True confession time. I have apparently seen this. I don’t know why I didn’t log it (either on Flickchart OR Letterboxd), and I was looking forward to it as a new-to-me Frankenstein film. But once it got going, things started to be familiar, and yeah, I’ve definitely seen it. But I love it, so since I hadn’t ranked it yet, I decided to go ahead and count it. I thought about just writing this as if I hadn’t seen it, but that felt dishonest and I also wasn’t sure I could manage not to let it slip. :p I also have The Ghost of Frankenstein and may watch it as an additional tag-along for Travis, but my guess is I’ll rank this one higher.
Anyway. To the movie. This is brilliant! Basil Rathbone is Dr. Frankenstein’s son, who brings his family to his father’s castle. He’s super-excited about it, though he rejects his father’s actions. The townsfolk aren’t nearly so excited about it, viewing his whole family with understandable suspicion. And sure enough, Frankenstein fils soon finds his father’s research, is convinced by it, then meets Ygor (Bela Lugosi!), who’s been keeping the Monster (Boris Karloff) hidden. Things escalate.
Right there, you’ve got Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff all in the same movie. That’s already enough to make this awesome. Add in some truly great set design and cinematography, and though it focuses more on fun and chills than ethics, this is an extremely worthy successor to the original Frankenstein, and in fact, I might like it more than Bride. That lab! That staircase! That boiling pit! That graveyard! So great.
It’s also a major source for elements in Young Frankenstein, like Ygor himself, who doesn’t appear in the 1931 Frankenstein. So that was a lot of fun, as I’m a big fan of that one. I actually think that might be why I watched Son before, was someone mentioned its influence on Young Frankenstein, but I have no idea why I didn’t rank/log it! The village policeman with the bum arm also is very reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove, but I don’t know if it’s considered a source for that or not.
Stats and stuff…
directed by Rowland V. Lee, written by Wyllis Cooper
starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how Son of Frankenstein entered my chart:
Son of Frankenstein > The Good Shepherd
Son of Frankenstein > The Champ (1931)
Son of Frankenstein < Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Son of Frankenstein > Back to the Future III
Son of Frankenstein < Celine and Julie Go Boating
Son of Frankenstein > Dumbo
Son of Frankenstein > Mauvais Sang
Son of Frankenstein > La Ronde
Son of Frankenstein < Johnny Guitar
Son of Frankenstein < The Collector
Son of Frankenstein > A Christmas Story
Son of Frankenstein > Ever After
Final #594 out of 3733 (84%)
It is now my #1 Rowland V. Lee film, my #4 Basil Rathbone film, my #5 Boris Karloff film, my #2 Bela Lugosi film, my #3 Costume Horror film, my #11 Gothic Film, my #19 Monster Film, and my #7 film of 1939.
Son of Frankenstein was recommended by Travis McClain, a friend from the Flickcharters group on Facebook. Averaging together this #594 ranking with my #1414 ranking of his other film, Aelita: Queen of Mars, gives Travis an average ranking of 1004.
A few more screenshots…