Frankenstein. She was the one that stitched his torn and burn hands together. Again implying this could have been meant as a sequel to "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed". Team Victor is now complete and the creation of "The Monster from Hell" begins.
Eventually the monster runs amok and kills the asylum head and is killed in turn by the inmates. Now Frankenstein is truly free to experiment and the three plan what their next step will be as the girl starts to sweep up the lab. Nice open ending that was never followed up on.
Peter Cushing played one version, or another of Baron Frankenstein in six movies. However, there was actually seven made by Hammer Studios. The one film he did play the Baron was from 1970 and was entitled "The Horror of Frankenstein". The screenplay was by Jimmy Sangster and it resembled "The Curse of Frankenstein" except for its sense of humor. An example being Victor is bringing a hand attached to an arm to life. The digits move on the hand and proceed to give the audience "The Finger".
Ralph Bates played Victor Frankenstein and David Prowse played the monster making him the only actor to play the part twice in a Hammer film. This Frankenstein fit 1970. He starts out by murdering his father to obtain both the title of Baron and the family fortune. He uses his money to enter medical school in Vienna, but has to leave after getting the Dean's daughter pregnant. The story is somewhat like "The Curse of Frankenstein". Once the creature is created it goes on a rampage and is destroyed in a vat that it is hiding in which gets flooded with acid. Unlike the other film at the end Victor is free to do as he pleases which includes making a new creature and chasing women.
Here is a video of the trailer for the film.
Ralph Bates would follow "The Horror of Frankenstein" playing Dr. Jekyll in a film with co-star Martine Beswick. The movie was "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde" in which the male Henry Jekyll turns into the female Sister Hyde.
"The House of Hammer" was attempting to play to a more youthful audience with these two Ralph Bates film and this may have been a contributing factor to putting "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" on that shelf.
Basing my observations on what I have written about both Universal Studios and Hammer Films. I believe it is safe to say there are three basic rules for a "Frankenstein" movie.
1. The majority of the heroine's are named Elsa.
2. The majority of the men are named either Hans, or Karl.
3. The creature is really a frustrated song and dance man who enjoys "Puttin On the Ritz"
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