Directed by James Whale
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff
Release Date: November 21, 1931
Frankenstein 1931 is one of the first American movie adaptions of the classic monster novel by Mary Shelley. It has been famous for coming on a century now, and is one of the first true horror flicks, making the genre a major force in the industry and with the public. It also really helped to craft the icon of Frankenstein in the media and in culture. Today, it survives with both DVD and blu-ray adaptations, and you can find many other products such as an original or replica movie poster of the film.
First, it's important to remember that Frankenstein 1931 is based on the 1920 Peggy Webling play, which was based on the original Mary Shelley novel. Therefore, there are numerous differences between the movie and the actual book, and the two stories don't exactly intermesh very finely. Still, it's the classic story at work, and this movie itself is what helped to launch the sensation that is Frankenstein more than anything else.
The movie is directed by James Whale, and the monster is played by Boris Karloff. Henry Frankenstein is played by Colin Clave, his assistant is played by Dwight Frye, and his fiancé is played by Mae Clarke. Frankenstein is obsessed with building a human body together from multiple sources and reenergizing it back to life with electricity. He puts aside all of his other work and relationships and devotes his life to this mission, worrying fiancé Elizabeth and friend Victor Moritz.
The monster is created with the brain of a criminal, and therefore is inclined to terrible deeds and behaviors. However, at first it's peaceful, but frightens easily, which is mistaken for an attack. He is then chained up in a dungeon and antagonized, until he eventually kills Frankenstein's assistant Fritz and then escapes.
They are able to sedate him and bring him back before he eventually escapes again, and accidentally drowns a small girl. Knowing this was a mistake, the monster gets on the run, and eventually tries to seek out Frankenstein to kill him. Frankenstein narrowly survives his encounter with the monster, and the villagers trap and burn him, destroying the creature once and for all.
If you're looking for the original American movie that spawned the icon, then pick up a DVD or blu-ray copy of Frankenstein 1931. You'll also love the huge collection of movie poster art and other memorabilia from the original monster movie.