Rich Film, a Whale of a Tale!
Scotman | Mt. Shasta, CA | 11/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting film that won the Academy Awards back in 1998. James Whale was a director known best for his horror pictures such as Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. We look at a fictional gardener and how he interacts with Whale and how Clay (played by Brendan Fraser) deals with his own inner demons.
The film plays best when it deals with Whale's World War I experiences and a few scenes where he is creating Bride of Frankenstein. Especially touching is the party he goes to and drags his gardener along. The actors who portray Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester were nearly the spitting image (though I imagined Karloff as taller than that).
The film is really about Whale's homosexuality and in the Fifties America this is a taboo subject. The naked young guys and the nude Fraser may be hard for some to bear (and easier for others I assume).
I was hoping for more of a docu-drama and less of a concentration on Whale's sexual orientation (of which 75% of the film seems to be) and wanting more horror movie-making.
McKellen plays the role straight and Fraser's emotional range as an actor are pushed to the limit. Loneliness, memories and compassion with wry sarcasm played well by the housekeeper Lyn Redgrave. Great to see.
The DVD also has a "making of" with the cast interviews, commentary, language subtitles and trailer.
And just as in the early Universal films, the end credits say "a great cast is worth repeating". Little chestnuts like that were fun.
Here's the original book:
Father of Frankenstein