Frankenstein is a 1931 American pre-Code horror monster film from Universal Pictures is about a scientist and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a man animated by electricity. The project goes awry when Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer’s brain. The film was directed by James Whale, and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn was based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The created “monster” is portrayed by Boris Karloff in the film. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film in history.
Frankenstein stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort, with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce.
In 1991, the Library of Congress selected Frankenstein for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”