Frankenstein Film Analysis

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In 1910, the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s iconic novella was released. A third of its 12-minute runtime was taken up by the creation of the titular character’s monster, conjured up in a fiery vat, smoke and sparks protruding. The scene, perceived as bold, brilliant and epic in scope during that era, marked the way for a salient focus on the terror of the monster created, the opportune moments for bombastic presentations of a character intended by Shelley to be wholly subtle and tragic. Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 critically-panned adaptation is comparatively immense in its portrayal of a creation scene that barely takes up a page in the novella; its score, not unlike the 1910 version, denotes epicosity, a fabricated grandiose style that…show more content…
As James Heffernan phrases it, 'Beyond exposing such sights to the viewer’s eye, film versions of Frankenstein implicitly remind us that filmmaking itself is a Frankensteinian exercise in artificial reproduction. ' footcite{James Heffernan, 'Looking at the Monster: 'Frankenstein ' and Film ' pp.139} To elaborate, the very act of adapting Frankenstein mirrors the monster’s creation when considering the reanimation of the dead, in this case the ‘dead’ being Shelley’s novel. As Frankenstein’s monster lurches to life, created from a conglomeration of lifeless, assorted objects, so too does each adaptation, where these elements consist of actors’ understanding of their roles, the various interpretations and misinterpretations of Frankenstein 's monster, budgetary constraints and directors’ artistic influence, and, importantly, ‘the generation of new visual iterations of what the “monstrous” entails.’footcite{Caroline Picart, 'Visualising the Monstrous in Frankenstein Films ', pp. 17} In fact, as a byproduct of these surmounting iterations, this patchwork of elements only becomes bulkier and less associated with its supposed source material. While James Whale’s extit{Frankenstein} (1931) draws its visuals and plotting from Shelley’s novel and novel only, recent interpretations of Frankenstein 's monster…show more content…
Some critics purport that these differentiations ‘become the raison d’etre of a Frankenstein film and the source of its own distinct pleasure.’ footcite{Albert J. Lavalley, 'The Endurance of Frankenstein ', pp. 245} Certainly, these variations can be considered a welcome sight, an unshackling from the constraints that Shelley’s novel lays bare. And while this act of allowing Shelley’s text to be influenced by personal fantasies and creative thought has the disservice of betraying the creature’s intricacies, they enable each adaptation to reflect the novel’s themes in context and relevance to the period in which the film is made, such as the idea of prevailing fear, alluded to with apprehension toward technology in extit{The Bride of Frankenstein} (1935), for example. In turn, this act facilitates our understanding of each period’s cultural relation to Frankenstein, and may potentially be indicative of many of the obtrusive differences between the portrayal of Frankenstein 's monster in novel and
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