Frankenstein or Modern Science?
This was culled from a review by Tim Dirks. The transcript is very accurate as I know it by heart,almost.
The most compelling thing about the Frankenstein tale is the forecast of the human condition. This easily could be the scientists working on Cloning, Genetic Experimentation, Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Etc...
But for now, more Halloween Haunts. If you never have seen the movie, give it a try. For 1931 the effects are haunting and the story as immortal as the Creature itself.
Get a bowl of popcorn,your favorite beverage, a fire in the fireplace. Lock the doors and draw the drapes. Turn the lights down and ......
Well I warned you......
The next scene opens with a close-up of a framed picture of Henry Frankenstein with a flickering candle burning closeby. A maid announces a family friend visitor: "Herr Victor Moritz," followed by a close-up of Victor Moritz' (John Boles) face. Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) greets him in the wood-paneled, high-vaulted, Victorian style parlor of the Frankenstein manor. She is concerned, worried, and uncertain about Henry, and wondering if he is emotionally disturbed. Anxious about her marital partner, she explains how Henry's most recent letter, the first she has had in four months, makes no sense. He has shut himself off from the outside world, working to the limits of his endurance with his experiments in an isolated, abandoned watchtower that serves as a laboratory. The mysterious letter reads:
You must have faith in me, Elizabeth. Wait, my work must come first, even before you. At night the winds howl in the mountains. There is no one here. Prying eyes can't peer into my secret...I am living in an abandoned old watchtower close to the town of Goldstadt. Only my assistant is here to help me with my experiments.
She explains that Henry told her about his strange experiments at a significant time - just before they became engaged and he retreated to his mountain laboratory away from her:
The very day we announced our engagement, he told me of his experiments. He said he was on the verge of a discovery so terrific that he doubted his own sanity. There was a strange look in his eyes, some mystery. His words carried me right away. Of course I've never doubted him but still I worry. I can't help it.
Victor saw Henry three weeks earlier, when he was walking alone in the woods, and was told that no one was allowed to visit him in his laboratory: "His manner was very strange." He suggests going to see Dr. Waldman, Henry's former professor and paternalistic mentor in medical school. Victor also reveals that he is a rival lover with affectionate interest in Henry's future bride:
Victor: Perhaps he can tell me more about all this.
Elizabeth: Oh Victor, you're a dear.
Victor: You know I'd go to the ends of the earth for you.
Elizabeth: I shouldn't like that. I'm far too fond of you.
Victor: I wish you were!
Elizabeth: (she turns away) Victor.
Victor: I'm sorry.
With Elizabeth's insistence to join him, they leave the comfortable, secure surroundings of the living room area, and go together to discuss their concerns with Dr. Waldman. The scene at Waldman's office at the College, already in progress, shows a row of skulls positioned on one of the shelves of his bookcases. On his desk is a row of test tubes and another grinning skull. Surrounded by symbols of death, Waldman is also troubled by their news: "Herr Frankenstein is a most brilliant young man, yet so erratic he troubles me." Frankenstein's research in "chemical galvanism and electro-biology were far in advance of our theories here at the University" and had reached dangerously advanced stages. His experiments to recreate human life, and his demands for corpses "were becoming dangerous":
Waldman: Herr Frankenstein is greatly changed.
Victor: You mean changed as a result of his work?
Waldman: Yes, his work, his insane ambition to create life.
Elizabeth: How? How? Please tell us everything, whatever it is.
Waldman: The bodies we use in our dissecting room for lecture purposes were not perfect enough for his experiments, he said. He wished us to supply him with other bodies and we were not to be too particular as to where and how we got them. I told him that his demands were unreasonable. And so he left the University to work unhampered. He found what he needed elsewhere.
Victor: Oh! The bodies of animals. Well, what are the lives of a few rabbits and dogs?
Waldman: (leaning forward ominously) You do not quite get what I mean. Herr Frankenstein was interested only in human life - first to destroy it, then recreate it. There you have his mad dream.