Saturday, 21 February 2009

Frankenstein - German Expressionism Review


Directed by James Whale

Released in 1931, James Whale's Frankenstein has all of the key elements of a German Expressionist inspired film. The film follows the story of Dr Frankenstein, a scientist who is obsessed with creating a living being from human body parts. He eventually succeeds by creating a man and subjecting the body to an electric current. His successful experiment eventually turns into a dangerous situation as the monster escapes and tragedies begin to occur. The film is a horror classic which has inspired many films since, from its style to the monster that Frankenstein has created.

The films follows the German Expressionist key themes very closely - for example the main character is a mad, obsessive scientist which is a key character trait in German Expressionist films. Although he is the main character, Frankenstein is the anti-hero as his actions throughout the film all have negative results. Another key influence of German Expressionism that can be seen in the film is the architecture of Frankenstein's castle. The castle has sharp angles in the interior, with a spiral staircase leading up to his laboratory. Also, shadows play an important part in the film, particularly concerning the monster. The monster is revealed slowly by walking out of a shadow, to build up tension and fear upon his revelation.

Overall, this film is a good example of German Expressionist cinema and a classic cult horror film. It clearly demonstrates key elements and themes of both genres very well, and has had a great influence on modern films today.

1 comment:

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