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The Curse of Frankenstein

The Curse of Frankenstein(1957)


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Before the opening credits the following written prologue appears: "More than a hundred years ago, in a mountain village in Switzerland, lived a man whose strange experiments with the dead have since become legend. The legend is still told with horror the world over...It is the Legend of...." The title card then appears in gothic script: "The Curse of Frankenstein." Christopher Lee's opening credit reads: "and Christopher Lee as The Monster." The order of opening and end cast credits vary slightly.
       There are discrepancies between the onscreen credits and the list of credits in the Variety review. Although the onscreen credits show Andrew Leigh as the "Burgomeister," the Variety lists Hugh Dempster in that role. For the role of the "Uncle," the onscreen credits show Raymond Ray and the Variety, J. Trevor Davis. The Variety review also has a credit for Henry Caine as "Schoolmaster." Although the onscreen credits list no "Schoolmaster," they do include a role called "Lecturer," which is credited to Middleton Woods. Although Variety lists Leonard Salzedo as providing music for the film, no other source includes him and his contribution to the film, if any, has not been determined.
       The Curse of Frankenstein, which was shot entirely in England, marked the first collaboration of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and is considered by many film scholars to be one of the most significant horror movies ever made. According to the Variety review, "The emphasis [of the film] lies not so much on the uncontrollable blood lust of the created monster as on the gruesome, distasteful clinical details whereby the crazy scientist accumulates the odd organs." The Hollywood Reporter review also noted Baron Frankenstein's collecting of body parts, which were "lovingly and clearly photographed" in the film. Several reviews noted that the gore was shown in Eastman Colour (which was erroneously listed as Technicolor in the Los Angeles Times review and WarnerColor in the copyright statement and Hollywood Reporter review). The Variety review stated that "this is the first time the subject has been depicted in color...all the grim trappings are more vividly impressive." The Hollywood Reporter review stated, "Blood is very red in a color film." Despite the horrific and gruesome scenes, the monster is never seen killing anyone.
       The Los Angeles Examiner review reported that Warner Bros., which had a production deal with Hammer, called the film's midnight-through-dawn series of premieres a "Horror-Thon" and that printed warnings in the form of legal notices were published in newspapers "admonishing those of faint come at their own risk." However, according to a modern source, many lurid scenes were cut for Western audiences and the unedited version was released only in Japan.
       Mary Shelley's 1818 classic has been the source for numerous films as early as the Edison Mfg. Corp.'s 1910 Frankenstein, which was directed by J. Searle Dawley (see AFI Catalog. Film Beginnings, 1893-1910). For information on other films based on Shelley's novel, see the entry for the 1931 Universal production Frankenstein in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40.