Review: Frankenstein – The True Story


Frankenstein The True Story is a British/American made for TV film from 1973, loosely based on the novel by Mary Shelley. The film is filled with a star studded cast including, Jane Seymour, Leonard Whiting, David McCallum and Clarissa Kaye-Mason.

The DVD comes in two parts, both weighing in around the 90 minute mark. My recommendation would be to watch as two separate films and not as one epic 3 hour special, even for the most patient cinema goer it's a long time to sit through in one marathon, especially when the content remains consistent throughout.

The plot sees Victor Frankenstein training as a doctor, after his younger brother William dies, Victor yearns for one day being able to restore Williams life. He leaves for London to train in anatomy where he soon becomes acquainted with a scientist named Henry, a scientist that has took it upon himself to learn how to preserve and reanimate dead matter. Frankenstein becomes fascinated and although his morals at first stall him, he soon finds himself working alongside Henry to create a contraption that with the power of the sun, can bring the dead to life.

After a local accident leaves several men dead, the two take it upon themselves to dig up the bodies and create the perfect human. Due to Henry's heart condition, a shocking sight from one of his reanimated body parts causes him to have what seems like a heart attack, leaving Victor to take over the experiment solo. Victor, using his friends brain (Henry) carries on with the controversial experiment and manages to bring life to a dead corpse. Unlike other recreations of Mary Shelley's tale this sees the reanimated corpse starting off a charming man, accepted into a high-class London society whereas other classic adaptations of course start the beast as being a vile creature, that lurks in the shadows.

Victor soon realises that his creation isn't quite as perfect as he seems, slowly degenerating into the very beast that we see so many times in other adaptations. The first film if you like is centred mainly around the creation of the creature, its slow paced but does literally end of a cliff hanger.

The second part to the film sees the creature starting a new life and Victor has gone back to his wife to try and forget the dreadful events of his recent past. The creature seeks shelter with a blind man, who obviously cannot judge the creature on his now deteriorated state. The blind man tries to introduce his new friend to his grandchildren Felix and Agatha. The creature hides, in fear that the two will flee in fear and see just how horrific his body has become. They both decide to surprise their grandfather one day and to try and catch a glimpse of his so-called friend. The beast reacts in the only way he knows and attacks Felix and Agatha, Agatha makes a run for it in the woods and out on to a local road where she meets her fate in the form of a horse drawn cart. The creature is devastated and takes her dead body back to where he was first created, to try his best to find someone to bring her back to life.

The second instalment has a quick flowing pace and a very interesting take on the original tale, there is a very dark tone throughout and the ending is as 'cold' as it could possibly get.

You will see a true Hammer Horror feel through both of the films, its dramatic and at times very suspenseful.

Overall it's a refreshing spin on a classic tale, it has an authentic setting, with a star filled cast and at a time where women were proper and men were gentlemen, trashy cinema this is not. If you have already checked out most of what Hammer has to offer than add this DVD to your collection, it will have its place.

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