Frankenstein (1931 film)

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Frankenstein is a 1931 American horror film about an obsessed scientist who assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Directed by James Whale. Written by John L. Balderston, Francis Edward Faragoh, and Garrett Fort, loosely based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
A Monster Science Created — But Could Not Destroy! taglines

Dr. Henry Frankenstein

  • He's just resting — waiting for a new life to come.
  • [in a letter] You must have faith in me, Elizabeth. Wait, my work must come first, even before you. At night the winds howl in the mountains. There is no one here. Prying eyes can't peer into my secret...I am living in an abandoned old watchtower close to the town of Goldstadt. Only my assistant is here to help me with my experiments.
  • This storm will be magnificent. All the electrical secrets of Heaven. And this time we're ready, eh Fritz? Ready.
  • There's nothing to fear. Look. No blood, no decay. Just a few stitches. And look, here's the final touch. The brain you stole, Fritz. Think of it. The brain of a dead man waiting to live again in a body I made with my own hands, with my own hands. Let's have one final test. Throw the switches.
  • Quite a good scene, isn't it? One man crazy — three very sane spectators.
  • There can be no wedding while this horrible creation of mine is still alive. I made him with these hands, and with these hands I will destroy him. I must find him. [to Victor] You stay here and look after Elizabeth. I leave her in your care, whatever happens. Do you understand? In your care.

Baron Frankenstein

  • You think I'm an idiot, don't you? But I'm not! Anyone can see with half an eye that there's something wrong. And I have two eyes, and pretty good ones at that. Well, what is it?...What's the matter with my son? What's he doing?...Why does he go messing around an old ruined windmill when he has a decent house, a bath, good food and drink, and a darn pretty girl to come back to? Ha, will you tell me that?
  • I understand perfectly well. There's another woman — and you're afraid to tell me. Pretty sort of experiments these must be.
  • [toasting Henry and Elizabeth] Here's to a very good a son of the House of Frankenstein...Here's to jolly good health to Frankenstein.


  • Edward van Sloan: How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle [the producer] feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation — life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even — horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to — uh, well, we warned you.
  • Elizabeth: The very day we announced our engagement, he told me of his experiments. He said he was on the verge of a discovery so terrific that he doubted his own sanity. There was a strange look in his eyes, some mystery. His words carried me right away. Of course I've never doubted him but still I worry. I can't help it.
  • Dr. Waldman: Herr Frankenstein is a most brilliant young man, yet so erratic he troubles me.
  • Villagers: Burn the mill! Burn it down! Burn the mill!


Victor: [suggesting he see Dr. Waldman about Henry] Perhaps he can tell me more about all this.
Elizabeth: Oh Victor, you're a dear.
Victor: You know I'd go to the ends of the earth for you.
Elizabeth: I shouldn't like that. I'm far too fond of you.
Victor: I wish you were!
Elizabeth: Victor.
Victor: I'm sorry.

Waldman: Herr Frankenstein is greatly changed.
Victor: You mean changed as a result of his work?
Waldman: Yes, his work, his insane ambition to create life.
Elizabeth: How? How? Please tell us everything, whatever it is.
Waldman: The bodies we use in our dissecting room for lecture purposes were not perfect enough for his experiments, he said. He wished us to supply him with other bodies and we were not to be too particular as to where and how we got them. I told him that his demands were unreasonable. And so he left the University to work unhampered. He found what he needed elsewhere.
Victor: Oh! The bodies of animals. Well, what are the lives of a few rabbits and dogs?
Waldman: You do not quite get what I mean. Herr Frankenstein was interested only in human life — first to destroy it, then recreate it. There you have his mad dream.

Henry: Elizabeth, please, won't you go away? Won't you trust me, just for tonight?
Elizabeth: You're ill. What's the matter?
Henry: Nothing. I'm quite all right, truly I am. Oh, can't you see? I mustn't be disturbed. You'll ruin everything. My experiment is almost completed.
Elizabeth: Wait a moment. I understand. I believe in you. But I cannot leave you tonight.
Henry: You've got to leave!
Victor: Henry, you're inhuman. You're crazy.
Henry: Crazy, am I? We'll see whether I'm crazy or not. Come on up...

Henry: You're quite sure you want to come in? ...Very well. [locks door and pockets key] Forgive me, but I'm forced to take unusual precautions...A moment ago you said I was crazy. Tomorrow we'll see about that. [to Dr. Waldman] Don't touch that! Dr. Waldman. I learned a great deal from you at the University about the violet ray, the ultra-violet ray, which you said was the highest color in the spectrum. You were wrong. Here in this machinery I have gone beyond that. I have discovered the great ray that first brought life into the world.
Waldman: Oh! And your proof?
Henry: Tonight, you shall have your proof. At first, I experimented only with dead animals, and then a human heart which I kept beating for three weeks. But now, I'm going to turn that ray on that body and endow it with life.
Waldman: And you really believe that you can bring life to the dead?
Henry: That body is not dead. It has never lived. I created it. I made it with my own hands from the bodies I took from graves, from the gallows, anywhere! Go and see for yourself.

Henry: Look! It's moving. It's sha — it's... it's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive! It's alive, it's alive, it's alive! It's ALIVE!
Victor: Henry — in the name of God!
Henry: Oh in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!

Baron: Well, tell him to go away.
Maid: But he says it's important.
Baron: Nothing the burgomaster can say can be of the slightest importance.

Vogel: What I really want to know is, when will the wedding be, if you please?
Baron: Unless Henry comes to his senses, there'll be no wedding at all.
Vogel: But Herr Baron, the village is already prepared.
Baron: Well, tell them to unprepare.
Vogel: Oh, but such a lovely bride! And such a fine young man, the very image of his father.
Baron: Heaven forbid!
Vogel: But sir, everything is ready!

Waldman: This creature of yours should be kept under guard. Mark my words. He will prove dangerous.
Henry: Dangerous! Poor old Waldman. Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous? Where should we be if nobody tried to find out what lies beyond? Have you never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars or to know what causes the trees to bud and what changes the darkness into light? But if you talk like that, people call you crazy. But if I could discover just one of these things, what eternity is, for example, I wouldn't care if they did think I was crazy!
Waldman: You're young, my friend. Your success has intoxicated you. Wake up and look facts in the face! Here we have a fiend whose brain...
Henry: The brain must be given time to develop. It's a perfectly good brain, doctor. You ought to know. It came from your own laboratory.
Waldman: The brain that was stolen from my laboratory was a criminal brain.
Henry: Oh well, after all, it's only a piece of dead tissue.
Waldman: Only Evil can come of it! Your health will be ruined if you persist in this madness.
Henry: I'm astonishingly sane, doctor.
Waldman: You have created a Monster and he will destroy you.
Henry: Patience, patience. I believe in this Monster, as you call it. And if you don't, well, you must leave me alone. So far, he's been kept in complete darkness. Wait till I bring him into the light.

Baron: Well, what's the matter with you? You look as if you've been kicked by a horse. Where's Henry?
Waldman: I would advise you to take Henry away from here at once.
Baron: What do you suppose I'm here for, pleasure?

Henry: It's like heaven, being with you again.
Elizabeth: Heaven wasn't so far away all the time, you know.
Henry: I know, but I didn't realize it. My work. Those horrible days and nights. I couldn't think of anything else.
Elizabeth: Henry. You're not to think of those things anymore. You promised.

Maria: [to The Monster] Who are you? I'm Maria. Will you play with me? Would you like one of my flowers?
[The Monster smells the flower and smiles]
Maria: [handing The Monster more flowers] You have those, and I'll have these. I can make a boat.
[The two take turns tossing the flowers in the lake, where they float]
Maria: See how mine float?
[When The Monster has no more flowers, he picks up Maria]
Maria: No, you're hurting me. No!
[The Monster tosses Maria into the lake]

Elizabeth: Henry. I'm afraid. Terribly afraid. Where's Dr. Waldman? Why is he late for the wedding?
Henry: Oh, he's always late. He'll be here soon.
Elizabeth: Something is going to happen. I feel it. I can't get it out of my mind.
Henry: You're just nervous. All the excitement and preparation.
Elizabeth: No, no. It isn't that. I felt it all day. Something is coming between us. I know it! I know it!
Henry: Sit down and rest. You look so tired.
Elizabeth: If I could just do something to save us from it.
Henry: From what, dear, from what?
Elizabeth: I don't know. If I could just get it out of my mind. Oh, I'd die if I had to lose you now, Henry.
Henry: Lose me? Why, I'll always be with you.
Elizabeth: Will you, Henry? Are you sure? I love you so.

Victor: [pounding on Henry's door] Henry! Dr. Waldman!...He's been seen in the hills terrorizing the mountainside.
[A low moan is heard]
Henry: He's in the house. He's upstairs!

Villager: Maria, she's drowned...She has been murdered.
Vogel: I'll see that justice is done. Who is it?


  • A Monster Science Created — But Could Not Destroy!
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  • The monster that terrorized the world.
  • The Original Horror Show!
  • The Monster Who Brought Destruction!



See also