Blu Ray In Review: The Curse of Frankenstein
Synopsis: Baron Victor Frankenstein, in prison for murder and trying to evade the guillotine, tells a priest how he and his mentor, Paul Krempe, had performed many scientific experiments, eventually leading to the resurrection of a dead body. The baron’s obsession and the monster’s homicidal nature cause the deaths of several of those around them. Finally the Baron is confronted by an enraged monster about to throw Victor’s fiancée Elizabeth, from the castle parapet.
Review: This 1957 film was the first Hammer movie to be shot in colour, but also the first of the Frankenstein collection of movies, which starred Peter Cushing as the obsessive scientist, who will stop at nothing to get the scientific answers he so craves.
The film, which was directed by Terence Fisher was pretty much the debut of Peter Cushing to films. Prior to playing Frankenstein and later Van Helsing in the Dracula films. Cushing was more known for his television work and had struggled to establish himself in the arena of film.
The movie also sees the first starring role for Christopher Lee, who played the monster and puts in an absolutely mesmerizing performance without having to utter a single word of dialogue. The scene where the Monster escapes for the first time and meets the blind man is such a beautifully shot and acted scene. Lee’s interpretation of a Monster that is confused by the blind man is a master class in both mime and physical acting.
The main crux of this movie though is Peter Cushing and his performance as Victor Frankenstein. The obsessive scientist who will stop at nothing to create a living breathing being from an assortment of body parts.
The ongoing dialogue in the film between Frankenstein and fellow scientist Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart) is compelling to watch and the lengths that Victor will go to in order to recreate man is kind of scary and also confirms Krempe’s worst fears.
The arguments between the two leads bring us some genuinely dark, but quite funny moments. The fact that Victor is prepared to rob corpses to source body parts for his creation and be so dismissive about it all so as not to cloud his mission is both rather chilling and funny if you have a somewhat sick sense of humour like I do.
Most scenes are between the male characters, but there is a bit of a love triangle played out between Victor. His cousin who he has promised to Marry and the maid, but very little is made of this in the film due to the fact that it is truly secondary to what is happening in the lab, but its fair to say that his affair with the maid is what in part leads to his undoing.
Extras: Much like the release of Dracula earlier this year. This box set, which consists of a Blu Ray and two DVD’s has more extras than you can shake a stick at.
First off you have two versions of the film. One in the never before released Academy Ratio of (1.37:1) and the other in (1.66:1).
You also get a fantastically insightful audio commentary from Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby.
You also get a copy of the film ‘Four Sided Triangle,’ which is a movie that ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ took much inspiration from in how to approach the movie adaptation.
Also included are two cracking documentaries. The first being ‘Frankenstein Reborn: The Making Of a Hammer Classic’ in which various people from the film share their memories and insights about making the film. A highlight in this is actor Melvyn Hayes who played the younger Frankenstein in the film. Melvyn shares a fun anecdote about meeting Christopher Lee years after making the film.
The second documentary is titled ‘Life With Sir’ and is a touching short film about the late Peter Cushing.
You have one of the earliest TV pilots for a series based on Frankenstein as well as an episode of World Of Hammer: The Curse Of Frankenstein.
Rounding out the extras is a stills show and an all new Booklet ‘The Creator’s Spark: Hammers Frankenstein Begins’ with text by Hammer Archivist Robert J.E. Simpson (DVD only).
The DVD and Blu Ray for’The Curse Of Frankenstein’ will hit stores and all good online retailers on 8 July and is well worth the money if you are a fan of Hammer films and have a nostalgic itch that you want to scratch.
Written By: Ian Cullen
Ian Cullen is the owner of scifipulse.net. A wannabe musician. Ian is a legend in his own mind and when not working on the website host the hugely successful SFP-NOW Podcast he can be found skulking around empty corridors. A longtime fan of genre television and movies Ian was also a producer on the Reality On Demand web-series and has even been published in the official Star Trek Magazine.
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