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  • Gods and Monsters (Special Edition)
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Gods and Monsters (Special Edition)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich, David Dukes
  • Directors: Bill Condon
  • Writers: Bill Condon, Christopher Bram
  • Producers: Beau Rogers, Clive Barker, David Forrest, Gregg Fienberg, John Schouweiler
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 1999
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000IQVF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gods and Monsters (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "The World of Gods and Monsters: A Journey with James Whale" 30 min. documentary
  • Film Highlights

Editorial Reviews

One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1998 and winner of several awards including the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Gods and Monsters is a compassionate speculation about the final days of James Whale (1889-1957), the director of Frankenstein and 20 other films of the 1930s and '40s, who was openly gay at a time when homosexuality in Hollywood was discreetly concealed. Adapted and directed by Bill Condon from Christopher Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein, the film stars Ian McKellen in a sublime performance as the white-haired Whale, who is portrayed as a dapper gent and amateur artist prompted by failing health into melancholy remembrance of things past. Flashbacks of lost love, World War I battle trauma, and glory days in Hollywood combine with Whale's present-day attraction to a newly hired yard worker (Brendan Fraser) whose hunky, Frankenstein-like physique makes him an ideal model for Whale's fixated sketching.

The friendship between the handsome gardener and his elderly gay admirer is by turns tenuous, humorous, mutually beneficial, and ultimately rather sad--but to Condon's credit Whale is never seen as pathetic, lecherous, or senile. Equally rich is the rapport between Whale and his long-time housekeeper (played with wry sarcasm by Lynn Redgrave), who serves as protector, mother, and even surrogate spouse while Whale's mental state deteriorates. Flashbacks to Whale's filmmaking days are painstakingly authentic (particularly in the casting of look-alike actors playing Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester), and all of these ingredients combine to make Gods and Monsters (executive produced by horror novelist-filmmaker Clive Barker) a touchingly affectionate film that succeeds on many levels. It is at once a keen glimpse of Hollywood's past, a loving tribute to James Whale, and a richly moving, delicately balanced drama about loneliness, memory, and the passions that keep us alive. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

In the film's favor is its credible casting choices, most notably McKellan, who employs wit and real emotional range as Whale.
D. Litton
Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave received an Oscar nomination for their performances in this film (Best Actor/ Best Supporting Actress).
David Anderson
This movie has a great script and wonderful acting by all the cast, I was surprised that Brendan Fraser did a good job with his role.
Bertin Ramirez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By D. Litton on January 10, 2002
Format: DVD
At one point in "Gods and Monsters," Ian McKellan's character, James Whale, gestures to his head and remarks, "The real monsters are up here." The film spends its entire creating a way of life around this observation, portraying the last days of the well-known film director in ways that evoke humor, touching emotion, and above all else, emotionally haunting reflection on one's life.
It's a most unusual film, not completely a biopic, yet not entirely fictional; it's more of a speculation on his latter days, based on the novel "Father of Frankenstein," written by Christopher Bram. The reality of Whale's life, from his superior and delectable wit to the memories of war and Hollywood that delight and haunt him, is the basis of the novel and the film, as Whale relates them to a young gardener in whom he takes an emotional and physical interest.
The story begins by introducing us to Whale's way of life, from his slowly deteriorating health and mental state, to his luxurious home, where he lives with his maid, Hanna (Lynn Redgrave), who is caring yet keeps up a stern demeanor when it comes to his dealings in homosexuality. The presence of the new gardener, Clay Boone (Brendan Fraser), strikes a chord within Whale, who resumes his sketching by asking the young ex-Marine to pose for his drawing, offering a face-only clause as a way of quelling Clay's obvious insecurities.
The film's own openness with the issues of sexuality effectively portrays the flamboyance of its main character, who apparently saw no shame in his ways despite the resentment of homosexuality in the 1950's. The movie embodies this ignorance in Clay, who, at first, is unaware of his newfound friend's orientation.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: DVD
I'm a Chinese viewer living in Shanghai and I saw this film at the library of a nearby university. When I saw the film, I think it must be a classic or award-winning work because it has every element : superlime acting, intricate plot as well as unquestionablly excellent directoring & shooting. Though I thought I'm not yet prepared to give some so-called review for this movie, I decided to at least tell about my feelings about it to Amazon thus to give some applause to this good movie. It moved me so much. I did not cry. I did not feel like to cry, actually. But I was silent all the night for the feeling it casted on me and for the things it made me thinking. Only after reading Amazon, I found it's a new work in 98' and God, I think it deserves more than a mere some adapting of script award in the Academy. I think Ian McKellen (I knew the name for the first time today)deserves a Best Actor. But maybe, the content of it is too controvertial even in U.S. Yet I think it is a great work for telling a story in a beautifully and craftly way which attempts those ancient and intriguing questions of love, the meaning of life, humanity and art, in a most unimaginable and moving plot. There're two scenes impressed me very much: One is when Whale and the young man taking shelter from a sudden rain in the garden party, he saw, from the veils of rain, a young man in uniform standing under another umbrella, he thought he was his old friend in the army in WWI and he could see the young man smiling to him, backing 60 years, in the battle-field, under the same grey and raining sky, he is smiling so affectionately and so beautifully. The other is at the end of the film, the old man is found dead in his swimming pool and pulled on the bank by the young worker.Read more ›
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Armando M. Mesa on October 27, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Anyone who rents this movie should put aside their homophobic fears; Don't pass this Oscar material film because of its sexual nature. Yes, there are quite a few scenes that may make the weak at heart flinch ! The real story or hidden message is not so much the gay attraction Whale has for Boone or the disgust Boone feels towards homosexuality. They both have a longing or yearning to have some type of normal male sibling companionship that they did not have with their own fathers ! Both characters had fathers who were tough and mentally abusive towards Boone and Whale. Boone's father thought he was a weak coward for being discharged from the marines while Whale's father ( and mother) ridiculed his talent for drawing and placed him in a factory to work at a young age. This is the common ground that both men share. Also, Boone gives Whale a mental jolt or flashback everytime Whale sees him of his days past as a young man (rejuvenation) while Whale (whether intentional or not) shows Boone how to be almost a gentleman and not a knuckledragger without class. However, the true (non-sexual) hidden agenda Whale has in mind for Boone and himself is a real exciting twister !
The only downfall of the movie is that it is slow paced ( for some reason most Oscar material is; a thinking filmgoer's movie). Fraser deserves 5 stars for taking such a challenging role and losing the comical, big goofy guy role for a change. His young and fresh acting skills contrast with the other veteran actors for good intent and purpose to really add depth to the characters and story (his youthful persona contrasting with the seasoned and experienced). With all this said and including the top notch performances by all the actors this dvd version receives 4 stars ( bit of a slow movie, though).
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