In this re-telling of the classic horror tale, Baron Victor Frankenstein becomes friends with one of his teachers, Paul Krempe. At first, both men are fascinated by the potential of their re-animating experiments. Eventual... more »ly, though, Krempe refuses to help with Frankenstien's human experiments. However, he is drawn back into the plot when Frankenstein's creature kills a member of the house staff. DVD Features:
"Shot in colour and released in 1957, "The Curse of Frankenstein" is, of course, the film that made Hammer Films a household name for horror/thriller movie fans all over the world. To fully appreciate the importance and impact of "Curse", you have to look at it in the context of the time when it was made. By the mid-fifties, horror films had long passed their peak in Hollywood--certainly in terms of quality. Black and white "quickies", with almost no budget, were being churned out for teenagers to watch at the drive-in ( at least, those who were watching the screen ! ) Shlock-masters like Roger Corman and Bert Gordon were turning out "masterpieces" like "The Wasp Woman" and "The Amazing Colossal Man".
Suddenly, we have a small studio in England, making a horror film with excellent production values, gorgeously creepy sets, fine costumes, professional actors and a talented director, Terence Fisher. At the same time, along with a classy look, you add liberal amounts of gore ( certainly by 1950s standards ), and a couple of voluptuous "damsels in distress" who can scream lustily when they encounter the monster. It was a winning formula that Hammer would raise to an art form.
Peter Cushing plays Baron Von Frankenstein, and his terrific performance dominates the film. His character goes through quite a transformation from curious scientist to an obsessive fiend, determined to "create life" at, literally, any cost. His mentor/friend Paul Krempe ( Robert Urquhart )is an enthusiastic assistant at first, but soon becomes alienated by the Baron's frantic and ultimately murderous behaviour. Sometimes body parts are easily available--sometimes you have to be "creative" in obtaining them !
Of course, this flesh and blood "jigsaw puzzle" comes to life in the form of a hideous, pathetic creature played by Christopher Lee, who soon breaks loose, displaying no appreciation whatsoever for being "born" ! As I mentioned earlier, two beautiful women "round out" the cast. Gorgeous Hazel Court is Elizabeth, the Baron's betrothed, and Valerie Gaunt is Justine the maid. Justine is, as they say in England, the Baron's "bit on the side"--when she threatens to spill all the Baron's secrets unless he marries her, you just know that her future is "cloudy".
"Curse" may not be Hammer's best film, but it put the studio on the map and started an enduring partnership of two very fine actors--Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
The DVD exhibits good colour, with occasional haziness and mono sound. The extras are sparse--a few notes on other Hammer films, and a trailer. I would have loved some comments from Mr. Lee--sadly Peter Cushing passed away some time ago.
Still, if you like classic horror films, "Curse" has to be in your collection--its importance cannot be over-estimated. Recommended.
A very sad footnote, dated 30 April 2008. Ms. Hazel Court has passed away at age 82. She was most famous for her roles in horror/suspense films produced by the Hammer Studios and also Roger Corman. A talented actress, she always brought glamour and a touch of class to any production she was involved in."
This Curse is a Blessing
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 09/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've got to thank Warner Bros. for finally coming out with "The Curse of Frankenstein" on DVD. And where as I was a bit suspect of the quality of the film element used for the "Horror of Dracula" DVD released on the same date as "Curse", I have no complaints at all about the quality of this film's presentation by Warner.It is beautiful. And apparently Warner used a very fine quality source print for this release. The colors are lovely, and the widescreen presentation is satisfying. As a great admirer of Hammer films, it is exciting to finally see this beautifully photographed film as it was seen on the big screen in 1958.The story is much closer to Mary Shelley's original novel, though the creature, here played by Christopher Lee, is much like the one portrayed by Karloff; large, horrifying to look at, and almost an "idiot" in intellectual capacity, but somehow tugging at our sympathies. But he is more frightening to behold in this film, with his ghastly white complexion, and bizarre, searching eyes. As the film progresses, he becomes even harder to behold as he is ravaged by the terrifying encounters that make up his sad, short existence.And Peter Cushing is astonishing in his portrayal of Baron Victor Frankenstein. He is a single-minded, driven scientist. Both brilliant intellectually, and uncompromising in vision. And yet, he is also not exactly evil, though his actions are, as is seen clearly by the murdering of his one-time lover and maid, Justine, as you see both determination and regret reflected in his expressions, while he listens to her screams.It's easy to see why, when viewing both "Horror of Dracula" and "Curse of Frankenstein", these two films made Cushing and Lee international stars and horror icons. Both films have come to represent all that made Hammer Sudios great in their glory days, with lavish period sets, beautiful color photography, and music scores that rivalled bigger budget Hollywood films.The DVD itself holds no extras of worthwhile mention. The facts presented in the small section called "The Making of a Monster" are nothing that any entry level Hammer film follower would not know already. It's a shame that Christopher Lee couldn't be encouraged into doing a commentary, or a short interview on the film's history and its influence on modern horror. That may not be Warner Bros. fault, as we all know, Lee has been very busy of late on the big screen, and keeps very busy off of screen.Both "Curse of Frankenstein" and "The Horror of Dracula" DVDs are a must for Hammer film lovers. Hopefully, if sales are good, Warner will release the other Hammer films they hold license to, such as "Taste the Blood of Dracula" and "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave"."
Mr. Murdoch | Somewhere out there... | 08/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The classic Hammer Studio's first major foray into the horror genre remains one of its best. Long unavailable, 'The Curse of Frankenstein' features two great performances from Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Cushing creates a sinister but understandable Doctor and Lee gives new dimension to (what had become) a tired role in the Universal canon. Lee today still has a tremendous mind and memory, and has been doing some of his best work (in the recent 'Lord of the Rings'). 'Curse' was followed soon after by 'Horror of Dracula' (now released simultaneously on DVD). For an introduction to Hammer's stylistics and genre makeover, you can't start much better than these two films. (Though do check out Anchor Bay's recent years' releases)"
Frankenstein in glorious technicolour for the first time!
www.DavidLRattigan.com | United Kingdom | 07/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Curse of Frankenstein was the first of the many gothic horrors for which the Hammer Studios became renowned, and it remains one of the best.Fisher's seminal film contains all the sophistication, irony and terror that made the Hammer Frankenstein series so successful and memorable. Peter Cushing plays the villianous Baron magnificently, and Christopher Lee presents us with an original and sympathetic portrayal of the creature. Production design is stunning, especially some of the lush matte paintings, and veteran James Bernard supplies one of his best scores."
W. Russell | Camarillo, CA USA | 10/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I will watch any movie with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. It is even better when that movie happens to be a horror classic. The Curse of Frankenstein happens to fall into that category. This is the movie that launched Hammer films association with the classic Universal monsters. Though at this time, they were not allowed to copy the monster look from the Universal film. They re-scripted the Frankenstein story so that more closely resembles the Mary Shelley novel. Cushing plays Dr. Victor Frankenstein with Lee cast as the monster. The movie has the trademark Hammer gothic look and was directed by Terrence Fisher.The picture quality of the DVD is superb. The picture is presented in widescreen format. The colors are bright with no signs of scratches or dirt as far as I could tell. You would never know this movie is over 45 years old. The sound is presented in its original mono track. Voices come through loud and clear. There are very few extras. There is a film trailer and a still gallery with film facts called "The Making of a Monster". It would be nice to have Lee record a commentary at some point. Hammer went on to produce 6 more Frankenstein films, with Peter Cushing in the title role of 5 of them. The Curse of Frankenstein should be the cornerstone of any good classic horror or Hammer DVD library."