DVD
The Curse of Frankenstein

Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Hazel Court
Warner Home Video
RRP: 7.99
D011066
Certificate: 12
Available 11 October 2004


When his mother dies, leaving him as sole heir to the Frankenstein fortune, young Victor hires a gifted tutor. Within a few short years he has learned everything Paul can teach him, but he keeps the man on and they work together for years in Victor's laboratory. After a successful experiment wherein they return a deceased dog to life, Frankenstein decides that the next logical step is to create their own human being and make it live and breathe. Paul is against this; he simply wants to publish a paper in the medical journal and potentially save a lot of lives. Paul stops helping his friend, but continues to live in the house because of his concerns for the welfare of Elizabeth who is betrothed to Frankenstein and has no inkling of his activities. However, the horrors mount up when the baron returns periodically with body parts, and even arranges an "accident" for an elderly professor so he can use a brain with a lifetime of knowledge. Then the creature begins to walk...

This 1957 offering from the studios of Hammer follows the approximate basic premise for the character. Peter Cushing is charming and persuasive throughout, and the creature, played by Christopher Lee (who else?!) is portrayed as a mentally retarded and somewhat pathetic soul, rather than the normal high-foreheaded, lumbering monster sporting bolts in its neck. There's a very small cast in this one; a maid makes the mistake of blackmailing Frankenstein out of jealousy, and Elizabeth seems to be present simply so that she can scream and be attacked at the appropriate moment. For all of you trivia fans out there: the young Victor is played by none other than Melvyn Hayes.

The majority of the film is set inside the house of Frankenstein, so there's very little open location work. That works positively in the film's favour, creating a feeling of claustrophobia, especially within the cluttered laboratory, which spills out on to a balcony for the finale. A solid and enjoyable rendition of the fable, but with few if any surprises.

Ty Power

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