Frankenstein: The True Story, 1973 - ★★★½

Frankenstein: The True Story, 1973 - ★★★½


“Are you satisfied now, have you not punished me enough for giving you life?” - Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting)

Lavish, star studded 3 hour version of Mary Shelley's classic horror story, that was originally made for the American NBC network. Promising young doctor Victor Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting) is driven to despair after the untimely death of his brother William. He chance meets an unorthodox ill surgeon named Dr. Henri Clerval (David McCallum), whose secretly dedicated his life's work to reversing death, in the hope he can use the process on himself before he dies. With early success reanimating animals and single human organs, the two doctors press ahead in creating a man from body parts. But tragedy befalls Henri who passes away before completing his work. Victor, though sad at the loss of his friend, still sees it as an opportunity to secure an ideal brain for their creation. And he pushes ahead breathing life into the dead body. Only is Victors work a soulless creation doomed to a life alone, or can it learn to feel human.

Jack Smight's 'Frankenstein: The True Story' is undeniably one of the better filmed versions of the classic ripping yarn. The scripts thought provoking, with lots of scientific ethics vs religious ideals thrown in, and really pushes the question is keeping something alive really giving it life. Theres even a bit of an homo-erotic feel to it all, when Victor is bonding with his creation. The actings above par all round. Leonard Whiting & David McCallum both in fine form as the mad scientists, and James Mason as the doctor hellbent on stealing their experiments as his own. And Michael Sarrazin was terrific giving a more human take of the Frankenstein monster. Jane Seymour turns up as the blind mans daughter, gaining the attentions of both the creature and Victor. Theres even a few brief comical moments from TV stalwarts Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) as an old wench landlady and Tom Baker (Doctor Who) as the ships drunken captain.

I watched the full 3 hour version in 2 sittings, because the DVD is still in 2 parts like it was originally intended to air. Sadly after capturing my interest early, it got progressively more pantomime feeling during its 2nd act. And stated to bore me long before its drawn out climax. Maybe the 2 hour theatrical version is a more rewarding viewing experience in that respect.

[Personal Reasons For Remembering]

The two steampunk-esque resurrection segments rocked it, featuring Victor wearing a funky superhero mask. Just wish we got to see-more of Seymours bride.

Originally taken from Letterboxd

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