How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle 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.
So begins the 1931 film Frankenstein produced by Carl Laemmle of Universal Pictures. A tuxedoed Edward Van Sloan, who plays Dr. Waldman in the feature, appears from behind a curtain with this introduction and a word of warning. It would be hard to understate the influence of Frankenstein. Who can forget Colin Clive’s portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein and his triumphant shouts of “It’s alive!” Or Dr. Frankenstein’s hunchbacked companion – who does not appear in Mary Shelley’s novel – in this film named Fritz, although his counterpart Ygor in Son of Frankenstein would become the most remembered version of the character. And Boris Karloff’s depiction of the Monster in the film is so iconic that it remains the image most of us have of the character and what we associate with the word Frankenstein (even though that name belongs to Monster’s creator, not the Monster himself). The film helped launch a host of sequels and a veritable Monsterverse from Universal Studios that became something of a shared mythology within American culture.
Join us for a special event Thursday night at 6:30 PM at the Floyd County Library as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel and the film that was inspired by it. We will be showing the classic film with a bit of the pomp and extravagance of the 1930s. The film will be introduced by Dr. David West Reynolds – archaeologist, historian, speaker, and best-selling author who worked for Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars, who will also lead a brief discussion afterward on the film’s scientific and ethical themes in today’s world of genetic engineering and “Frankenfood” made from Genetically Modified Organisms. We have reached a place in society, technologically-speaking, at the threshold of unprecedented power, but like Frankenstein himself we must ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to bear the responsibility of that power, or are there some lines that should not be crossed? We hope you’ll join the discussion tomorrow night!
We would like to think J. Alan Formalwear for kindly furnishing men’s attire at our event.