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  • Frankenstein - The True Story
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Frankenstein - The True Story

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Frankenstein - The True Story + Frankenstein + Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Leonard Whiting, Jane Seymour, Michael Sarrazin, Agnes Moorehead
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H30AQY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,495 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Frankenstein - The True Story" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Experience all the horror and suspense of the timeless Frankenstein story, now available on DVD for the first time ever in this unedited 3-hour version! With an incredible cast, including Jane Seymour, Agnes Moorehead, Michael Sarrazin, James Mason and Leonard Whiting, this film faithfully retells Mary Shelley's unforgettable story. Victor Frankenstein's medical experimentations result with the shocking discovery that he can revive the dead. But when his creature becomes a killer, is anyone safe? Find out in this gruesome, heart-pounding thriller created by legendary talents such as screenwriter Christopher Isherwood and makeup artists Roy Ashton. Experience the tragedy and terror of Frankenstein like never before!

Hints of sublime horror lurk in a big pile of camp lunacy in Frankenstein: The True Story. While a subtitle like The True Story might make you think this 1970s TV production hews close to Mary Shelley's classic novel, it's safe to say that Shelley's opus did not include crawling disembodied arms, sinister Chinese coolies, solar power, or the flabbergasting paisley dressing gown that Dr. Frankenstein wears for one brief but startling scene. In fact, The True Story deviates from Shelley's story in almost every detail. In this version, the young and handsome Dr. Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting, star of Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet) is lured into reviving the dead by the obsessive Dr. Clerval (David McCallum, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), who gruffly tosses off lines like "Fail? That is a word I shall teach you to forget!" and "This was specially prepared with chemicals--I'll explain what they are later." Clerval's untimely death doesn't stop Frankenstein from bringing his Creature to life in the form of the jaw-droppingly handsome Michael Sarrazin (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?). Alas, tissue degeneration soon sets in--but the oily, sinister Dr. Polidori (James Mason, Lolita) arrives to make things even worse with his plan for a female Creature in the form of the even more jaw-droppingly dewy and luscious Jane Seymour (later to becomeDr. Quinn, Medicine Woman). Most of Frankenstein: The True Story rattles along as enjoyable badness, but every so often an image flares up that's genuinely creepy--when Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth is menaced by an undead butterfly, the scene is laughable and eerie at the same time--and though Whiting is stiff, Mason and a parade of cameo stars (including John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, and Agnes Moorehead) inject the movie with the sort of sinister relish that animated the classic horror of the black and white era. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

This is by far the best Frankenstein movie ever made.
Beth K. King
As I watched it again, 40 years later, it was as I remembered and still one of the best movies of all time.
If I'm gonna see a good movie I want to see the full version!!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
While this isn't exactly how Mary Shelley envisioned FRANKENSTEIN and I wouldn't exactly call it "The True Story" (as opposed to, say, the lying, cheating version), this version adapted by Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy manages to touch on many of Shelley's themes while bringing some more contemporary ones into play as well. For it's time "Frankenstein: The True Story" brought wit, style and a visual flair missing from much of what was available on TV at the time.

The quality of the DVD isn't as good as it could be. The colors have faded and there's noticeable print damage throughout the presentation. I'm very very disappointed that Universal hasn't attempted to spruce this up more for its only probable incarnation on DVD. This is an excellent film with a terrific script that deserved the full restoration efforts of Universal. This was a top notch film that deserved to have all the respect of a theatrical film. Audio is OK but presented with such low levels you'll have to pump up the volume a bit for the film.

The original prologue featuring James Mason is included but not as an extra. Instead, it's presented at the beginning of the film just as it originally aired. On the one hand I like the fact that it is presented the way it originally appeared on the other I had forgotten how much of a spoiler this was showing scenes and presenting major plot points from the film. You may want to skip this chapter and go to the start of the film if you haven't seen the film in a while as it might spoil your enjoyment of the film.

As mentioned previously the film doesn't have any extras beyond the usual previews. A featurette on this pivotal and important film would have been appropriate.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By "elk-frog" on November 10, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I've finally found it! I saw this movie for the first time when I was 10 yrs. old. I had ran across it on tv just a scattered few more times in my life and had forgotten the name of it. Searching seriously for it in the last 5-10 yrs. through the video stores. It's my favorite Frankenstein movie of all time! Why isn't it on DVD and offered uncut to the public! What a waste! If I'm gonna see a good movie I want to see the full version!! How can we make this happen? I have three children and don't want them to miss this one...
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By John Cox on December 2, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have to take serious exception to the Amazon Editorial review that this movie is "camp lunacy." I think this is a severe misreading of this movie. Saying this movie is "camp" is like saying Shelly's novel is "camp." That's just dead wrong. As with Shelly, this is a straight-faced GOTHIC horror tale which explores a multitude of themes including the nature of beauty, God, science, identity, etc. This is the most intelligent and layered Frankenstein movie ever made. Sure, it's highly stylized, dialogue is arch, and there are scenes so horrific and perversely odd as to be almost funny...but that's part of the Gothic form. Watch Young Frankenstein (1974) for a "camp" treatment of the Frankenstein story. Tonally, this movie is dead serious and pure Shelly.

Okay, having said that, how does this movie compare to the other treatments of the Frankenstein story? Even though I love the Universal/Karloff films, I actually believe this version is the best adaptation of Frankenstein ever filmed. Make no mistake, as with Karloff, this movie takes liberties with the original book. But it does so to better illustrate key themes. Having the monster start off as beautiful (he even thinks "Beautiful" is his name) and accepted by Dr. Frankenstein and society is a master stroke idea which evokes even greater empathy for the creature when he finds himself suddenly rejected as he starts to develop tissue degeneration (no more "beautiful"). Everyone loves a child, but then... I also love that in this version the Bride is given substantial screen time beyond her creation. Here Jane Seymour gives us a fascinating version of a "female monster" -- vain, attention starved, manipulative, sexually predatory (she's Paris Hilton!). And the meeting between monster and bride...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Belly on October 15, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I won't buy the VHS version that has cut out the most important scenes from reading all the reviews. When this comes out on DVD with all 4 hours intact then I'll consider it. I read one review that says the same thing I've been thinking about for over 31 years that this movie made a big impact on me and I've had recurring dreams over the years of this spectacular Movie called Frankenstein: The True Story. The Horror scenes stuck with me for years especially the scene where the Arm with Hand still attached starts moving by itself even though it's not attached to a human being. Yes, I was a impressionable 8 year old girl who if watched a Horror Movie had nightmares for weeks afterwords. The Scenes with Michael Sarrazin though didn't scare me even when he started to degenerate because I felt so sorry for him. Jane Seymour's scenes should not have been cut out from this VHS version because she played a crucial role in the movie and played it fantastically(even when her head roled,YUK!) One of the English actors(David McCallum) in the Movie even went on to act in other U.S.A. T.V. Science Fiction Shows(Space 1999) and I had a longtime crush on him...Michael Sarrazin wasn't bad either(like yum!) When goes out of their way to put all 4 hours of the mini-series on DVD in it's full screen glory then I'll consider buying it. I've got my Memorys and I guess I'll have to keep them until does something about this tragedy. When it comes out on DVD in it's entirety all of you will want to buy the DVD believe me and chunk your VHS's.
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Topic From this Discussion
DVD release forthcoming!
As you predicted, the DVD appeared sans extras. Too bad! I would love to have seen some interviews with the many surviving stars, and the trailer for the film's European theatrical release.

Also, there are some scenes in the paperback film script that are not included in the film, such as an... Read More
Jun 15, 2007 by Thomas G. Morrison |  See all 2 posts
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