most faithful Frankenstein adaptation ?
I'm trying to find the most faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley's great novel, but one that also works cinematically.
The old Whale and Universal version, based on a Broadway adaption rather than on the novel, is too camp for me, and the I don't like the way the monster is depicted. The one thing that always fascinated me about the monster, is that in the original novel it was intelligent and capable of thought and emotions, but loneliness drove it to cruelty and violence. That element is gone here. And the fight near the northpole, which I also consider a highlight. I know the films from Universal are very affectionately regarded as the real ones, but they do nothing for me.
I haven't seen the Hammer version, starring Lee and Cushing, but given the way they handled Dracula, I don't think i'd like it much. Great actors, good atmosphere, but too rushed and without the depth the stories deserve.
I haven't seen the 1977 "Victor Frankenstein", with the swedish actor Per Oscarson as the monster, but I have read that it's quite loyal to the novel, but cheapish, dull and boring to watch. So loalty doesn't do it alone.
I really liked Clancy Brown as the monster, in "The Bride" opposite Sting's doctor. The film had little to do with Shelley's, but it had a soul. Brown was the heart of the film, and although his lovable, child-like freak was far away from the original creature, he was brilliant. He not only has the size, but I think he would have worked in a more straight version too.
A shame that Brannagh and Coppola failed in 1994, because I really like Coppola's Dracula. It's a shame because it does include the great elements of the creature driven to revenge, the framing of the young girl, and the final confrontation in the arctic. It even has some good supporting characters.
But the leads are so wrong. Robert De Niro is a great actor, but he couldn't have been more wrong for that rolle. Not only is he too "New York", but his physique is also the exact opposite of the tall, grotesque figure in the novel. But even if he had been right, it wouldn't have mattered much, because Brannagh's direction is so heavy handed. The scene where the creature stands in front of a burning cottage and screams: "FRANKENSTEEEEIINN" is downright embarrasing. there are other things, such as Brannagh's desire to show off his torso to such a degree in the laboratory, what's the point ? too self indulgent.
It could have been so good, but it's a wasted opportunity.
Can anyone recommend a good film adaptation of Frankenstein ? The novel desverves it.
I've just plowed myself through a truck load of movie and comic adaptations of Dracula, to find not only the one most loyal to stoker, but also the one representing the character. That means that after reading the comic book versions from Marvel and topps (which were both very good), I've bought or borrowed the Dracualu films that I could get my hands on.
My conclusion is this: 1) Todd Browning's from Universal is based on Broadway adaptation of the novel, and not the novel itself. It strays too much from the source, and, frankly, I find it too camp and pedestrian.It never seems convincing. I find it ironic that Lugosi was Hungarian, considering that the vampire tales about the Romanian nobleman is said to have originated in Hungary. It never seems convincing.
2) The Hammer series movies are fun, but too camp also, and again too far away from the source. Lee is physically impressive and a great actor, but the films are too light weight for me.
3) Lee also played the character for Jesus Franco, and here he must be the actor who so far have been physically closest to Stoker's description of Dracula. Unfortunately the film quickly turns into nonsense. And that's a pity. Lee is the only good element. Lom and Kinski never really convinces.The sequence where Dracula pretends to be his own coach is good though.
4) An even more nonsensical take on the legend by Franco, is his "Dracula, prisoner of Frankenstein". This film, if it can be called that, has no inner logic, and does no justice to either legendary monster.
5) Dan Curtis take suffers from lack of budget, but Jack Palance has a lot of weight and gusto in the part, even though the budget eliminates most supernatural elements, and instead shows a very physical, human Dracula. It could have been good, but has too cheap a feel. Palance is great though.
6) The BBC version, starring Louis Jourdan and Frank Finlay, has too much of a cheap TV-feel to it, but it is quite faithful, and does have it's moments. It includes Dracula's hairy palms, his head-first climbing down the wall, and his rapport with wolves, and his gypsy warriors.Jourdan seems more like a french elegantier (for obvious reasons) than a cruel eastern nobleman, but Finlay is very good Van Helsing. Probably the best Van helsing of all time.
7) Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula. Maybe the love story is too much, but there are many great elements in this film: Vojciech Kilar's score, Thomas sander's and Eiko Ishioka's designs, Coppola's visual effects,and the cinematography of Michael Balhaus are all visual delights. Dracula's bride's are
magnificent, Tom Waits is a wonderful Renfield, and Gary Oldman brilliant as the title character.If I should complain about anything, it would be that the young heroes, especially Reeves and Ryder, are too bland and boring, but so are they in the other versions too. My major problem, if I would have such a thing, is that Anthony Hopkin's Van Helsing are too manic and obsessed, and there is that weird hint that he might be a reincarnation of the romanian priest in the beginning of the film, the same way that Mina is of Elisabetha. And Reincarnation and christianity are not good friends, and it is not really well explained. I think they should have tuned Hopkins down a few notches. He is so good when he is restrained, and so annoying when he is too loud and broad in his acting.
Even after having watched all these different versions, I must say that this is my favorite Dracula film, which makes it all the more sad that Brannagh's companion piece is such a failure.
I would like too get some qualified recommendations for a good Frankenstein Film.
My favorite non-Dracula vampire film is the beautiful and melancholic swedish "Lät den retta komme inn". Being a scandinavian I love the swedish melancholia.
And my favorite Werewolf Film is Neil Jordan's different and dream like take and Little Red Hood "Company of Wolves".