September 5, 2011

“No, it’s pronounced “Fronkensteen”

Filed under: Sci-Fi —— will @ 11:21 pm

The story of Frankenstein is one that has been told over and over again in film.  Whether the story is given a serious spin or taken on as a comedy, it always proves to be a story that Hollywood is willing to tell on screen.  The only problem with that is Hollywood does not always stay true to its source material.  While most cinematic versions keep the framework intact, the more minor scenes are either removed or given a spectacular approach that does not happen in the book.  For me, no scene is a more obvious example of the latter than the creation of the monster.  I could have misread the scene in the book and if I have, please correct me, but in the book the creation scene is a minor detail at best.  Victor gathers his “instruments of life”, does some work, and boom! his creation comes to life. He is at first amazed, then disgusted, and runs away. This is a far different version than what we often see in the film versions of this story.  In film versions of Frankenstein, the creation scene is always much grander.  We see Victor in a well-stocked laboratory surrounded by all sorts of electrical nodes and other instruments.  There is always a great storm occurring outside since in the film versions, Victor always uses lightning to re-animate the monster.  The lightning always strikes at the right time and boom! the monster is created while Victor usually stares maniacally at his work.  He does not flee or become disgusted with the monster and, correct me if I’m wrong, he never flees. It has been a long time since I have seen the film, but I remember the monster having to escape Victor, not just vanishing as Victor avoids going home.  How this minor scene in the book took on such a grand importance in the film version is anyone’s guess but I will go out on a limb and venture my own guess.  I would think that the producers knew how powerful this scene could be if it was given a larger platform.  It would be a scene that would create a buzz for the movie and have people coming to see the film in droves.  People would talk about it and convince others to see it just for that scene alone.  It seems to have worked since I will admit that when I hear Frankenstein I tend to automatically go to that scene in my head.  It has become, at least for me, one of, if not the, signature scene with Frankenstein.  I could of course be wrong about all this and maybe they made the scene longer to fill time so they could have an 80 minute movie.  Whatever the reason, we definitely do not get Victor clenching his fists and screaming into the air “It’s Alive!” in the book version but I believe most of us think about that scene when we hear “Frankenstein”.

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