Frankenstein (1973)

Article 2387 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-9-2007
Posting Date: 2-24-2008
Directed by Glenn Jordan
Featuring Robert Foxworth, Susan Strasberg, Bo Svenson

A scientist creates a giant man in his laboratory, but finds himself regretting his action when the giant man inadvertently kills one of his assistants and escapes into the world.

I’ve quite enjoyed Dan Curtis’s seventies TV forays into classic horror that I’ve seen so far; I liked both THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY . However, his attempt at Mary Shelley’s classic here falls flat. There are several reasons; the script is often clumsy and unwieldy, the acting is inconsistent, it lacks the wonderful ambiance of the other Curtis movies I’ve seen, and it’s overlong. It still might have worked had both of the central performances been strong enough , but only Bo Svenson manages to make his character of the giant (read: monster) memorable; Robert Foxworth is merely passable as the title character. As a result, the sections of the movie that deal primarily with the life of Dr. Frankenstein just aren’t very interesting; during the middle section of the movie when the giant is away learning to speak, the parts featuring the doctor mostly consist of scenes where people try to get him to talk about his experiments or wondering why he’s acting so strange, and this gets old very fast. The ending is especially weak; the endless talk about forgiveness makes me feel like I’m watching a preachy After School Special rather than a horror movie. In the end, it’s really only Svenson that makes this one work at all; he manages to imbue his character with a real childlike innocence, and it is his fate that catches our attention. One of these days I’ll probably be covering the other TV version of this story from the era, FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY.



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