Okay, before the review starts let me just ask you one question, based on a supporting performer in the movie.
Tell the truth now, is this not the best "direct look to camera" that you've ever seen?
I think it is, hence its inclusion here.
But let's get to the entire movie.
The first proper Hammer horror that set the template for many movies to
come (the Technicolour horror, the updating of the Universal classics
taken mainly from literary forerunners, the greatness of Peter Cushing
and Christopher Lee, etc), this also remains one of their best movies.
It's a pretty familiar tale, with enough changes made for everything to
feel fresh and exciting. Peter Cushing plays the obsessed scientist and it's not long before one small success in the ongoing
battle against Mr G. Reaper sees our protagonist getting quite obsessed
with actually creating life and playing god. His long-time companion,
and former tutor Paul (Robert Urquhart) tries to keep things from
getting out of control but Hammer fans will already know how things
Directed by Terence Fisher, and written by Jimmy Sangster, The Curse Of
Frankenstein has plenty going for it. The pacing is perfect, the
character of Victor Frankenstein is brilliantly portrayed by Cushing
and it's easy to quietly root for him even as his methods become more
and more unhinged, Urquhart makes for a decent friend/voice of reason
and the script and cinematography are both well above-average for
something that people could easily dismiss (both then AND now) as pulp
Hazel Court is lovely enough as Elizabeth, though she doesn't get all
that much to do, but Christopher Lee is a bit of a disappointment as
the creature. Not his fault really, it's just hard to top that original
design and performance with Boris Karloff in the role. Hell, even De
Niro didn't manage it so Lee shouldn't feel too badly as he certainly
doesn't embarrass himself either. It's also fun to see a young Melvyn Hayes (probably best known to UK TV viewers from his role in It Ain't Half Hot Mum) in the role of young Victor and Valerie Gaunt is great as a housemaid who dares to threaten the baron when she realises that she will never be more than his secret mistress.
A great success when first released, this movie deserves to be seen and
enjoyed by fans for many, many years to come and deserves all of the
adoration it has received over the years.