Without Lugosi, Whale made the wise choice to cast the little-known Boris Karloff as the Monster, which not only made Karloff a star, it resulted in an iconic performance (with magnificent makeup by Jack Pierce). It also made Whale's career as a director, leading to three more Universal Horror classics. The cast includes Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, Mae Clarke as Henry's bride-to-be Elizabeth, John Boles as Henry's friend Victor, Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing in 1931's Dracula) as Dr. Waldman (also delivering a warning to viewers before the film's opening credits), Frederick Kerr as Henry's father Baron Frankenstein, and Dwight Frye (Renfield in Dracula) as Henry's assistant Fritz. Cinematographer Arthur Edeson's black-and-white work is striking, and he went on to do the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca.
A 100% no doubt about it classic.
My maternal grandmother saw it when it was released in 1931. She was nine-years-old at the time, and many decades later she still remembered it well. She recalled being terrified when the Monster made his first appearance, and watching the rest of the film through her fingers.
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