Arrow Video has recently released Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on Blu-Ray. It seemed a good opportunity to check it out and give it a review.
I remember seeing the movie years ago and not being all the enamored with it. Additionally, the reviews I’ve seen of it have been less than enthusiastic. I have to say that I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the film. It’s a much better movie than I remember.
Sure, there are some slow parts, but once the creature is alive, the movie gets down right crazy and frightening. I like how in some ways this is a lot closer to the book than other versions. Now, I’m not saying it’s a faithful adaptation. I’m just saying it’s much closer in many ways.
The cast is so good. I have heard that Robert De Niro seems to be underutilized in the role of the creature. Certainly, he’s not the De Niro you are used to, but I think he does a great job of capturing the various sides to the character.
I should add a little bit of a personal note about another actor in the movie. Aidan Quinn plays the sea captain, and I kept thinking that he looked familiar, but couldn’t figure out who he was. To me that’s a real tribute to his acting ability because when I was in high school i was good friends with Aidan’s brother Robert, and in hanging out with him, I also hung out with Aidan quite a bit. I’ve not seen him since he started acting, but the fact that I believed him as a role he was playing even though I knew him in my real life as just Robert’s older brother says a lot, I think.
Back to the movie, though, my suggestion is this. Don’t go into this expecting a thrill ride from start to finish. And, don’t expect to see a remake of other movie versions of the book. Just go in with few expectations and let the movie reveal itself to you. It’s an imaginative and intriguing version of the story we all know so well.
This edition includes the usual bonuses you expect, audio commentary, interviews and such. Those are all fine. For me the best bonus on the disc, though, is a restored version of the original 1910 Edison silent film of Frankenstein. It’s far from a perfect print. It was not properly preserved, and time has had its way. But it’s a great historical document and I found it quite interesting. It all adds up to a release that I really enjoyed a lot. Gary Hill