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A Comparison Of Film Techniques Of Two Film Versions Of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2871 words - 11 pages

A Comparison of Film Techniques of Two Film Versions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Mary Shelley wrote her novel 'Frankenstein' when she was just a young
girl of nineteen. She wrote it in 1816, when she went on holiday with
her friend, Byron. Byron was already a famous poet, and it was him who
suggested that whilst they were away, they should both write a ghost
story. At the time it was just a way of passing time and having fun
for Mary Shelley, but little did she know that her story would become
famous worldwide. Many adaptations of 'Frankenstein' have been made
for cinema in the 20th century. Two of the most significant being
those studied in this assignment.

A man named James Whale directed the film 'Frankenstein' which was
released in 1931. He was a British born director with a history of
working in theatre, and this is probably the reason as to why his film
imitates the stage in places.

It was filmed at Universal Pictures, which was a very powerful
Hollywood studio. The film opened on 4 November 1931 at the Mayfair
Theatre in New York's Times Square and it caused an immediate
sensation. It was voted one of the films of the year by the New York
Times and earned Universal Pictures $12 million. The production cost
only $262,000, thus made it even more successful than 'Dracula'. In
1931, when this film was released, Hollywood was in its formative
years, but at this time it was considered to be going through a
'golden age' when everything was new and very impressive. At the end
of the 1920's Universal Pictures was still a small studio, but
nevertheless it had managed to build up a reputation as the sole
creator of the horror film genre. Low budget productions like 'The
Hunch Back of Notre Dame' and 'Dracula' had established it as a
leading studio. In 1930 French-born director Robert Florey was hired
by Universal Studios to make the new horror film 'Frankenstein' but he
did not satisfy producer Carl Laemmle Jr, and so Director James Whale
was hired to replace Florey. Whale, an acclaimed Director, chose 44
year old Boris Karloff as the monster and together with make-up
specialist Jack Pierce they created the most influential horror image
of all times. Boris Karloff's career was launched by the huge success
of this film. However, many changes had been made in Whale's version
from the original novel.

In contrast with this, 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' was released in
1994, sixty three years after James Whale's version, and unlike his
version, it followed very strictly Mary Shelley's original plot.
Kenneth Branagh, who also starred in the film as Dr. Frankenstein,
directed the film. Branagh is also a British born Director, with a
distinguished career in theatre, both as an actor and a director.

Branagh is also famously known for adapting Shakespeare's plays into

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