Frankenstein: The True Story

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by wayneklein, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    The 1973 TV mini-series has finally arrived on a lovely loving Blu-ray from Shout. The film receives a lovely looking transfer. Colors are robust, detail is since along with depth. It’s from an inter-positive as I recall as the original negative burned in the universal fire. A little bit of speckling, some minor damage at a few points and in the original aspect ratio.

    This,is the full 182 minute version.

    ‘nice extra include a commentary track, the original prologue with James Mason (and a very fake looking headstone for Mary Shelley—she wasn’t buried at the cemetery that it was shot at), a trio of extensive interviews with Leonard Whitting, Jane Seymour and co-writer Don Bachardy that, when taken together un about over 60 minutes. A nice bit rate as well. For those who were also hoping for the theatrical version, it isn’t here.
    A pity that none of the outtakes exist (why would they save them in 1973?) as, reportedly, the prologue with each member playing Mary Shelly, Byron, Polidori, Percy Shelly may have been short (in an echo and tribute to The Bride of Frankenstein) may have been shot but discarded.
     
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  2. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Always thought there was some nice salutes to both the classic Universal horror films by Whale and the Hammer films by Fischer.
     
  3. JohnBeas

    JohnBeas Forum Resident

    I remember seeing this when it first aired on TV and found it very scary (I was 10). The scene where the severed arm is crawling around by itself stuck with me. I bought the DVD when it was released but I may have to buy the blu-ray for the extras.
     
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  4. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Nice extras. Don Bachardy seems to have suffered a stroke or something that has impacted his voice and ability to speak (or perhaps it's something else). Jane Seymour still looks terrific. Leonard Whiting doesn't look bad for his age. A pity they couldn't get the other surviving cast members involved (McCallum, Paget). Nevertheless, Shout has done a marvelous job on this release. It's a huge step up from the previous Blu (a pity that the original negative doesn't exist any longer) with a very nice 2K remaster. The series is presented in full (the theatrical version is not included which, reportedly, may have had some alternate shots--it's pretty awful as excising one hour from the project crippled the film). It's presented with the recaps at the beginning as well. Such a stellar job!
     
  5. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    There's a great discussion about some of the gay subtext in the themes of Isherwood and Bachardy's script. Bachardy points out that, after the preview, he hasn't seen it since and was disappoined how it turned out compared to his and Isherwood's original script. I'm not sure who made some of the script changes (it might have been hands-on producer Hunt Stromberg or even director Jack Smight or some other uncredited writer, the actors, etc.).

    We learn that Francis Ford Coppola wanted to make this and their dream director was John Boorman. Actors that were wooed for the film (when it was still planned as a theatrical films) included Julie Christie, Jon Voight, Paul Scoffield, Marlon Brando. Christie almost did it and Voight was offered both the role of the monster and Dr. Frankenstein. They also hated the title because, frankly as Bachardy pointed out, it wasn't a "true" adaption of Shelly's novel. Their original title was "Dr Frankenstein".
     
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  6. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Location:
    Britain, Europe
    This is my favourite Frankenstein film, although it’s hardly more true to Mary Shelley’s novel than any other version.

    I remember when this was first shown on British television. Tom Baker was originally cast as the creature but then the producers decided they wanted the creature to start handsome and turn ‘ugly’ (makes for better drama). So, Michael Sarazzin was cast and Tom got the consolation prize of the ship’s captain. Of course, by the time it was shown in Britain, he’d just become famous as Doctor Who, so it was strange to see him turning up in a minor supporting role.

    I think this was Leonard Whiting’s last major film role.

    Nicola Pagett had a period of mental illness in the 90s from which she may, or may not have recovered. Nothing’s been heard from her for a long time.
     
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  7. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    I first remembered Baker from Nicholas and Alexandra as Rasputin which I saw with my parents in theaters. He scared the crap out of me. Then, of,course, I saw The Golden voyage of Sinbad” and then “Frankenstein: The True Story”. After that, in 1974 or 5 they started broadcasting Doctor Who on our TV station. I always pegged him for bigger stardom because he’s a terrific actor. I also watched “F:TTS” when it was rebroadcast and put it all together.
     
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  8. Partyslammer

    Partyslammer Forum Resident

    I got this from Shout a couple weeks ago (they often ship pre-orders a few weeks before street date).

    I'm a big fan of this movie down to having not just the old vhs tape of the theatrical cut, but the DVD, the Japanese Blu-ray that was released a couple years ago and even the original paperback novelization.

    As mentioned, it is a big upgrade over the dvd as well as the dodgy looking Japanese Blu-ray. I will say it's not perfect - there's some black crush in some scenes and the image overall looks a bit too contrast boosted. But scenes like Prima/Agatha's "birth" with the colorful lava lamp-esque visuals look wonderful. The pre-film intro with Mason always looked like it was shot on video, not so here. The only caveat is while the theatrical cut isn't missed, it would have been nice to have the few added/extended gore and violence scenes included as either extras or seemlessly branched as a "special edition." Ironically, the included theatrical trailer includes the extended shot of Agatha being run over and killed by the carriage.
     
  9. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    I also noticed some of the day for night scenes the timing was off as well but it’s a marked improvement.


    I've never seen the theatrical cut how does it compare?
     
  10. Rocker

    Rocker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The director, Jack Smight, is probably not a recognized name among casual movie fans, but his filmography includes a number of different genres and even a minor classic or two. He dabbled in crime dramas (Harper), disaster flicks (Airport 1975), war films (Midway), post-apocalyptic films (Damnation Alley), gothic horror (Frankenstein: The True Story), and even remakes of classics (Double Indemnity).
     
  11. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Oh.. I was like “ you mean he’s real?”
    :)
     
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  12. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry?

    Here is a fairly nice copy on YouTube.

     
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  13. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry?

    Here is part two.

     
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  14. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    I remember from then too. Was t a two parter?
     
  15. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Location:
    Britain, Europe
    Have a feeling it was the edited single part version. The two parter was shown on tv in the early 80s.
     
  16. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Location:
    Britain, Europe
    I saw his tv film version of Double Indemnity before I saw the original.
     
  17. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    Thanks. I remember liking it a lot and Frankenstein films generally don't do anything for me (except for Karloff one and two)
     
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  18. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Location:
    Britain, Europe
    I’m currently re-watching F:TTS courtesy of the links posted above.

    I don’t feel it’s a weakness of the film, but the Creature in this version is far too good-looking. Even when he starts to deteriorate and gives Agnes Moorhead a fatal heart attack, Michael Sarazzin still looks like a Playgirl centrefolder who hasn’t bothered to do any grooming that day. :)

    Even at the end of the film, the Creature’s still better looking than about 85 per cent of the people you’d walk past late at night in your nearest city centre.
     
  19. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry?

    What amazes me is that David McCallum could play that same part today and probably do just as well. He has been a wonderful actor for so very long.
     
  20. hyntsonsvmse

    hyntsonsvmse Johnny Guitar

    Location:
    northumberland
    I watched this on release and really enjoyed it. I may get this on bluray
     
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  21. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Keep in mind though that folks that might have looked like that would mostly have communicable diseases. I think Moorhead’s character probably was horrified as much of getting a disease as anything else but, yeah, they should have made him even more gruesome. It was Isherwood’s idea to go in a different direction although it had been done before in Revenge of Frankenstein. Social mores and the poor were also treated quite differently back in that time as well and there was the fear of disease by the upper class.
     
  22. hyntsonsvmse

    hyntsonsvmse Johnny Guitar

    Location:
    northumberland
    Do you remember the invisible man series he made in the 70s.i was sorry it got cancelled.
     
  23. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    I enjoyed it. Ironically, they tried to reboot it as The Gemini Man with Ben Murphy. Same producer, same creative team.
     
  24. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    The Blu ray looks extremely good. I have some minor issues with the day for night scenes in a couple of spots.
     
  25. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    What? It's on Blu-Ray now? I just got the DVD about two years ago! Thought it was a grab-it-now-because-later-it's gone thing. I really like the miniseries - strange that they call it "the true story" when there are so many serious liberties taken with the novel, but I must say the differences are intriguing. The whole situation where the monster looks beautiful at first, then falls into decay is brilliant.
     

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