(Review originally written at 17 September 2006)

After this Hammer would continue making 6 more Frankenstein movies, almost all with Peter Cushing in the main lead as the baron. This version is more loyal to the Mary Shelley novel than any other Hammer movie.

Of course this movie is not nearly as good as the other earlier movie versions of Frankenstein. This movie is mostly lacking emotional depth and the movie is clearly made merely to entertain. And the movie serves its purpose. Although it makes far from a lasting impression. it's a movie with some good and memorable moments nevertheless. It makes "The Curse of Frankenstein" a pretty interesting take on the Mary Shelley novel, with still some of the key novel elements present but for most part this movie is a very free interpretation of the famous novel, that takes lots of liberties.

The movie at point might be perhaps a bit too slow and the movie lacks some true scares or suspenseful moments. This is mainly because the movie underused the creature. The creature gets very little to do and unlike other Frankenstein movies, this movie mostly focuses only on Baron Frankenstein. The baron is not yet a fully developed character in this movie. Throughout the movie he and his motivations change which makes it for the viewer perhaps a bit hard to follow the movie and care about the character. Also Peter Cushing isn't at his best yet in his role as the baron. It seems like he was still searching for the right way to portray the characters. Luckily he got it right in the other Hammer studio's Frankenstein movies.

Still this movie is a bit of a historical classic for several reasons. One of them is that I believe(?) that this was Peter Cushing's first appearance in an Hammer film and it's the fist teaming up of Cushing and Lee in an horror film. Much more, some successful, other not so but yet always fun and entertaining to watch, would follow in the years after.

Like mentioned earlier. Christopher Lee doesn't really get enough screen time. He enters the movie perhaps a bit too late and he doesn't get lots of interesting to do. Also his strange white make-up is far from convincing. I remember in one scene you could also see his neck as well, where clearly no make-up was attached to. It makes this movie perhaps a bit like a B-monster movie but still the movie is uplifted mainly by Peter Cushing's presence. Even though he isn't at 'full strength' as baron Frankenstein, he still puts down a believable obsessed and brilliant doctor, who goes too far. Also Robert Urquhart is quite good and likable in his role.

The movie is at times a bit too simple and features a bit too many ridicules scene's and moments to consider this a classic. It's not halve as good or memorable as the earlier Universal studio's Frankenstein movies but still this movie has plenty of good and entertainment to offer. It's also an original take and attempt and it deserves credit for not trying to be better than the earlier Frankenstein movies but choices to be simple and therefor more entertaining instead. A must-see for the Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee/Hammer studios/Frankenstein fans but also everyone else should be able to enjoy watching this.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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