THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)
Article #637 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-12-2002
Posting Date: 5-7-2003
Baron Frankenstein escapes the guillotine, and continues his experiments in another village under the name of Dr. Stein.
When I hear discussions on which of the Hammer Frankenstein movies are the best, this is one that is often mentioned. Watching it this time, I could see why; I think it’s a marked improvement over the initial entry in the series. For one thing, it’s a lot less obvious; there’s not one mention in the movie about Frankenstein playing God, and his assistant makes no attempt to be the doctor’s conscience. I find this makes the movie more interesting; one can concentrate on what the doctor is trying to do and how things go wrong without endless moralizing. There are wonderful touches here and there; one of my favorites involves a moment when the doctor decides not to place a flower in his buttonhole, a seemingly inconsequential moment which nonetheless catches your attention and puts you slightly on edge during the following scenes. It’s certainly one of my favorite Hammer horror movies, with an excellent and confident performance by Peter Cushing. It’s not perfect; a fight scene in the laboratory seems contrived because the movie fails to pre-establish the character of the janitor, thus leaving the viewer with the sense that the fight merely exists to push forward a plot point rather than being a natural outgrowth of the previous action. Nonetheless, this was definitely a worthy entry to the series.
I’ve seen the first three films in this series, and I liked this one is the best. I couldn’t finish Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Victor became “too” evil and lost all my sympathy.
I wrote a short essay on The Revenge of Frankenstein called “How to Create a Doctor Shortage.” The film mirrors the historical reality at the time. I am open to any constructive feedback. You can read it here: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/the-revenge-of-frankenstein/