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Frankenstein 1970 (1958)
Topic Started: Jul 8 2017, 10:35 AM (146 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Frankenstein 1970 (1958) Dir. Howard W. Koch
An Allied Artists release in CinemaScope
83 min. / B&W / 2.35:1
On DVD from Warner Bros. as part of the "Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics" collection

ITB Strange Science Cinema #133
ITB Shock Theatre #207

For the 230th anniversary of the birth of the house of Frankenstein, an American TV crew heads to the family castle in Germany, lorded over by the excessively cranky last Baron Frankenstein. The cranky Baron only agrees to allow the cast and crew in because he needs the money to finish his nuclear reactor, which is building a Frankenstein Monster 2.0, and since they're all there, well, the cranky Baron happens to also need a pair of eyes, a brain, and a few other odds 'n' ends his visitors can supply.

This is one film that I saw and liked very much as a kid but haven't revisited because I suspected it was actually terrible, and let me just say this: apparently, I'm smarter than I look. This thing's genuinely awful, for some reason. Must be the script, because we've got a nice set (rented from Warner Bros., it was an Errol Flynn leftover), a good cast (even Don "Red" Barry is pretty good in this, mostly because the star is WAY crankier than HE is), and an opening sequence that'll knock your goosebumps off: a deranged, hunchbacked, claw-handed Frankenstein monster chases a pretty blonde into a swamp and DROWNS her, only it's the "movie within a movie" that director Mr. "Red" Barry is making, which would've probably been way better than the film Mr. Koch made, but I'm getting ahead of myself, here.

As for Boris, well, I love the guy and can only assume that not only is his character cranky but so was he over being in such drudge; he's as unpleasant as he's ever been in a film, even his gangster pictures. His backstory was that he was tortured by Nazis but refused to give up the family secrets of life and death, and so... and so... well, whatever. All you need to know is that he limps, has a big scar down his face, a droopy eye (that seems to come and go from shot to shot), and a bad attitude. He also has a tendency to hypnotize people and put them to sleep before he kills them, which is at least an attempt to be humane, I guess. He also has - and no, I'm not kidding - an airplane toilet in his laboratory, which he uses to flush spare body parts down the drain. I kid you not, my friend.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Old Family Friend: "You're a true Frankenstein, Victor. Always complaining."

Dr. Baron Frankenstein, dictating scientific notes into his recorder as he works: "I am now starting up the atomic steam generator!"

Frankenstein also plays the organ, hits on the film's young star (ewww), and keeps a headshot of Boris Karloff circa 1940 on his lab shelf. When he finally gets 'round to making his monster, well... it "looks like a mummy with a garbage can on its head" - Michael J. Weldon, Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film.

Real disappointed with this one. The Warner DVD offering is fine, and comes with a trailer and commentary that includes one of the actresses in the film remembering how nice Boris was to work with, but how much the rest of the crew spoke ill of the turkey they were making when they were off-set.

Also on the Program

For the kiddies, a trio of Paramount cartoons, including La Petite Parade, with a little French dude complaining to the government because a garbage truck dropped its load in front of his house (and this may not sound good, but it's actually one of the best Paramounts of its time); Sir Irving and Jeames, a cartoon about two dogs, a haughty rich guy and his hapless servant (and this one stunk); and the weird beyond measure The Oily Bird, featuring an Inchworm that looked like pink poop fighting a hawk that had teeth, hands, but no wings.

Then it was on to the penultimate episode of Panther Girl of the Kongo (they didn't get blowed up last week, as it turns out, they ducked behind a very flimsy table as the home exploded in a 15-megaton fireball, but this week Myron apparently drowned) and the coming attractions for next week's two-million-dollar double feature, which is being presented as a Friday Night Drive-in Movie Special: It! The Terror from Beyond Space and The Curse of the Faceless Man. Wow-de-wow-wow-WOW!
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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I remember I didnít like it, but not exactly why, which leads me to think I just found it stupid.

Maltin says a "bomb", Halliwell "boringly talkative" (apart from a "rather frightening pre-credits sequence" which I can't remember at all...do I need to revisit that?)

Anyway...I detect an opinion trend line.
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