The eight millimeter digest version of Frankenstein removes all but three main characters. Colin Clive gets the most time, though loses all subplots and character, with Boris Karloff probably coming in second. It’s odd to watch Frankenstein and have the monster make so little impression but it’s clearly possible.
Dwight Frye, for a while, makes the greatest impact, but only because he’s present in most the background of the establishing scenes.
The digest also retains the drowned girl (her name), though she’s barely there too. It’s strange to see what the editors thought was the most resonate, but the little girl’s drowning does lead to the manhunt, which does feed the finish. I guess it makes sense.
The little edits are bad. Reaction shots are cut, the film’s just generally sped up. Frankenstein loses top much personality when s drastically cut.
Even the fiery windmill sequence suffers in this abbreviation.
Directed by James Whale; screenplay by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Ford, based on an adaptation by John L. Balderston of a play by Peggy Webling and a novel by Mary Shelley; directors of photography, Arthur Edeson and Paul Ivano; edited by Clarence Kolster; music by Bernhard Kaun; produced by Carl Laemmle Jr.; released by Castle Films.
Starring Colin Clive (Dr. Henry Frankenstein), Boris Karloff (The Monster), Dwight Frye (Fritz), Lionel Belmore (Herr Vogel) and Marilyn Harris (Little Maria).
- Dracula (1931, Tod Browning), the digest version
- The Vampire Bat (1933, Frank R. Strayer)
- Sinners in Paradise (1938, James Whale)
- Isle of the Dead (1945, Mark Robson)
- Die, Monster, Die! (1965, Daniel Haller)