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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Monster > Literature > Dan Curtis’ Frankenstein (Dark Sky Films/DVD)

Dan Curtis’ Frankenstein (Dark Sky Films/DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Telefilm: B-



Dan Curtis become so busy in the midst of the most prolific cycle of Horror genre works in TV history that he had to delegate some of the work to others.  After finishing The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler telefilms to record commercial success, he tried the same approach with The Norliss Tapes (all three reviewed elsewhere on this site) and hire Glenn Jordan to helm his production of Frankenstein.  It was overshadowed by the much longer, filmed and slightly overrated Frankenstein – The True Story, but his version is one of the more distinct versions and oddly succeeds where the over-produced Coppola/Branagh feature film miserably failed over two decades later.


Robert Foxworth is the doctor, Bo Svenson the creature he makes and I was pleasantly surprised how effective, honest, intelligent and well-paced this interpretation was.  I had not seen it for decades and am glad it is finally on DVD, because it ranks with the best versions of the tale and reminds us yet again how TV used to be able to do so much with limited resources.


The Sam Hall/Richard Landau teleplay (based on a Hall/Curtis adaptation) of Mary Shelley’s classic is very effective, well-realized and will hold up as well 34 years form now as it does now, reminding us of the heart and soul telefilms used to have.  Susan Strasberg, Willie Aames and even a then-unknown Leif Garrett are among the more recognizable faces in a well acted, well cast TV movie.  For Horror fans, this is a must see!


The 1.33 X 1 image is from the old analog NTSC source, but looks a generation down and though color is good and consistent for the format, this could be sharper and clearer.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also a bit softer and more compressed than expected, though the combination is watchable enough.  Extras include a very good audio commentary by co-stars Foxworth & John Karlen and three station previews/promos from ABC when they first aired the telefilm.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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