This is the first in a new feature here on my blog. Long-time followers already know that I do a lot of reading. I also, however, check out lots of DVDs through my local library – some are feature films, some are complete seasons of current or vintage television shows. Like my #amreading series, the #amwatching series will consist of short posts with my impressions of what I watched. I promise to make every effort to assure that they are spoiler-free.

First up is the classic 1931 version of Frankenstein. I was inspired to seek out this DVD several weeks ago when I read a book commemorating the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication. Much of the material in that book also circled back to the 1931 film version. When going through the library’s on-line card catalog, I was fortunate to find a DVD set with all eight of Universal Studios films featuring Frankenstein’s monster. I am several films into it right now and will be trying to catch up on posts over the next several days.

It’s been many, many years since I’ve seen this version of the movie, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it without commercials. I was amazed to find it had a running time of less than 70 minutes. In fact, out of the first 6 movies in this set, only one has a running time longer that 75 minutes. The short length of the film requires the story to run at a very fast pace.

A lot of times we tend to think of films from the black and white era as being lesser works. For any technical shortcomings it might have, there’s a lot that Frankenstein does well. Boris Karloff gives a performance as the monster that none of his successors ever lived up to.

As I work my way through posts about the other films in this collection, I’ll try to include some comparisons between the various films such as the look of the monster, etc. I’ve already noticed changes that occurred as the series progressed. I don’t have an account yet where I rate movies on-line, but if I did, this iconic version of the Frankenstein story would have five stars.





photo credit: papanooms DVDs via photopin (license)