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Frankenstein (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection) (1931)

Boris Karloff , Colin Clive , James Whale  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, John Boles, Mae Clarke, Edward Van Sloan
  • Directors: James Whale
  • Writers: Garrett Fort, Francis Edwards Faragoh
  • Producers: Jr. Carl Laemmle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • 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: August 17, 1999
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JMOF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Frankenstein (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Archives
  • Boo!
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Boris Karloff stars as the screen's most memorable monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster (Karloff) out of lifeless body parts. It's director James Whale's adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel blended with Karloff's compassionate portrayal of a creature groping for identity that makes Frankenstein a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    141 of 146 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein 75th Anniversary is an upgrade. October 1, 2006
    Format:DVD
    After disappointingly releasing James Whale's 1931 classic Frankenstein in two previous DVD editions, I had my doubts as to whether or not this edition would be any better. Would Universal give this classic horror film the treatment it deserved? To be honest, the previous DVD's special features were always great, like documentaries, audio commentary, ect.; but the one real issue that bothered me about the other editions was picture and audio quality. I can honestly say that, even after going as far as making a side by side comparison between the first release and this new edition, this new anniversary edition is the one to own. Much has been improved over the old versions, and I could not see any blemishes that exist here that did not exist before. The film now looks sharper, with significantly less dirt and dust, and the contrast of the expressionist photography has also been improved, with truer blacks and more subtle grays giving the film's cinematography the dark starkness it was intended to have, I dare say the film probably hasn't looked this good in years. And as a plus, they let the end credits fade to black like they were intended to, unlike in previous DVD editions when they strangely paused the end credits. As far as audio is concerned, it is good and loud, somewhat hissy, but not distractingly so. Extra special features also worth while. This new edition finally fives this classic the digital treatment it deserves and proves that even after 75 years, Frankenstein is still a fascinating landmark in early American horror cinema.
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    59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Monster; A Magnificient DVD November 25, 2002
    Format:DVD
    Although I have seen better prints of the film, this DVD issue of Universal Studio's famous FRANKENSTEIN is a magnificient package that is sure to delight any fan of classic horror. The film itself has been restored for content, and the Skal-hosted documentary--which traces the story from Mary Shelly's famous novel through its numerous film incarnations--is a delight, including numerous interviews with various historians, critics, and Karloff's daughter. The bonus audio track by Rudy Behlmer is also quite interesting, as are the various biographies and notes, and although the short film BOO is a spurious mix of footage from NOSFERATU, DRACULA, THE CAT AND THE CANARY, and FRANKENSTEIN, it is an enjoyable little throw-away. All in all, it doesn't get much better than this.
    As for the film itself, the production of FRANKENSTEIN was prompted by the incredible success of the earlier DRACULA--but where DRACULA is a rather problematic and significantly dated film, FRANKENSTEIN was and remains one of the most original horror films to ever emerge from Hollywood. Much of the credit for this goes to director James Whale, who by all accounts was deeply influenced by silent German film and his own traumatic experiences during World War I--and who mixed those elements with occasional flourishes of macabre humor to create a remarkably consistent vision of Mary Shelly's original novel.
    Whale was extremely, extremely fortunate in his cast. Colin Clive was a difficult actor, but Whale not only managed to get him through the film but to draw from him his finest screen performance; Mae Clarke is a memorable Elizabeth; and Dwight Frye, so memorable in DRACULA, tops himself as Fritz. But all eyes here are on Boris Karloff as the monster.
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    44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars It's Alive! It's Alive! September 26, 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD
    At last! Isn't this what we all investment into DVD for? (or at least it is for me) Digging deep into their vaults (sic) Universal Studios have packaged the first in a promised series of Classic Monster flicks with suitable aplomb and style. This is the real classic of silver screen horror films and spawned a series of sequels which still reverberates today. Not only do we get the best possible print of the movie, uncut - yes the complete print including the full lakeside scene - but it is crowned with a host of extras which make full use of DVD. Not only is there an excellent audio commentary, but we are also given a tremendous behind the scenes look at the treatment of Mary Shelley's monster by Universal (crammed full of tantalising trailer snips from all the Universal canon). If you have a DVD player with Region 1 capabilities then you owe it to yourself to invest in this beauty.
    Classic monster tales don't rate any higher than Frankenstein. It really is the grand-daddy of all subsequent monster movies and Universal's classic is arguably the first real sound horror film. The film kicks off with an historic pre-credit sequence by Edward van Sloan, who warns the cinema audience of the 30's about the terror to come. The script, as adapted by John Balderston, bears little real resemblance to Mary Shelley's book (taken really from Peggy Webling's stage adaptation) and is really responsible for beginning the confusion over the identity of Frankenstein. (As we all now know the creator of the monster was named Frankenstein and not the creature he manufactured.) In putting together the story line, Whale drew on previous European cinematic monster incarnations (Der Golem/Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) for a visual style which became a classic to be imitated for decades.
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    Frankenstein Video Transfer
    I agree. I intend to read the DVD review sites to determine what, if anything, is improved/added to this release compared to the last one. Let's face it, I buy DVDs because I like the movie. Consequently the only thing a review site can do for me is guide me to the best video transfer with the... Read More
    Aug 10, 2006 by TELZALL |  See all 4 posts
    Should I upgrade from the '99 release?
    "Is it enhanced for 16:9 TVs?"

    Nearly all movies before the 1960s, including "Frankenstein", were shot in 1.33:1 (4:3). So it wouldn't (or shouldn't) be enhanced for 16:9 TVs. In order to "enhance" it for 16:9 TVs they would have to shave off picture from the top... Read More
    Mar 18, 2009 by Pressed Rat |  See all 2 posts
    Which Version to Buy?
    Go with the Legacy version, which contains all 6 Universal Frankenstein movies. He can also see the monster in action in the film House of Dracula, which is included on the Dracula Legacy collection. Enjoy!
    Jun 20, 2007 by Thomas G. Morrison |  See all 4 posts
    Universal's Frankenstien and Marvel's Incredible Hulk -- The Same?
    You are definitely on the right track in your comparisons ... Stan Lee has said in interviews that his Hulk character was a combination of Frankenstein's 'monster' as well as the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story. I consider both Universal's early films and Marvel's 60's creations as Classic!
    Oct 16, 2009 by Jose Juan Rodriguez |  See all 3 posts
    Director James Whale
    Yes, Universal Home Video really needs to do a boxed-set "James Whale Collection." They need to bring "The Old Dark House" home, and the original version of "Waterloo Bridge" deserves to be seen again. Give Whale the respect he's long overdue Universal, and do it...
    Aug 6, 2006 by R. Monteith |  See all 2 posts
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