Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

Director: Jack Smight

Writers: Mary Shelley, Christopher Isherwod, Don Bachardy

Composer: Gil Melle

Starring: James Mason, Leonard Whiting, David McCallum, Jane Seymour, Nicola Pagett, Michael Sarrazin, Michael Wilding, Clarissa Kaye-Mason, Agnes Moorehead, Margaret Leighton, Ralphe Richardson, John Gielgud, Tom Baker, Julian Barnes, Arnold Diamond, Yootha Joyce, Peter Sallis, Dallas Adams, Norman Rossington

More info: IMDb

Plot: Dr. Frankenstein's (Whiting) creation is a handsome young man of high intelligence (Sarrazin). In fact, the doctor and his creature are the best of friends until the latter's body begins to deteriorate. This sends the creature over the bend into insanity, prompting Frankenstein -- with the help of his evil mentor, Dr. Polidori (Mason) -- to try, try again to create a viable synthetic human. The film ends more or less as the novel does, with the outcast Frankenstein and his creature expiring in the frozen wastes of Antarctica.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

This Frankenstein picture is unlike any other I've seen.  If you can take in 3 hours of it then knock yourself out.  it's a lot to take but there's also a lot of story to be told and it goes all over the place.  It's like 2-3 movies in one.  The performances are very good as are the other aspects of the production.  It's got a wonderful cast.  Think of it as the MASTERPIECE THEATER treatment of Mary Shelley's novel but with more bits thrown in to make it more fantastical.  You'll recognize little bits and pieces (ahahahahahahaha) of Frankenstein lore from the many film versions thrown about here along with some new ones.   I've never read the novel so I have no idea how closely this follows it.  Regardless, it is rather silly to say this is the 'true' story as it's fiction through and through.  Still, it's a wonderful film but its biggest detriment is the length.  It was originally shown on TV in two parts which is probably the best way to view it (sans commercials of course).  The Universal DVD comes with the original fullscreen presentation.  The only extras are a few trailers for TV shows and a film or two.  You can pick this up online for under five bucks.  I got mine at Big Lots for $3.  It's worth it.

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