Like Dracula, I’ve seen this movie countless times. Boris Karloff still shines as the monster, but this latest viewing gave me a new appreciation for Jack Pierce’s makeup work. Even in the harsh daylight scenes blown up to 4k, it looks seamless. I always forget how those daylight scenes open up the picture. The lack of echo during the mountain chase finale betrays the soundstage artifice, but the genuine outdoor scenes are fantastic.
Watching this with Dracula fresh in mind, Edward Van Sloan might as well be playing Van Helsing. Imagine that: Van Helsing, mentor of Frankenstein. It warms my heart.
And as for the doctor, I’ve always found him a tragic character. Fate conspires against him in such a cruel manner, I can’t help but root for him, which blunts the story’s edge. I never read the lesson as, “Man shouldn’t play God,” but rather, “Never send a clumsy assistant to do a delicate job.”