The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Rating: X/ 12

Length: 1Hr 22

Release: 2.5.1957

About: Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is a brilliant scientist willing to stop at nothing in his quest to reanimate a deceased body. After alienating his longtime friend and partner, Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart), with his extreme methods, Frankenstein assembles a hideous creature (Christopher Lee) out of dead body parts and succeeds in bringing it to life. But the monster is not as obedient or docile as Frankenstein expected, and it runs amok, resulting in murder and mayhem.

The Good

  • The film has an interesting narrative framing in which we meet Victor Frankenstein after the events. It’s not something you see often in modern films and it was a refreshing change.
  • There are some incredible shots in what is largely a play-like adaptation. One particular scene in which Victor goes to purchase eyes for his creature is filmed from the neck down.
  • Peter Cushing is fantastic as Victor Frankenstein. His acting is best scene in some of the subtle movements he makes, like when he is discussing the need for a brain with Paul. Cushing’s eyes at one point flicker to Paul’s forehead and it put me on edge for the rest of the film.

The Bad

  • The commentary of women within the film pissed me off. Not because I’m some snowflake who can’t see it as a product of its time. No, I’m pissed off about Victor’s “I’ll introduce Elizabeth to Science” was used as a threat to Paul and that Paul spent a lot of the film ‘mansplaining’ to Elizabeth. I’m pissed off not for some feminist ‘women can Science too’, but because the source material was written by a woman!

The Ugly

  • It’s the problem of it being an adaptation. While it is an incredibly well made film, I found that the core elements and themes from the book did not make an appearance. It doesn’t make it bad, per say, I’m just disappointed.
  • The biggest theme/plot point that defines Frankenstein is Victor’s revulsion of his own creation and the eventual abandonment. I know this is to do with film rights and n avoidance of a law suit, but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

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