Dan Curtis’ Frankenstein (Dark Sky Films/DVD)
C Sound: C Extras: C+ Telefilm: B-
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.
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
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!
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