Frankenstein: Book Vs. Movie

1185 Words5 Pages
Cinematic Contrast In any movie based on a book, there are significant differences between the text and the film. James Whale’s film Frankenstein from 1931 is no exception. Almost all plots and details must be altered in some way when a book is made into a movie, due to many obvious factors. Whale made several effective changes to the story that made the movie successful, as well as making the transition from book to movie more seamless and flowing. Some of the changes were to the characters’ relationships, and others were to the setting. However the most significant differences between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the 1931 movie from James Whale is found in Frankenstein’s monster. The changes Whale made to the story, specifically those to Frankenstein’s monster, adequately changed the book into cinema material. One of the most famous scenes in the 1931 version of Frankenstein is the scene in which Frankenstein harnesses the power of the lighting to bring his creation to life. In the novel, Frankenstein does so in complete solitude, with no help or anyone observing him. In the movie, however, Frankenstein is not only aided by his hunchback assistant Fritz, but is also accompanied by his fiancée, his friend, and his former professor. Whale most likely took this direction for artistic and effective reasons, because the scene is clearly more exciting in the film than it is in the book. If one were to watch the movie prior to reading the book, this scene would only be described as anticlimactic in the novel. “By the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs” (Shelley 35). This action in addition to Frankenstein’s internal response to his creation is the climax of the scene, so needless to say there is much more excitement in the film version. Whale made
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