Peter Cushing takes centre stage in another of the fondly
remembered Hammer productions. Our devilish experimental surgeon
has been driven to flee from his own country, after being
found guilty of murder and serious malpractice. He arrives
in England under an alias, searching for his ex-partner whose
trials of keeping a brain alive succeeded where his own had
failed. However, he discovers that the man has gone mad and
is currently incarcerated in an asylum. Hatching a plan, Baron
Frankenstein blackmails a worker at the institution into helping
him kidnap the man and transplant his brain into another body
so that he can learn the man's secrets. But Frankenstein hasn't
counted on his ex-partner's desire for revenge...
If you're wondering how transplanting a madman's brain into
another body can make him sane enough to reveal his scientific
findings, so too did I. I think the trick here is to not think
too deeply and just go along for the ride. The script is not
that tight, and there's very little excitement in the entire
film. Even the police investigation is conveniently forgotten
two-thirds of the way through. The main saving grace here
is the look; the sets and costumes are impressive.
is not one of the better films in the Hammer catalogue, but
it does have its moments; particularly when Frankenstein's
ex-partner, now sporting a new body, goes home to his wife.
There is nowhere else for him to go, even though he knows
his wife will not recognise him. Again, there's a who's who
of great and upcoming names. Aside from Cushing there's Simon
Ward, Windsor Davies, Freddie Jones (no, not the one in Scooby-Doo),
Thorley Walters (as the wonderfully no-nonsense Inspector
Frisch), and it's always great to see Geoffrey Bayldon, here
as the police doctor.
is a slightly more modern take on Mary Shelley's original
tale. Rather than an amalgamation of dead body parts creating
an unholy abomination in the eyes of the people, we have a
highly educated man's brain being transplanted into a professor's
body, so that he speaks with an English upper-class accent.
Even in Shelly's novel it was always Frankenstein who was
the monster rather than the creature, but with no horrific
product here this film loses its edge.
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