Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Creation of Life 101

In Mary Shelley's original novel, the description of how Frankenstein created his monster was very vague.

Which is just as well. It left filmmakers the freedom to pretty much do whatever they wanted in showing how Victor (or Henry--as he was called in the 1931 film version) made himself a monster.

Not, of course, that most film versions follow the original novel that closely anyways.

Here's the creation scenes from the 1910 silent movie and the classic 1931 Universal film. They are completely different from each other, but each is cool in its own way.

If I remember correctly, the Edison film burned a model of a human figure, then played the film backwards. (If this is incorrect, please feel free to post a comment and correct me.) The smoke pouring back into the big pot actually adds to the creepiness of the whole process.

But it was director James Whale in the 1931 film that really managed to create the iconic creation scene. Even taken out of context with the rest of the film, it's still a riveting sequence.


  1. Edison was basically the Stan Lee of his day, wasn't he? And Tesla was his Jack Kirby. Why did a practitioner of real science make such bogus movies out of fake science?

  2. I love the idea of Edison and Tesla as analogies for Stan and Jack. I think Edison was mostly interested in making money, so the content of his movies would have been a matter of indifference for him as long as people were paying their nickle apiece to see the films.


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