FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (director: Terence Fisher; screenwriter: Anthony Hinds; cinematographer: Arthur Grant; editor: Spencer Reeve; music: James Bernard; cast: Peter Cushing (Baron Frankenstein), Susan Denberg (Christina Kleve), Thorley Walters (Doctor Hertz), Robert Morris (Hans), Duncan Lamont (prisoner), Peter Madden (Police Chief), Alan MacNaughtan (Kleve), Peter Blythe (Anton), Barry Warren (Karl), Derek Fowlds (Johann); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Nelson Keys; Twentieth Century- Fox; 1967-UK)
“A disgusting but intriguing script by Anthony Hinds makes for a preposterous but intriguing horror pic.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A disgusting but intriguing script by Anthony Hinds makes for a preposterous but intriguing horror pic. The stylish and well-crafted Hammer film, a reworking of Whale’s brilliant Bride of Frankenstein (1935), in which it bears no resemblance to that Universal picture, is boldly directed by Terence Fisher (“The Man Who Could Cheat Death”/”Dracula–Prince of Darkness”/”Night of the Big Heat”). It’s set ina primitive 19th-century Balkan village, where the arrogant headstrong Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is assisted by the doddering alcoholic Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters), an excellent surgeon, in his unauthorized secret experiments to transfer the soul of a dead human into another human body. The Baron needs Hertz to do the surgery, which he guides, because his hands have been severely burned–the reason he always wears gloves.
When three local upper-class insolent, idler, bully ruffians (Peter Blythe, Barry Warren and Derek Fowlds), with the father of one of them being the mayor, in a drunken rage accidently stomp to death the landlord Kleve (Alan MacNaughtan), the innocent Hans (Robert Morris) is accused by the biased police chief (Peter Madden). The only evidence is that Hans left his coat at the inn, the site of the murder, and that many years ago Hans’ father was executed for murder. The police chief says “like father, like son.”
Though Hans has an alibi, he slept that night with the landlord’s deformed (she walks with a limp) and disfigured daughter Christina (Susan Denberg, ex-Playboy centerfold), he refuses to use that alibi to protect her reputation. As a result Hans is convicted and is executed like his dad by the guillotine. This gives the Baron a chance to use Hans’ corpse to transfer his soul into the body of Christina, who upon her lover’s death committed suicide by drowning. The Baron works his cutting edge science to resurrect Christina and fix her disfigured face so she looks beautiful. He then thinks of himself as a God, as he proclaims boastfully “I have conquered death.” What the Baron didn’t count on is the soul of Hans cries out through Christina for revenge against the three callow real killers.
The film reflects on how even the wealthy Baron is not accepted by the locals because they believe he’s a sorcerer (he scorns society as something for idiots to fit into), that society serves only the privileged, and the filmmaker makes his own use of the Christian trinity–with the Baron as the Father, Christina as the Son and Hans as the Holy Ghost. This alteration of the trinity to fit into the bloody schematics of the horror pic, serves this Hammer production well in carrying out its own kind of tale of rebirth and revenge for the taking of an innocent life.
REVIEWED ON 10/31/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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