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.