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History Film / Frankenstein1931

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* RuleOfSymbolism:
**The film is loaded with Christian symbolism. They're a way to contrast with the devilishness of Frankenstein; he's defying God (not to mention common decency) by digging up dead bodies under a cross. Jesus Christ himself is famous for being raised from the dead. So if Frankenstein is playing God by raising the dead, then the Jesus figure would be the monster!
**In the opening credits, the screen shows a blurry face, and then lots of open eyes spiraling around it. It's possible the eyes [[AGodAmI how Frankenstein wants to be God, and specifically, he wants to be God as all-knowing, and all-seeing.]] Or maybe they could be seen as a kind of representation of God—those floating eyes are watching Frankenstein, even as he thinks ''he's'' the one doing all the watching and seeing.
**Unlike most movie monsters, FrankensteinsMonster not only doesn't mind the sunlight, he actually rather enjoys it. A major symbolic usage is when the monster is brought into the light for the first time: The monster lifts his arms up, like he's trying to grab the light, then Frankenstein turns off the light again, and the monster looks sad and at a loss. Here the light symbolizes understanding, knowledge, love—all the human things the monster seems to want, but isn't able to get. Instead, he's relegated to darkness.
**After Frankenstein locks his fiancee Elizabeth in the room, the monster doesn't do anything to Elizabeth, he just chases her around till she faints, and then the rescuers get in the door and he runs off. But the symbolism here—an invader in the bridal chamber—is clearly meant to point to sex. The monster then can be seen as all the buried sexual instincts that Henry has pushed to one side—instincts which come back, despite his best efforts, and wreak havoc.
**Even though the monster is freaky-looking all over, his heavily lidded eyes are still pretty noteworthy for a number of reasons. According to Creator/BorisKarloff, "[They] found the eyes were too bright, seemed too understanding, when dumb bewilderment was so essential. So [he] waxed [his] eyes to make them heavy, half-seeing." So basically, the heavy eyes are supposed to symbolize, or show, that the monster is bewildered, and doesn't understand what's going on.


* RuleOfSymbolism:
** A quick you should know about the film: it's ''loaded'' with Christian imagery. [[UpToEleven There's even a Christ image over yonder—the movie opens in a graveyard.]] The Christian images are a way to contrast with the devilishness of Frankenstein; he's defying God (not to mention common decency) by digging up dead bodies under a cross. The Christian symbols show that [[EstablishingCharacterMoment Frankenstein is a blasphemous—and egomaniacal—jerk.]] This is underlined by the way Frankenstein warps Christian theology in order to make it fit with his whole mad-scientist role: "He's just resting, waiting for a new life to come!" This is what Frankenstein says of a dead body while clutching the coffin. He's planning to put himself in the place of God; he's planning on raising someone from the dead. But where the Christian imagery and allusions in Frankenstein ''really'' start to get interesting is when you realize Jesus Christ himself is famous for being raised from the dead. So if Frankenstein is playing God by raising the dead, then the Jesus figure would be ... the monster! And there's more evidence of this than just the fact that he gets resurrected. In the iconic scene where the monster reaches towards the light, he seems to be praying. And then, of course, at the end of the film, the monster is killed—he's an innocent and an outcast, but he's killed for Henry's sin of defying God.
** In the opening credits, the screen shows a blurry face, and then lots of open eyes spiraling around it. Even though the movie is about Frankenstein and the monster, the eyes can be seen as symbolic in a way. Frankenstein is very excited about the possibilities of looking and observing. He asks Waldman if he never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars, or to know what causes the trees to bud, and what changes the darkness into light? Frankenstein wants to see everything, and he wants to know everything. He wants to be God, and specifically, he wants to be God as all-knowing, and all-seeing. So the eyes there can be seen as a symbol of Frankenstein's vision and of his ambition to expand that vision. Or the eyes could be seen as a kind of representation of God—those floating eyes are watching Frankenstein (and judging him hardcore), even as he thinks ''he's'' the one doing all the watching and seeing. [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou Or maybe it could just be the audience observing him witnessing and judging everything.]]
** Usually monsters live for the night and darkness since the nighttime is full of shadows and terrors. But the monster in this movie doesn't mind the sunlight and actually rather enjoys it. Director James Whale makes a lot of use of dramatic light and dark in his black and white film. Take the scene where the monster comes to life for example: The monster is on a table which is lifted towards a hole in the roof; you see a screen of blackness, illuminated by flashes of painfully bright light. Science is pushing back the borders of the unknown—or shining into places it would be better not to look. The most symbolic use of light and dark, though, is when the monster is brought into the light for the first time. Having so far kept his creature in darkness, Frankenstein, winches open his ceiling, letting light flood down. The monster lifts his arms up, like he's trying to fly or like he's trying to grab the light. Then Frankenstein turns off the light again, and the monster looks pathetically sad and at a loss. He keeps flexing his hands like he's trying to hold the light even after it's gone. Here the light symbolizes understanding, knowledge, love—all the human things the monster seems to want, but isn't able to get. Instead, he's relegated to darkness.
** After Frankenstein locks his fiancee Elizabeth in the room, the monster doesn't do anything to Elizabeth; he just chases her around till she faints, and then the rescuers get in the door and he runs off. But the symbolism here—an invader in the bridal chamber—is clearly meant to point to sex. Remember that Henry keeps putting the marriage off (and putting it off), but the monster has no such uncertainties. He comes right in. The monster then can be seen as all the buried sexual instincts that Henry has pushed to one side—instincts which come back, despite his best efforts, and wreak havoc. There's also the symbolic suggestion that Henry and the monster are the same person. Remember, Henry locks Elizabeth in the room; he ends up helping the monster. Man and monster collaborate to trap and assault her. Henry is supposed to be a pure souled romantic hero at this point in the narrative. But the return of the monster indicates that, perhaps, he's still kind of a stinker.
** Even though the monster is freaky-looking all over, his heavily lidded eyes are still pretty noteworthy for a number of reasons. According to Creator/BorisKarloff, "[They] found the eyes were too bright, seemed too understanding, when dumb bewilderment was so essential. So [he] waxed [his] eyes to make them heavy, half-seeing." So basically, the heavy eyes are supposed to symbolize, or show, that the monster is bewildered, and doesn't understand what's going on. That's a big part of what makes the monster sympathetic; he's not responsible for what he does.

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* RuleOfSymbolism:
**A quick you should know about the film: it's ''loaded'' with Christian imagery. [[UpToEleven There's even a Christ image over yonder—the movie opens in a graveyard.]] The Christian images are a way to contrast with the devilishness of Frankenstein; he's defying God (not to mention common decency) by digging up dead bodies under a cross. The Christian symbols show that [[EstablishingCharacterMoment Frankenstein is a blasphemous—and egomaniacal—jerk.]] This is underlined by the way Frankenstein warps Christian theology in order to make it fit with his whole mad-scientist role: "He's just resting, waiting for a new life to come!" This is what Frankenstein says of a dead body while clutching the coffin. He's planning to put himself in the place of God; he's planning on raising someone from the dead. But where the Christian imagery and allusions in Frankenstein ''really'' start to get interesting is when you realize Jesus Christ himself is famous for being raised from the dead. So if Frankenstein is playing God by raising the dead, then the Jesus figure would be ... the monster! And there's more evidence of this than just the fact that he gets resurrected. In the iconic scene where the monster reaches towards the light, he seems to be praying. And then, of course, at the end of the film, the monster is killed—he's an innocent and an outcast, but he's killed for Henry's sin of defying God.
**In the opening credits, the screen shows a blurry face, and then lots of open eyes spiraling around it. Even though the movie is about Frankenstein and the monster, the eyes can be seen as symbolic in a way. Frankenstein is very excited about the possibilities of looking and observing. He asks Waldman if he never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars, or to know what causes the trees to bud, and what changes the darkness into light? Frankenstein wants to see everything, and he wants to know everything. He wants to be God, and specifically, he wants to be God as all-knowing, and all-seeing. So the eyes there can be seen as a symbol of Frankenstein's vision and of his ambition to expand that vision. Or the eyes could be seen as a kind of representation of God—those floating eyes are watching Frankenstein (and judging him hardcore), even as he thinks ''he's'' the one doing all the watching and seeing. [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou Or maybe it could just be the audience observing him witnessing and judging everything.]]
**Usually monsters live for the night and darkness since the nighttime is full of shadows and terrors. But the monster in this movie doesn't mind the sunlight and actually rather enjoys it. Director James Whale makes a lot of use of dramatic light and dark in his black and white film. Take the scene where the monster comes to life for example: The monster is on a table which is lifted towards a hole in the roof; you see a screen of blackness, illuminated by flashes of painfully bright light. Science is pushing back the borders of the unknown—or shining into places it would be better not to look. The most symbolic use of light and dark, though, is when the monster is brought into the light for the first time. Having so far kept his creature in darkness, Frankenstein, winches open his ceiling, letting light flood down. The monster lifts his arms up, like he's trying to fly or like he's trying to grab the light. Then Frankenstein turns off the light again, and the monster looks pathetically sad and at a loss. He keeps flexing his hands like he's trying to hold the light even after it's gone. Here the light symbolizes understanding, knowledge, love—all the human things the monster seems to want, but isn't able to get. Instead, he's relegated to darkness.
**After Frankenstein locks his fiancee Elizabeth in the room, the monster doesn't do anything to Elizabeth; he just chases her around till she faints, and then the rescuers get in the door and he runs off. But the symbolism here—an invader in the bridal chamber—is clearly meant to point to sex. Remember that Henry keeps putting the marriage off (and putting it off), but the monster has no such uncertainties. He comes right in. The monster then can be seen as all the buried sexual instincts that Henry has pushed to one side—instincts which come back, despite his best efforts, and wreak havoc. There's also the symbolic suggestion that Henry and the monster are the same person. Remember, Henry locks Elizabeth in the room; he ends up helping the monster. Man and monster collaborate to trap and assault her. Henry is supposed to be a pure souled romantic hero at this point in the narrative. But the return of the monster indicates that, perhaps, he's still kind of a stinker.
**Even though the monster is freaky-looking all over, his heavily lidded eyes are still pretty noteworthy for a number of reasons. According to Creator/BorisKarloff, "[They] found the eyes were too bright, seemed too understanding, when dumb bewilderment was so essential. So [he] waxed [his] eyes to make them heavy, half-seeing." So basically, the heavy eyes are supposed to symbolize, or show, that the monster is bewildered, and doesn't understand what's going on. That's a big part of what makes the monster sympathetic; he's not responsible for what he does.

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* AdaptationalNiceGuy: As stated above, the doctor is a lot nicer in the movie than he is in the book.


* FlatCharacter: Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth is not only the usual Hollywood heroine who accompanies the lead, she's basically a SatelliteLoveInterest, as she spends the entire film talking about how much she wants to get married, taking a break only to faint when the monster comes after her. If she ever thinks of anything other than Henry, you don't get to hear about it.

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* FlatCharacter: FlatCharacter:
**
Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth is not only the usual Hollywood heroine who accompanies the lead, she's basically a SatelliteLoveInterest, as she spends the entire film talking about how much she wants to get married, taking a break only to faint when the monster comes after her. If she ever thinks of anything other than Henry, you don't get to hear about it.
** His close friend Victor Moritz isn't too far behind in the department. In a previous version of the film, he was the backup protagonist, and he would stay with Elizabeth and look after her as Henry ran off to fight the monster and gets killed. But during the final version, Victor doesn't have to take care of Elizabeth, since Henry's still around. As a result, Victor's role seems completely pointless and he never does anything of value.

Added DiffLines:

* FlatCharacter: Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth is not only the usual Hollywood heroine who accompanies the lead, she's basically a SatelliteLoveInterest, as she spends the entire film talking about how much she wants to get married, taking a break only to faint when the monster comes after her. If she ever thinks of anything other than Henry, you don't get to hear about it.


* FamousLastWords: "No, you're hurting me! No!" Spoken by Little Maria when the Monster throws her into the lake, mistaking her for a flower petal.

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* FamousLastWords: "No, you're hurting me! No!" Spoken by Little Maria when the Monster throws her into the lake, mistaking her for a flower petal. To his horror, she doesn't float like the petals did.

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* FamousLastWords: "No, you're hurting me! No!" Spoken by Little Maria when the Monster throws her into the lake, mistaking her for a flower petal.


* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Frankenstein claims that his big scientific breakthrough came when he discovered a form of radiation higher in the spectrum than "the ultraviolet ray", thus proving that ultraviolet was not "the highest color in the spectrum". "Ultraviolet" is neither a color nor a specific type of ray--it's an umbrella term for all forms of radiation that are of too high a frequency to be visible (i.e. "higher than violet", since violet is the highest visible frequency of light). A form of radiation "higher than ultraviolet" is a contradiction in terms.

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* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Frankenstein claims that his big scientific breakthrough came when he discovered a form of radiation higher in the spectrum than "the ultraviolet ray", thus proving that ultraviolet was not "the highest color in the spectrum". "Ultraviolet" There are "rays" higher than ultraviolet, but the "great ray" of which Frankenstein speaks so highly is neither a color nor a the X-ray, known for its deleterious effects on organic matter (also, UV and X-ray are broad bands, not specific type of ray--it's an umbrella term for all forms of radiation that are of too high a frequency to be visible (i.e. "higher than violet", since violet is the highest visible frequency of light). A form of radiation "higher than ultraviolet" is a contradiction in terms.frequencies).


* AdaptationalDumbass: The Creature gets hit with this '''hard'''. In the book, he reads ''Literature/ParadiseLost'', speaks fluent French, carries guns and frames someone for murder. Here, he's a blundering, mindless brute.

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* AdaptationalDumbass: The Creature gets hit with this '''hard'''. In the book, he reads ''Literature/ParadiseLost'', speaks fluent French, carries guns and frames [[spoiler:frames someone for murder.murder]]. Here, he's a blundering, mindless brute.



* AdaptationalNonsapience: The creature goes from being intelligent enough to learn how to read and speak on his own, as well as [[spoiler:framing someone for murder]] in the book, to almost completely mindless brute, which also makes him a more sympathetic (not to mention believable) character.

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* AdaptationalNonsapience: The creature goes from being intelligent enough to learn how to read and speak on his own, as well as [[spoiler:framing someone for murder]] in the book, to an almost completely mindless brute, which also makes him a more sympathetic (not to mention believable) character.

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* BigBad: The creature's ObliviouslyEvil rampage drives the conflict.


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* KickTheDog: Fritz whipping the creature and then tormenting him with fire for no reason. This leads to the creature killing him and going on setting off his entire rampage.


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* ProtagonistTitle: ''Frankenstein''.


** The Creature also gets this. In the book, he committed his murders for revenge and was fully aware of his actions and their immorality. Here, his violence is either self-defence or AndICallHimGeorge.

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** The Creature also gets this. In the book, he committed his murders for revenge and was fully aware of his actions and their immorality. Here, his violence is either self-defence or AndICallHimGeorge.AndCallHimGeorge.

Added DiffLines:

* AdaptationalDumbass: The Creature gets hit with this '''hard'''. In the book, he reads ''Literature/ParadiseLost'', speaks fluent French, carries guns and frames someone for murder. Here, he's a blundering, mindless brute.


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** The Creature also gets this. In the book, he committed his murders for revenge and was fully aware of his actions and their immorality. Here, his violence is either self-defence or AndICallHimGeorge.

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*GutFeeling: Elizabeth has strong premonitions about incoming trouble on her wedding day... right before the Monster breaks into her room.


* InNameOnly: Has almost nothing to do with Mary Shelley's novel aside from the main characters, some basic sequences, like the creature attacking Elizabeth on the night of their wedding (but he does not kill her), and the basic idea of a man made of corpses being brought to life. This is in part due to the fact the film is based upon a later stage play adaptation.

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* InNameOnly: Has almost nothing to do with Mary Shelley's novel aside from the main characters, characters' names, some basic sequences, like the creature attacking Elizabeth on the night of their wedding (but he does not kill her), and the basic idea of a man made of corpses being brought to life. This is in part due to the fact the film is based upon a later stage play adaptation.

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