FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN This Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe
“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!”
Celebrate two classics from Universal’s Golden Age of Horror this Saturday morning at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s a double bill from director James Whale; the original FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933). It’s Saturday, October 12th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63117. Admission is only $5.
I just saw the original FRANKENSTEIN on the big screen last Halloween season when it played with BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN as part of a Fathom Event. The 82-year old film holds up as stark, solid, and impressive, overshadowed (a bit unfairly) by the later barrage of Whale’s wit in the more delirious and cinematic BRIDE. In FRANKENSTEIN, Karloff gives one of the most memorable performances of all time and the film’s greatness stems less from its script than from the stark but moody atmosphere created by director Whale, Herman Rosse’s memorable set designs (particularly the fantastic watchtower laboratory), the creature’s trademark look from makeup artist Jack Pierce, and Karloff’s nuanced performance as the tormented and bewildered creature. FRANKENSTEIN was greeted with screams, moans, and fainting spells upon its initial release, obliging Universal to add a disclaimer in which Edward Van Sloan advises the faint of heart to leave the theater immediately. If they don’t: “Well…we’ve warned you.” Director James Whale was played by Ian McKellen in the Oscar-winning 1998 biopic GODS AND MONSTERS.
“How can I handcuff a blooming shirt?”
It was just two years later that Whale directed THE INVISIBLE MAN, a lively and engrossing adaptation of HG Wells’ tale of a scientist made invisible by his experiments with the drug monocaine. The megalomania that ensues upon his ability to go about unseen is played for equal parts suspense and tongue-in-cheek humor (he can’t go out in the rain, because it would make him look like a ridiculous bubble). The real strengths of the movie are R.C. Sherriff’s witty script and John P Fulton’s remarkable special effects (removing bandages to reveal nothing, footsteps appearing as if by magic in the snow – this was eye-popping stuff 80 years ago!) Star Claude Rains, with his clear, elegantly inflected voice, was lucky: despite almost no real screen time, THE INVISIBLE MAN made him a star. Trivia alert: watch for Dwight “Renfield” Frye as a bespectacled reporter, Walter Brennan as the man whose bicycle is stolen, and John Carradine as the fellow in the phone booth who’s “gawt a plan to ketch the h’invisible man”.
Don’t miss your chance to see FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN on the big screen.
The Hi-Pointe’s site can be found HERE