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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by James Whale
USA 1931

 

Still regarded as the definitive film version of Mary Shelley's classic tale of tragedy and horror, Frankenstein made... unknown character actor Boris Karloff a star and created a new icon of terror. Along with the highly successful Dracula, released earlier the same year, it launched Universal Studio's golden age of 1930s horror movies. The film's greatness stems less from its script than from the stark but moody atmosphere created by director James Whale; Herman Rosse's memorable set designs, particularly the fantastic watchtower laboratory, featuring electrical equipment designed by Kenneth Strickfaden; the creature's trademark look from makeup artist Jack Pierce, who required Karloff to don pounds of makeup and heavy asphalt shoes to create the monster's unique lurching gait; and Karloff's nuanced performance as the tormented and bewildered creature. Frankenstein was greeted with screams, moans, and fainting spells upon its initial release, obliging Universal to add a disclaimer in which Edward Van Sloan advises the faint of heart to leave the theater immediately. If they don't: "Well...we've warned you."

***

A stark, solid, impressively stylish film, overshadowed (a little unfairly) by the later explosion of Whale's wit in the delirious Bride of Frankenstein. Karloff gives one of the great performances of all time as the monster whose mutation from candour to chill savagery is mirrored only through his limpid eyes. The film's great imaginative coup is to show the monster 'growing up' in all too human terms. First he is the innocent baby, reaching up to grasp the sunlight that filters through the skylight. Then the joyous child, playing at throwing flowers into the lake with a little girl whom he delightedly imagines to be another flower. And finally, as he finds himself progressively misjudged by the society that created him, the savage killer as whom he has been typecast. The film is unique in Whale's work in that the horror is played absolutely straight, and it has a weird fairytale beauty not matched until Cocteau made La Belle et la Bκte.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 19th, 1931

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Review: Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Only sold presently as part of Universal Classic Monsters 4K UHD: Icons of Horror Collection with Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and The Invisible Man:

  

     

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 1:10:11.832         
Video

1.33:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 66,135,161,552 bytes

Feature: 52,648,863,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 89.64 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1847 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1847 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Italian 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Universal

 

1.33:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 66,135,161,552 bytes

Feature: 52,648,863,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 89.64 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
• Commentary by Christopher Frayling
• The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster (44:53)

• Karloff: The Gentle Monster (37:58)
• Universal Horror documentary (1:35:26)

• Frankenstein Archives (9:24)
• Boo! - short film (9:30)
• 100 Years Universal

• Monster Tracks

 

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

• Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
• Commentary by Christopher Frayling
• The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster (44:53)
• Karloff: The Gentle Monster (37:58)
• Monster Tracks
• Universal Horror documentary (1:35:26)
• Frankenstein Archives (9:24)
• Boo! - short film (9:30)
• Trailer Gallery
• 100 Years Universal
My Scenes


4K Ultra HD Release Date: October 5th, 2021
Custom
4K Ultra HD Case

Chapters 16

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Universal 4K UHD (October 2021): Universal's have released four of their Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection classics; Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and The Invisible Man to 4K UHD. At present they are not available individually but only in this set. We anticipate a similar package with The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Then, I suspect they will be sold individually. These will be the oldest films I have yet seen that have been rendered to this format. I had doubts realizing that you can't improve significantly on sharpness with films of this age, but the 3840 X 2160 scanned image takes on other immeasurably strong characteristics. The two things I notice that advance upon the 2012 Blu-ray are the contrast and grain support. The 4K UHD has more 2.5 X the bitrate. Both are very appealing to the overall viewing experience. While the visuals may seem darker - and they are with more pronounced with piercing black levels, the white parts of the image are also brighter than BD. This contrast layering gives the perception of a sharper image but it is instead infused with abundant, rich, grain. This notably enhances the Frankenstein monster's scars, pale face, and the torches of the villagers in the conclusion. The lab, mansion etc. all look superior. Overall, despite my reservations on how much this could improve over BD, the 4K UHD presentation is gorgeous and allows a new, more impressive, viewing of this classic in your home theater. Tremendous.      

NOTE: This package has eight discs - four 4K UHD and the four original 2012 Blu-rays as evidenced by the M2TS dates:

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 42 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: Deep Red (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Misery (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Silence of the Lambs (software uniformly simulated HDR), John Carpenter's "The Thing" (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Cat' o'Nine Tails (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (software uniformly simulated HDR), Perdita Durango (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Django (software uniformly simulated HDR) Fanny Lye Deliver'd (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, (NO HDR applied to disc),  Rollerball (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR), Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR) Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsining (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Universal offer the same English-language track encode (24-bit) - a DTS-HD Master dual-mono as found on their 2012 Blu-ray reviewed HERE. It is very effective and remains highly supportive in the lossless even with the limitations of the era it was produced. What is added are a four foreign language DUBs (French, German, Spanish and Italian.) There is no credit score in Frankenstein but sparsely utilized music by Bernhard Kaun (Internes Can't Take Money, The Story of Temple Drake, Dangerous, Doctor X) with Giuseppe Becce's Grand Appassionato as the end title and cast music. The zapping sounds of electricity, the monster's clunking boots, villagers celebration and crackling fire of the burning old mill are all exported flawlessly by the lossless transfer. Universal add optional English and many subtitle options on the Region FREE 4K UHD disc with still only English and Spanish on their included Region FREE Blu-ray from 2012.

There are extras on the 4K UHD disc - all the important, same ones as found on the 2012 Blu-ray, included in the package. Many of these supplements mirror most of the, now ancient, Legacy DVD edition with the excellent twin commentaries - the first by Rudy Behlmer and the second by Christopher Frayling. You couldn't ask for a more through education of the film, production, performers, the influence of Lang's Metropolis, discussion of the return of the line "I know what it feels like to be God!" removed from many theatrical releases right up to the 60's, The Spirit of the Beehive connection to little Maria, make-up resembling Paul Wegener in The Golem etc. The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster is the David J. Skal 2004 documentary that runs 45-minutes and has input from Behlmer, Bill Condon, Boris Karloff's daughter Sara, Gregory W. Mank and others. Karloff: The Gentle Monster was made in 2006 by Constantine Nasr it has film historians, and producer Richard Gordon, talking about the horror movie career of cult star. It runs about 40-minutes. Monster Tracks has the optional trivia pop onto the screen as the film runs - a nice addition. The 'Universal Horror' is the 1998 documentary by Kevin Brownlow narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It runs over 1.5 hours and gives a full overview of the early years of the Universal horror films. Frankenstein Archives are a 10-minute slide show of the posters and stills. Boo! - is a 1932 Universal comedy short (9:30) centering on a wisecracking narrator who mocks footage featuring Frankenstein's monster and Count Dracula. Lastly, is one of the 100 Years Universal pieces. The Blu-ray disc is My Scenes capable.

NOTE: The packaging is not ideal - duplicating the Hitchcock Classic Collection 4K UHD set released in 2020. A thick book-style where you, uncomfortably, slide the discs out of a tight cardboard sleeve - encouraging marks, fingerprints etc. - and many fans will, no doubt, be displeased.

Universal's
4K UHD release of James Whale's Frankenstein is a remarkable update over the 9-year old Blu-ray. This iconic pre-Code, science fiction, horror film, based on Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, spawned numerous sequels including The Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, The House of Frankenstein, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection 4K UHD release amounts to a must-own for new adopters. I'm so pleased to say it exceeded my expectations. Yes, even 90-year old films can improve demonstratively in this 3840 X 2160 resolution. Our highest recommendation!   

Gary Tooze

 


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1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

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1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


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2) Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

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1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Only sold presently as part of Universal Classic Monsters 4K UHD: Icons of Horror Collection with Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and The Invisible Man:

  

     

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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