Frankenstein (1931)

USA, 1931
35mm, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror/science fiction film directed by James Whale. A follow up to Universal’s popular adaptation of Dracula (1931), it made a horror icon of Boris Karloff and was the beginning of a successful franchise that would eventually number – including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – seven entries.

Plot Summary

Dr Henry Frankenstein succeeds in his long held ambition to create an artificial man stitched together from various body parts. But the results disappoint him and Frankenstein rejects his creation and casts him out. The monstrous creation terrifies the locals, but is it really as violent as it seems, or have its actions just been misunderstood?


* = uncredited

Directed by: James Whale
Copyright MCMXXXI [1931] by Universal Pictures Corp. Carl Laemmle Pres.
Universal Pictures. Carl Laemmle presents
Produced by: Carl Laemmle Jr
Associated Producer: E.M. Asher
Screen Play: Garrett Fort, Francis Edward Faragoh
Contributor to Treatment: Robert Florey *
Contributor to Script Construction: John Russell *
Based upon the composition by: John L. Balderston
From the Novel by: Mrs Percy B. Shelley
Adapted from the Play by: Peggy Webling
Scenario Editor: Richard Schayer
Assistant Directors: Joseph A. McDonough *, Harry Mancke *
Script Clerk: Helen McCaffrey *
Cinematographer: Arthur Edeson
2nd Cameraman: Alan Jones *
Assistant Camera: Jack Eagan *, George Trafton *
Stills: Sherman Clark *, Ray Jones *, Roman Freulich *
Supervising Film Editor: Maurice Pivar
Film Editor: Clarence Kolster
Music: Bernhard Kaun *; Giuseppe Becce (stock music *)
Musical Director: David Broekman *
Recording Supervision: C. Roy Hunter
Sound Technician: William Hedgcock *
Sound System: Western Electric Sound System
Costumes: Ed Ware *, Vera West *
Make Up: Jack P. Pierce *
Assistant Make Up: Tony Mattaracci *
Special Effects: John P. Fulton *
Electrical Effects: Frank Graves *, Raymond Lindsay *
Electrical Properties: Ken Strickfaden *
Art Director: Charles D. Hall
Settings: Herman Rosse *
Property Master: Ed Keyes *
Art Titles: Max Cohen *
Technical Advisors: Cecil Reynolds, Gerald L.G. Sampson *
Dance Arranger: C. Baier *
Locations: Busch Gardens, Pasadena, California, USA *
Casting: Phil M. Friedman *

Colin Clive (Henry Frankenstein)
Mae Clarke (Elizabeth)
John Boles (Victor Moritz)
? [real name: Boris Karloff] [in opening credits] Boris Karloff [in end credits] (the monster)
Edward Van Sloan (Doctor Waldman)
Frederick Kerr (Baron Frankenstein)
Dwight Frye (Fritz)
Lionel Belmore (Herr Vogel the Burgomaster)
Marilyn Harris (little Maria)
Michael Mark [Ludwig, Maria’s father – uncredited]
Joseph North [butler – uncredited]
Cecilia Parker [maid – uncredited]
Arletta Duncan, Pauline Moore [bridesmaids – uncredited]
Maidel Turner [housekeeper – uncredited]
William Yetter [gendarme – uncredited]
Francis Ford, Paul Panzer, Inez Palange, Ted Billings, Harry Tenbrook [villagers – uncredited]
Cecil Reynolds [university secretary – role deleted]

Alternative Titles

El Doctor Frankenstein – Spanish title
Frankenstayn – Turkish title

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
House of Dracula (1945)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Extracts included in
100 Years at the Movies (1994)
100 Years of Horror (1996)
78/52 (2017)
AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Thrills America’s Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001)
AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies (1998)
The American Nightmare (2000)
Boo (1932)
Birth of the Living Dead (2013)
Bride of Monster Mania (2000)
Coming Soon (1982)
Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1994)
Doctor Who (1996)
El espĂ­ritu de la colmena (1973)
Fear in the Dark (1991)
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995)
The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster (1999)
Gods and Monsters (1998)
Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920)
Hollywoodism Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998)
The Horror Hall of Fame (1990)
Kingdom of Shadows (1998)
Lugosi Hollywood’s Dracula (1997)
The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Precious Images (1986)
Scream (1996)
She’s Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1999)
Shocker (1989)
Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction: Space (2014)
The Universal Story (1995)
Universal Horror (1998)



  • American Cinematographer vol.66 no.1 (January 1985) pp.33-41 – illustrated article (Jack Pierce – Forgotten make-up genius by Frank Taylor)
  • Classic Images no.382 (April 2007) pp.22-25 – illustrated article (The Bride of Frankenstein by Grey Smith & John E. Petty)
  • Empire no.163 (January 2003) pp.168-169 – illustrated DVD review (RWD by Kim Newman)
  • Empire no.220 (October 2007) pp.168-169 – illustrated article (The top 10: Hidden performances by Owen Williams)
  • Empire no.223 (January 2008) pp.216-217 – illustrated article (The top 10 mad scientists by Alan Morrison)
  • Empire no.231 (September 2008) pp.113-123 – illustrated article (10 years of DVD by Simon Crook, Nick De Semlyen, James Dyer et al)
  • Film Journal vol.2 no.2 (January 1973-March 1973) pp.8-15 – article
  • Film Review no.668 (April 2006) pp.40-41 – illustrated article (The film that changed my life: Christopher Lee by Anwar Brett)
  • Filmfax no.106 (April/June 2005) pp.71-73, 126 – illustrated article (Crimes against continuity! Frankenstein by Wray Ellis)
  • Kine Weekly 28 January 1932 – review
  • Photoplay vol.41 no.2 p.47 – review
  • Starburst no.336 (May 2006) pp.68-69 – illustrated article (Top 10 Sci-Fi remakes)
  • Starburst no.343 (November 2006) pp.68-69 – illustrated article (Top 10 Inventors)


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror (2nd edition) by Phil Hardy (ed) p.49-50 – illustrated credits, review
  • Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Filmography of Terror Cinema, 1931-1939 by Bryan Senn pp.19-30 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Horror Factory: THe Horror Films of Uniersal 1931-1955 by Bruce Dettman and Michael Bedford pp.14-22 – article, review
  • The Monster Movies of Universal Studios by James L. Neibaur pp.10-20 – illustrated credits, article
  • Of Gods and Monsters by John T. Soister pp.112-125 – illustrated credits, article
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.148 – credits
  • Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory pp.64-70 – illustrated article