Thursday, 15 October 2009

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (1958)

I first saw this film circa 1961. I was fifteen years old and I'd never seen Boris Karloff in a horror film. FRANKENSTEIN 1970 turned up on a one day only show at one of our local cinemas and I had arranged to meet some friends for the show (the support feature was William Castle's MACABRE) when my mother decided she wanted to see the film! Horror! How could a fifteen year old kid go to the cinema with his mother when his friends were going to be there? Deviously I decided we'd go to the matinee and avoid my friends. Of course I had completely forgotten that as we left the cinema we would walk past the queue for the next show - and all my friends!

Anyway, enough of my moment of shame, and on to the film. Howard W.Koch had directed a couple of good movies early in his career, SHIELD FOR MURDER and BIG HOUSE USA , and he would later go on to produce the AIRPLANE comedies. There is certainly nothing wrong with his work on FRANKENSTEIN 1970 and he gets the best from a not too bright script. The film is particularly well shot ( ) and the newly released DVD print handsomely brings out the crisp quality of the black and white photography and the castle interiors (presumably left overs from a bigger budgeted production, are impressive. The supporting cast are all competent with Don "Red" Barry hanging up his stetson to play the insensitive film director who has the bright idea of making a film at the real-life Castle Frankenstein where the current Victor von Frankenstein, his mind unhinged by his experience under the nazis, is continuing the experiments of his notorious ancestor. Karloff, complete with scar and crewcut, walks (or limps) away with the film and shines in every scene - the early sequence where Karloff delivers to camera a monologue about the Frankenstein legend. Not a great film by any means, not even a very good one, but for Karloff fans and vintage horror fans generally it is an interesting one. Rating ***
This film has been released as part of a box set of four Karloff/Lugosi movies. To read what friend Cerpts had to say about the film and its four companions CLICK THIS LINK.


Cerpts said...

Is it my imagination or is the deliciously read Karloff line "We've got to get you some eyes" seen in the famous movie trailer (NOT included on this DVD strangely) not used in the actual film. It seems to me that the same line Karloff says in the actual film is said much less fruitily. What a shame. The trailer for the film included on this dvd is one I've actually never seen before. The trailer I'm familiar with and have seen umpteen times can be found on one of the Monster Club's FESTIVAL OF FRIGHT DVD trailer collections, I believe.

Weaverman said...

I thought that line was in it - the game is a foot, Watson. We must investigate! Thank goodness Karloff never appeared with Johnny Weissmuller. New nipples?

Cerpts said...

Weissmuller could've benefitted however Karloff probably would've added an extra third nipple.

Yes, the line itself IS actually in the film however the line reading is apparently from a different take than the one used in the movie trailer (again WHY that trailer is not included on the actual DVD is beyond me). The line reading Karloff gives in the movie trailer is savored and delivered with over-the-top fiendish glee which the movie sorely needs; that's why I was disappointed to hear an apparently more subdued take of Karloff's line reading in the actual film.