Category Archives: Films Released in 1957
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN-United Kingdom-1957
Directed by Terence Fisher
Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster
Based on the novel by Mary Shelley
Although it was not their first movie together; that would be Lawrence Olivier‘s “Hamlet” in 1948, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee begin with “The Curse of Frankenstein” what would be a pairing that is yet to be matched in the horror genre. Cushing is Victor Frankenstein; a man obsessed with the creation of human life and who will stop at nothing to achieve that goal. Lee is his hideous creation, a creature so foul that the faint of heart would be very wise not to see this film.
Well, maybe I should say the faint of heart in the year 1957, the time of the film’s release. Hammer Films retelling of the Frankenstein could actually be considered quite a gory affair for its day. One scene in particular has blood pouring from the creature’s eye as he shot by rifle at close range. Even more shocking than the gore is Cushing’s portrayal of Victor Frankenstein. Colin Clive’s rendition in the 1931 “Frankenstein” was one that elicited sympathy for his character as he was torn by his desire to create life and his guilt over his monstrous achievement. Here, Cushing portrays Victor as uncaring, lecherous and capable of cold-blooded murder. The creature is merely a hideous reflection of his creator.
This is literally my first time seeing “The Curse of Frankenstein.” It is a film that for one reason or another has eluded me for all these years. I found it to be an incredible addition to the Frankenstein saga and was more than pleased at the pairing of Lee and Cushing in the key roles. Each actor brings strength to their role that comes from years of honing their craft to the level of masters. If you’re looking for an old fashioned film to watch late at night with the lights out and a bowl of popcorn on your lap then you need look no further than “The Curse of Frankenstein.”
For many years this held the distinction of being the most profitable film to be produced in England by a British studio.
The idea originated with Milton Subotsky, who went on to co-found Amicus Films, Hammer’s main rival during the 1960s and early 1970s. The script was revised several times to avoid repeating any elements from the Universal Frankenstein series. As part of this effort, new monster make-up had to be devised especially for this film.
The original concept for this film was a black-and-white feature with Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Universal threatened a lawsuit if Hammer copied any elements from the classic Universal version. Hammer had Jimmy Sangster completely redo the script and had Jack Asher shoot it in Eastmancolour.
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