Unedited prose on James Whale’s “Frankenstein” (1931)

Scene 1: What cemetery has an actual skeleton dressed up like the grim reaper standing guard?  Well, it’s 1931, it’s James Whale; it will be over the top.  The drama of jagged rocks against an evening sky, the sharp diagonal.

Scene 3: Here we have a closeup of Mae Clarke, the lines of her fake eyebrows jumping out against the fairness of everything else, pained, like a pair of fish stranded in this old Gothic castle. In the next shot, we see a swath of rich props: vials with fluids, rows of skulls, leather books, quill pens.

Scene 4, the introduction of the old windmill where Dr. Frankenstein labors. There is a lightning rod that looks like a man, or a robot.  A vaguely robotic feel and the round and angular intersections of art deco permeate the whole elongated laboratory. The masonry of the old windmill walls, built just for the film: so much work! Tesla’s coils  bursting with electricity, angry sheets of rain, the shuffling of Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant.  Such grand crashes of theater thunder (I try not to remember that it’s just sheets of metal flapping around a sound booth).  And now the monster stirs beneath its giant white sheet.  Boris Karloff’s hand emerges, shaking, and Colin Clive declares, “Now I know what it is to be God!”


About emvlovely

Oh, I live in an RV. I write poems, essays and prose. Thanks for reading my blog, good health to you!
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