January 16, 2009

Son of Frankenstein Turns 70

Boris Karloff poses with visitors — an inscription on the back of the photo identifies them as “Family Friends, The Browns” — on the set of Son of Frankenstein, Karloff’s third and final appearance as The Monster. The film was released 70 years ago this week, on January 13, 1939.

The photograph, which surfaced recently at a Heritage auction, gives us a good look at the special reclining chair used by Karloff. With a short seat, footboard and arms rests, the device allowed the actor to relax between takes despite his stiff, bulky costume.

Note the huge Monster boots and the unusual pants laced up the sides. Missing here is the caveman-style sheep’s wool vest that Karloff wore in this picture. He was no doubt glad to be temporarily rid of what he called “furs and muck”.


Anonymous said...

Not a perfect movie; but one wonderful in wistfulness...

Karloff's swansong in his greatest role; one of Bela's best turns ever; evocative music; striking design and photography...

And alas, pretty much as Boris feared, the UniMonster's last time out as a sympathetic, haunting character, rather than just a brutish, threatening one.

-Craig W.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

I watched this movie for the first time last week (I watched all the Frankensteins on the Univeral Legacy collected box for first time last month) - it was much better than I expected. I loved the set design, Lugosi made a great villain and Rathbone was a surprisingly sympathetic Frankenstein. Karloff's monster is almost the worst thing about the movie and he's quite good. Unfortunately, by the third time out the creature is no longer a novelty and is becoming less scary.

(What's the worst thing about the movie? The mop top Frankenstein kid. I cringed every time he started talking.)

Prof. Grewbeard said...

what an awesome photo! that's all!