James Whale (1931)

PG Certificate


Our Score
"It's alive!" Shocking in its day and still a genuinely creepy experience, director James Whale's primitive yet enthralling interpretation of Mary Shelley's classic tale of man playing God is the most influential genre movie ever made. Its success kick-started the golden age of horror for Universal Studios and provided inspiration for scores of imitators and successors. Boris Karloff breathes miraculous life into his definitive monster portrayal: the most touching moment is the creature reaching up to grasp a ray of sunlight. A superb cast, imaginative set design and Whale's innovative direction using bizarre camera angles invoke a remarkably tense and melancholy atmosphere, while the creation scene itself is a masterpiece of gothic science gone mad. The 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein is arguably even better and provided fertile material for Mel Brooks's sublime 1974 spoof.


A misguided scientist creates a monster by piecing together parts from dead bodies. The cruel treatment of the doctor's hunchbacked assistant drives the creature wild and he escapes to wander bewildered into the outside world, where his unwitting acts of destruction inspire the hatred of an angry mob. James Whale's classic horror, starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive.

Cast & Crew

Henry Frankenstein Colin Clive
Elizabeth Mae Clarke
Victor Moritz John Boles
The Monster Boris Karloff
Dr Waldman Edward Van Sloan
Baron Frankenstein Frederick Kerr
Fritz Dwight Frye
Burgomaster Lionel Belmore
Little Maria Marilyn Harris
Ludwig, peasant father Michael Mark
Bridesmaid Arletta Duncan
Bridesmaid Pauline Moore
Villager Francis Ford
Director James Whale
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray