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VINE VOICEon October 18, 2013
Terrific set of Frankenstein movies, but disc #2 side one can't be read, which is a pain in the nuts IMHO. This set wasn't cheap, even used. So I'm spending another ten bucks on a DVD with the two Frankenstein movies that I can't view on this disc. Kind of annoying. BUT THE MOVIES ARE GREAT and I'm glad to have them in one set. I just wish that Universal had better QC -- what gives, boys? You don't know how to master a DVD or what?
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on May 23, 2017
Superb collection of classics and near-classics. Great condition, shipped fast. Thanks!
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on September 13, 2010
I just received this, along with Invisible Man movies and Mummie movies, already had the Dracula and Wolfman Legacy collection movies, and just ordered the last one, Creature from the Black Lagoon series. Mainly bringing this up cause these have been on sale lately, they've been out since like 2004, and sometimes I notice that for some wierd reason, movies will suddenly stop being put out in a particular format, so I decided I would have the entire legacy collection movies, before it ever gets to be too late, maybe I just have erroneous fears or such, dunno.
Anyway, Frankenstein movies are great in this movie pack of the legacy collection, the original, and so on. I too can remember spooky saturday nights(1970's and 1980's) when a good ole classic was put on television when I was growing up, and all the older movies were a delight to watch. The extras with the movies are a must have to watch too, and I can't rightly figure out how they can improve these movie sets except the usual recent treatments of movies into blue ray, but these regular dvds get upconverted anyway to near hd standards in my blue ray player panasonic bd605 refurbished, that I bought through amazon last month as refurbished(basically last years model renamed and new). Played on my 720P 32 inch lcd screen, and the blue ray, resolution is way way way better than any old saturday night movie I ever seen as a kid, thats for sure.
Well, anyway, there you have it, its my opinion that these collections have been out there so long it is a risk not getting them if you were on the fence about buying them or some other new goody, might be best to get these while they are still released.
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on July 20, 2008
"FRANKENSTEIN" is, without a doubt, the finest monster film Universal Studios ever produced. James Whale's unexpected masterpiece gave us art and pathos where one was only expecting a good scream. The frantic Collin Clive, furiously flailing just beyond the gray borders of sanity, contrasted with the child-like innocence of his spurned creation, moved me beyond reason at the tender age of nine. Twenty years later, I still feel the same way when viewing this film. Karloff's characterization, through grunts, hand gestures, and facial expressions, conveys more humanity than virtually any other character that has ever graced the silver screen. While a severe departure from Mary Shelley's novel, this film achieves its own status as legendary art, leaving itself etched upon our cultural consciousness for all time to come.

"BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN," while an amazing film in its own right, tends to get oversold, in my opinion. James Whale, frustrated that the movie-going public had taken his first film on such a surface level, attempted to re-emphasize the points he made the first time around, externalizing Dr. Frankenstein's conflict by introducing a second mad scientist to embody his obsession, exaggerating the monster's personality and innocence by giving him speech and allowing him to state these sentiments directly, and by providing blatant verbal ruminations about the issues raised in this film - issues of life and death, gods and monsters, loneliness and friendship, and even rage and thoughts of suicide. All of this wonderfully potent content was there in the first film, but Whale yells louder in "Bride," hoping someone will actually hear him this time. Even the highly memorable scene with the blind man in the hut is really just an echo of the dramatic ramifications of the monster's encounter with the young girl by the river in the first film. Brief moments of pleasure and happiness are inevitably destroyed by cruel fate. While "Bride" is still a superb film, especially with stronger, more brilliantly expressive shots than the first one and richer, more terrifying production value (especially towards the end, when the Bride is finally brought to life), I think it's a mistake to call this film superior to the original. When you look closely, it does little to actually raise the stakes or take the franchise to a new level.

"SON OF FRANKENSTEIN" was clearly the recipient of a surprising amount of effort on the part of the studio, but that effort didn't get it very far. In addition to the legendary Boris Karloff, Universal brought screen legend Basal Rathbone and Universal's own legend, Bela Lugosi (Dracula) to the project. Additionally, the director seemed to have a clear artistic vision for the film, utilizing a mixture of Modernism and Expressionism in his sets, lighting, and over-all shot composition, apparently attempting to depict the three disconnected worlds of the new Baron Frankenstein (modern, scientific, detached), the villagers (medieval, worn, cramped), and the old Laboratory (chaotic, asymmetrical, unnatural). Unfortunately, the script fails to deliver, giving us characters with fantastically intriguing potential, but ultimately no internal conflict nor character development. Nothing is ever truly at stake in this film beyond the lives of a few villagers and the freedom of Dr. Frankenstein. Whereas the first two Frankenstein films were intense character studies (one could even argue that, like the Incredible Hulk, Dr. Frankenstein and the monster represented conflicting aspects of the same person), there is absolutely no depth of character to be found in this film. Even Karloff, who gets thrown a bone with two short, emotional scenes that are almost entirely irrelevant to the plot, does not get to act until almost an hour into the film, and spends most of the remaining time as a thoughtless henchman serving another villain. Karloff, in his final appearance as the Frankenstein monster, is relegated to supporting cast in a franchise that should have been centered entirely upon his character. This is a decent film for a lazy Sunday viewing, but I would hesitate to call it memorable or even a worthwhile inclusion in this franchise. Side note: Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" is based almost entirely upon this installment in the Frankenstein series.

"GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN" is, undoubtedly, the weakest installment in the Frankenstein series. By this point, the premise has completely lost its way, borrowing heavily from the previous film and practically ignoring the heavy themes, astonishing artistic value and, above all else, humanity contained in the first two films. In this uninspired tale, the Frankenstein monster, still befriended by Ygor (from the last film) has become far more casual about killing and terrorizing than in previous installments. Whereas the creature once sought understanding and only met violence with violence, he now kills whenever someone puts a hand on his shoulder or happens to be in his way. Perhaps this is a logical progression after so many disastrous encounters with people over the years, but director Eric Kenton fails to lend any sense of tragedy to this fact, treating the monster as a cold, viscous killer whose only redemptive quality is that he befriends children. Gone is any sense of the overwhelmingly earthy protagonist from the first two films. He truly has become little more than a monster. Perhaps I could have forgiven the film if that had been all the damage it dealt to such a beloved character, but it goes much further. By the end of the film (no spoilers here), the Frankenstein monster has been utterly ruined beyond salvation, surgically changed into a far more generic, dramatically void antagonist that was never going to earn another sequel. An otherwise brilliant franchise was stopped dead by one truly tasteless installment.

"HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN," the final film in this collection, is a surprisingly excellent installment. Boris Karloff is brilliant as the mad scientist, J Carrol Naish plays a stunningly sympathetic hunchback, and the writing and directing are both truly memorable. The problem is that this isn't a Frankenstein film. It's not even the team-up film it claims to be. A terribly executed Dracula appears in the first 30 minutes of the film (which are entirely irrelevant to the rest of the story), and the Frankenstein monster is literally animated in the last ninety seconds of the film. Beyond that, this is clearly a Wolf Man movie, continuing directly from the "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" film featured in the Wolfman Legacy Collection. It spends most of the film focused on Larry Talbot (The Wolfman) and does a tremendous amount to build upon and enrich his story in amazing ways, but it does not do the same for Dracula or the monster, both of whom seem tacked on without any artistic considerations, included merely for advertising purposes. It's saddening to consider how Karloff must have felt watching his legacy tarnish before his very eyes. That consideration aside, this is a very solid Wolfman film, but I absolutely wouldn't even bother with it unless you're a fan of Larry Talbot and have already seen "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman."

It's hard to deny that this is one heck of a collection, if only because it contains both the original "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein" in one inexpensive volume, but I'd hesitate to view the addition of the other films as much of a bonus. Granted, there are those of us who recall these films with fond childhood nostalgia, but, if you're not already familiar with the three remaining films, then I wouldn't expect to be too impressed with them. Buy this collection in order to own two of the greatest horror stories ever shown on the big screen. Save the rest for an evening when you're feeling bored and morbidly curious.
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HALL OF FAMEon October 12, 2008
This legacy set is the best way to own "Frankenstein". There is commentary on both this film and the equally renowned "Bride of Frankenstein". If you get the 75th anniversary edition, you don't have that great sequel. Although Frankenstein was full of the existential doubts that were common in precode horror, Karloff gave the monster a kind of pathos that you can't imagine any other actor giving to that role. "Bride of Frankenstein" is a high quality production that is a bit of a miracle. Made after the advent of the production code, director James Whale had to play the censors like a violin to get this movie made. He appeased the censors by adding more and more religious imagery and then got away with portraying the Frankenstein monster as Christ at the crucifixion. "Son of Frankenstein" is a great view for reasons the makers never intended - it is the film spoofed in "Young Frankenstein" right down to Igor and the one-armed policeman and the game of darts. House of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein are passable sequels, and at this low price I just consider them to be middling quality extras.

What is not great are the double-sided DVDs which - for some unknown reason - Universal keeps putting its classic collections on. They can last, but you have to be both careful with them and lucky that they work OK to begin with. What is also not great is that this set lacks the wonderful 90 minute documentary "Universal Horror" that is in the 75th anniversary edition of Frankenstein.

The extras in this set are as follows:
Van Helsing director Stephen Sommers hosts an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how these original Frankenstein films inspired his film.

"The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster," an original documentary.

"She's Alive!": Creating the bride of Frankenstein, an original documentary.

Film historians provide insightful commentary to Frankenstein (Rudy Behlmer) and Bride of Frankenstein (Scott MacQueen) on an alternate audio track.

Original theatrical trailers, plus the 1931, 1938, and 1951 reissue trailers for Frankenstein.

Boo!: A short film made from what is left of 1930's "The Cat Creeps", which was a sound version of the classic 1927 silent horror film "The Cat and the Canary".

Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein original poster and photo galleries.

Newly remastered audio track.
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on February 12, 2008
I couldn't possibly add to the well thought out and informed material that has already been sent in by prior writers. However, this is the film that started an avalanche of what we now refer to as classic horror. We all owe a debt of thanks to Universal for their pioneering and profitable efforts which many studios copied but almost none were able to duplicate. Universal developed film stories with more substance, haunting music, fantastic sets and the wonderful makeup of Jack Pierce. We also must never forget the acting magic of Boris Karloff.

Classic horror fans agree that Karloff's superb face, intended emotions and acting skills were visible through the pounds of makeup. The fact that Karloff could clearly convey his expressions like no other under these conditions is a tribute to his skills. Numerous other actors have tried and fallen short of his performance. My small personal circle of learned classic horror movie fans actually have a saying which is "Karloff's face was half of the makeup".

I will just state that the DVD transfer was excellent and note that I loved the film on my large format TV. Sadly, I don't have the memory of seeing this film on an actual full scale theater screen to compare it to, although I have come close when watching an excellent 16 mm copy in a privately owned theater. It was an amazing experience.

Memories of the grand opening of this film in New York were described by my mother (who most definitely was not a fan) who noted that nothing had ever been seen like Universal's Frankenstein on the screen before. A nurse was on call for each showing because of the numerous patrons who passed out and an ambulance and hearse were located outside the theater to add to the mood and to promote effective publicity.
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on March 10, 2005
This two DVD set, part of Universal's "The Legacy Collection" is a worthy tribute to the studio's most renowned horror creation. The set includes the first three films in the series-Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939)-along with two later installments, The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and The House of Frankenstein (1944). Intransigent monster fans, however, will have to invest in the Wolfman and Dracula sets in order to fill in the gaps represented by Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) and The House of Dracula (1945). Sadly, the films also document the monster's decline and fall as a credible screen character, paralleling the studio's own vicissitudes after it passed out of the hands of the Laemmle family in the mid-1930s.

The series commences with two unforgettable pictures. Frankenstein is quite dramatically uneven with some distractingly unconvincing supporting performances that range from insipid (Mae Clarke, John Boles) to overblown (Frederick Kerr). But Boris Karloff's sui generis rendition of the monster is aptly complemented by Colin Clive's overwrought Henry, a mad scientist on the verge of a nervous breakdown, while Dwight Frye's Fritz, who has a more than passing similarity to Lon Chaney's Quasimodo, might have walked straight out of the pages of a gothic novel. The movie establishes a strong atmosphere of horror from the opening somber images of a funeral being spied on by Henry and Fritz, an atmosphere that grows with the creation scene, and reaches an almost unbearable intensity with the killing of Maria and the burning of the monster by a mob.

For many fans, myself included, the cycle reaches its apogee in Bride of Frankenstein. In spite of James Whale's misgivings, he agreed to do this first sequel, based on an episode in the novel in which Victor Frankenstein agrees to create a mate for the monster. Using a largely British cast, augmented by Una O'Connor from the Abbey Theater, Whale put together a diabolical fairy tale that in some respects more resembles Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast than its 1931 predecessor. Although Karloff and Clive are once more memorably on hand, arguably it is Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius, an improbable amalgam of mad scientist and dandy, who steals the show. Visually the most extraordinary of the series, Bride of Frankenstein owes a great deal of its macabre allure to the collaboration of John Mescall (principal photography), John Fulton (special effects photography), and Charles D. Hall (sets). The first movie was shot by the veteran Arthur Edeson, but Mescall gave a delicate enchantment to the compositions that recalls moments in A Midsummer Night's Dream, photographed in the same year by Hal Mohr. This is a Germany of the imagination straight out of the brothers Grimm that perhaps influenced Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

The studio still relied on material from the novel in concocting Bride of Frankenstein, but after that point it followed its own inspiration with increasingly disastrous results. Although Son of Frankenstein's titles make an obligatory nod to Mary Shelley, the film owes nothing to her novel and not much to the two previous films-except the hostility of the local populace to anything associated with the cursed name of Frankenstein. Basil Rathbone is less than convincing as the biological offspring of Henry Frankenstein-his mannerisms and pencil moustache furnished Mel Brooks with plenty of material to lampoon in Young Frankenstein-while Karloff, playing his most famous role for the last time, comes across as less than monsterly. However, Bela Lugosi as the monster's soul mate Ygor, and Lionel Atwill as crippled Inspector Krogh sink their teeth all the way into two juicy roles. Crisply directed by Rowland V. Lee and superbly photographed by George Robinson, Son of Frankenstein visually looks back to the days of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Golem as well as forward to the low-key lighting and deep focus of Citizen Kane.

The next two titles might be collectively lumped together under the rubric "The Monster in Extremis." The only good thing to be said about Lon Chaney Jr.'s performance as the creature in The Ghost of Frankenstein is that he doesn't have any lines to read-only his role as Kharis was an improvement on this one. Atwill and Lugosi once again supply the main interest here, along with some skillful lensing by Milton Krasner and Woody Bredell. House of Frankenstein is an even farther out exercise in desperation. By this point, Universal had arrived at an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink aesthetic, and the movie boasts appearances by Count Dracula (John Carradine), the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.), as well as the monster (a lamentable Glenn Strange). Yet Boris Karloff, playing a deranged savant named Dr. Niemann ("No One"), provides some other than comic relief, and both Lionel Atwill and George Zucco show up in minor roles.

By this point, even Frankenstein's immortal fiend was beginning to change into a comic cliché-all that remained was for him to meet Abbot and Costello in 1948. On the other hand, I must admit I enjoyed watching this ineffably silly pair of movies, even if I didn't think much of them-Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is the exception among the post-Son of Frankenstein sequels. Yet if it takes a stiff dose of Coleridgean "willing suspension of disbelief" to put up with the implausible dramatic logic of the later episodes in the Frankenstein saga, all of these films have moments of visual charm. And that charm is quite evident in this indispensable and excellent DVD set. Some slightly erroneous advertising to the contrary, all of these films have been previously available in DVD format; nonetheless, the sound is definitely improved as promised, and even the picture quality seemed better. There is a wealth of supplementary material here, but I particularly recommend the commentaries by Rudy Behlmer and Scott McQueen for Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, respectively, and the documentaries on the making of those two films.
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on October 17, 2007
I have seen these and other classic movies from Universal's Golden Age of Horror many times over the years, the first time being as a child PBS used to play them usually every Saturday night at 10 or 11 o' clock at night. I have the Dracula and Wolfman legacy collections in addition to the Frankensein legacy Of all the films in this latter collection, The Bride of Frankenstein is the film that stands out and still sends chills down my spine. Certain scenes, like the monster's first appearance in the dark murky lake under the burning mill, The Brides' creation when her eyes are shown open when the bandages are removed from them and of course, the infamous chilling closeup of Elsa Lanchester as the Bride, hissing at the heartbroken monster before he destroys the lab. And the Franx Waxman score for "BOF", like the movie, is chilling as well. Another scene, a lighter, touchier moment were the scenes with the monster and the blind hermit. Very touching. I would recommend any fan of the Universal's golden age of horror these classic collections. I somewhat enjoyed Son Of Frankenstein, but never had seen Ghost of Frankenstein before until I purchased this box set. House of Frankensein was also a great movie as well. Also enjoyable were the extras on this DVD collection: The short documentries on Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein and how the behind the scenes info contributed to making "Frankenstein" & "Bride of Frankenstein."
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on October 22, 2007
To reiterate some of the previous posts: yes, my discs arrived loose in the case as well. But I must agree with the person who stated that it's not the discs being scratched that's causing the glitches on Disc 2, it's the discs themselves. My discs were not visibly scratched, so the manufacturer dropped the ball. Mine glitched during "Son of Frankenstein" but given the slow uneven pace of the film itself it was no loss. "Ghost of Frank" and "House of Frank" played fine. "House of Frankenstein" was a pleasant surprise, although the Monster in this one came perilously close to resembling Herman Munster. Apart from that, and the goofy animated bat effect, a good solid film of its kind. The transformation of the skeleton into Dracula was particularly effective. And you can't beat the traveling sideshow motif.
"Ghost of Frankenstein" was essentially a short. "Son of ..." had the aforementioned pacing issues, but contained some interesting special effects and good atmosphere. The first two are, of course, the best, but I had forgotten how goofy the homunculi were in "Bride" (except for the ballet dancer). And the tedious and unfunny maid just DOMINATES the film. They should have giver her top billing.
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on May 24, 2004
1. Frankenstein (1931) - Dr. Frankenstein breathes new life into a body made of dead parts. Unfortunatly it gets an abnormal brain and begins to terrorize the countryside. The only one who can stop him is his creator. Even for a 70+ year old movie, this is how to make a classic horror movie. Contained commentary from a film historian. 10/10
2. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - The monster survived, and now is looking for companionship. Meanwhile another scientist forces Dr. Frankenstein to continue his reanimation of the dead. The monster gets to speak and suprisingly gives an emotional performance. Also has running commentary. 9.5/10
3. Son of Frankenstein (1939) - The son of Frankenstein returns to discover the monster still lives with his friend Ygor (Lugosi). When the monster begins to kill again he must find a way to stop him. 7/10
4. Ghost of Franestein (1942) - Ygor and the monster find the OTHER son of Frankenstein :-) and starts brain-switching to cure the monster. 4/10
5. House of Frakenstein (1944) - All 3 monsters appear in this movie, but Dracula get shafted early and this is mostly the wolf-man show. Has some really great acting all around. 6/10
.. All this for ~ 20$! Also has 2 documenterys (~40min each) Great buy for 5 great movies, the first 2 are classics! Plus you get to see famous parts that Mel Brooks spoffed in "Young Frankenstein".
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