Audiovisual Cultures episode 31 – Frankenstein automated transcript

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hello this is the podcast that explores aspects assigned an image based cultural production and their wider implications I'm the host and creator Paul the pliers as this is episode thirty one and it's being released on the thirty first of October I thought I'd do a Halloween spectacular focusing on the story behind one of the most iconic faces of fright building on the last episode on the little stranger that went into the paranormal and adaptation this time but go back to where it all began with Mary Shelley's eighteen eighteen novel Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus and its impact on film and visual culture via theatre mainly focusing on the nineteen thirty one universal pictures classic Frankenstein is a story about a budding scientist who is consumed with the notion of creating life in nontraditional ways and in doing so brings but mass destruction Victor Frankenstein is the ultimate dead beat dads he abandons the creature he toiled so hard to create art of the detritus of tasks deeming the creature as a grotesque abomination Frankenstein refuses to face his responsibility for bringing it into the world the creatures monstrous behavior is incited by continual for Hammond to rejection in response to his gruesome appearance in physicality has life is so miserable that he fights to destroy his creator by killing his loved ones and wearing him dying over an arduous GS merry called when was a young woman of nineteen when she first conceived the story during the summer teen sixteen around that time she experienced various family debts including of her half sister funny and her first child with her lover Percy by Shelley whom she married later that year after his wife took her own life Frankenstein can be read as a family drama centering on a lack of parental nurture while their prime richer baby was dying Percy Shelley Galavant it with merry stepsister Claire Clairmont history also so involves the failure of communication and mutual support and the death of the gentlest most vulnerable members of a family name in this sense depict can be read as an imaginative re working of the author's left experience that is subjective allegory history originated when merry called when and Percy Shelley spent an unseasonably cold summer in Geneva Switzerland in eighteen sixteen with Claire Clairmont Lord Byron and John Polidori he published the first English language vampire story to from peer based on the TLC hard when traveling in the Balkans stuck indoors the group held a ghost story competition Godwin's ideas apparently developed from conversations about three contemporanea scientific proposals aimed at tackling the problem of violence and violence and being a skill if medical philosophy following the belief that non nothing and today's lack the vital spark or sold possessed by living organisms empirical scientific evidence has since the early nineteenth century superseded such ideas the proposals the group discussed where Rasmus Darwin's hypothesis that single celled parasites generates spontaneously the corpses could be restored using a galvanic battery and the third suggested reconstructing a body to be reanimated these romantics with a capital R. so these ideas as scope for county and lighten and soft tyre Mary Shelley herself engaged in the adaptation process for Frankenstein when she published a revised version in either team's thirty one and which narrative details are changed and some awkward writing and praised literary critic mired in Butler states in the Oxford reprint of the first taxed that the eighteen eighteen version is the more important and serious spec calling it a pioneering work of science fiction Butler also discusses Shelley's own knowledge of the works function %HESITATION position pointing out that in Shelley's preface to the eighteen thirty one reservation she contends quote with many signs that her tax originated and sophisticated satirical conversations which traded the gothic historically as a symptom of the feudal mentality and dusty occasion for a modern critical appropriation above all her action turns on the classically comic motive of the protagonists incompetence on quote Shelley appropriated the scientific thinking of her day and a heart wrenching S. grisly dramas that ultimately sends the message that love and being loved are all that matter in addition to this I college I used to reading by placing different versions of the story within their own contacts we can consider the story of Frankenstein as a malleable allegory reinterpreted both for each new generation and place of production throughout the rest of the nineteenth century there were many theatrical adaptations of the story and the film versions that led to the creatures globally recognizable iconography our doctors from the performance dramas rather than either version of the source taxed the first phone to stem from the east that we know of was made by Thomas Edison's company and a ride to nineteen ten and such silent era compressions verbal language is lost and fever of tableau depictions alongside the emergence and rice of synchronize signed and sent him out more talkies in the late nineteen twenties the studio systems in Hollywood which has come to dominate the global market by then we're beginning to forge marketable genres many genres and styles of filmmaking developed from the adaptation of existing stories many of which had already been me as has compressed silent one readers and cinemas first two decades from adaptations of what in the early twentieth century may have been considered low or middle priced examples of that gesture and Broadway theater the smaller studios like universal and Warner crafted for example early horror and musicals universal's nineteen thirties creatures features have injured with consistent cycles of updates including the dark universe series currently under way although it seems to have stalled a bit recently while monster movies are perhaps less respectable than hyper I. each in Austin or Shakespeare on film the universal pictures releases of adaptation psych Dracula and Frankenstein both in nineteen thirty one at least percentage pictorial realize Asians of what cinema can show the taxed cannot in the case of life imitating art a decade after the novel's initial publication Kim the park and hair martyrs and had number of William Burke and William hare work career for a purse or press erection men from Ulster he and eighteen twenty it took to murdering people and selling the bodies to Robert Knox one of the pioneers of anatomical study and teaching and the ticket is on clearer Frankenstein finds his supplies of body parts the nineteen thirty one film directed by James whale fills the blank by showing the nine named Henry Frankenstein played by Colin Clive and his accomplice Fritz played by Dwight Frye he also played around field and Dracula the same year retrieving the body of a hiring to mind and deter Fritz stating the wrong type of pre and from an anatomy lecture auditorium just on that name change and the universal film Victor Frankenstein has been given the first name of Victor's friend and then awful Henry clerical while his name has been transferred to a fiance Alyssa best friend Victor Moritz in the film and a love triangle between them and the less effective March is she is played by Mike Clark perhaps the irony of the connotations of the name are transferred as Henry is triumphant at the end of the film will factor laces site on Elizabeth that Fritz destroys the normal brand and must stand still the abnormal or criminal brain raises the issue of eugenics the belief that better human beings can be produced from selective breeding also notable here is sat Frankenstein senses servant to carry out the theft on his behalf he transfers to crime to human specimen lesser than himself in terms of class education and appearance frets as a hunchback while Henry is present degree of roping he directs frets his criminal activities are mediated by his servant absolving him of direct involvement in criminality it's notable does that Henry also passes on his romantic and familial responsibilities to Victor he never looks after Elisabeth himself Fritz and Henry and body the differences or lack there rose between normal and criminal brands the brands to generate characteristics as Henry picked sent banks a question of the characteristics of his and France's brilliance as they seem to have no ethical or moral compass and no empathy for fellow humans the notion of the line of thought coined as eugenics and the late nineteenth century first emerged with the ancient Greeks Shelley knew her Greek myths adding her fictional scientists about pantheon of gods ironically though Prometheus means for thought that love what Shelley's eponymous doctor has this is likely because the romantics saw Prometheus as a figure he strived so hard for improvements in human life he often over reached with unintended negative consequences Frankenstein mirrors but also sits in tension with the Greek Titans other traits Prometheus created a man from clay and to fight the chords by stealing fire for which she was severely punished he is highly intelligent champions human kind and give them the resources that enabled their progress Frankenstein fancies himself as a modern Prometheus updated in the nineteen thirty one film as Henry saying now I know what it feels like to be called meaning the cost of monotheistic Christianity he created a defined burst but the creation does not here to the plan like humans depicted and religious to acts such as the Christian Bible the creation wants to determine its own life and destiny like the floods the solution to combat its disobedience is to destroy the experiments Henry it's not so much punished for his blasphemy but is taught some humility and convinced of the proper order of things by the end he is absolved and forgiven by his family and Tignes folk even though they suffered because of his hubristic and short sighted vanity projects zero eight Henry claims to be perfectly sane it is his morals the need to be questions the fact that few do you question them under one person Dr Waldman who does is killed and it certainly faia Henry's negligence is troubling given the Frankenstein families high social standing his father is a Baron Henry's ability to get away unpunished on questions and on ski it's with his disregard for the consequences of his actions it's evidently dying to his privilege and social status another example of how I found even when compressing and changing and novels narrative can also redress its emissions occurs in the pivotal scene of the creatures animation and Shelley's tax this scene is sketch basically and vaguely and one short paragraph here is the eighteen eighteen version and which Victor Frankenstein the kind stay experience making it seem like a supernatural phenomenon it was on a jury every night in November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils with an anxiety that almost a mind to tie Kinney I collected the instruments of life around me that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet it was already one in the morning the rand powdered dismally against the peons and my condo was nearly burned to each plan by the glamour of the half extinguish lights I saw the total yellow hi if the creature opened it breathed hard and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs when the film takes over the role of narrator the V. Jill spectacle is privileged what matters is the audience's reaction and engagement and the wonder and horror erupting into life as a witness and wheels film we also witnessed the emerging trademarks of a franchise and the spectacle of horror that would excite the audience who've been for warned of the spectacular reanimation by the address at the film's opening the framing device such as a actor Edward found Sloan who plays Henry's mentor Dr Waldman onstage cautioning the fears on harder to come is identified as a method of adjustment and adaptation studies and an instance of expansion and a story that has otherwise been compressed and shifted to have big time yet it does in a way reflect the bank's own framing device as a story related by Walton the arctic explorer and letters to his sister understaffed %HESITATION Xing the epistolary narrative presentation the problem stoker waited out for Dracula later in the nineteenth century a film like Frankenstein can be considered as a hybrid adaptation and that it departs from the original but remains treatise on authorized later versions the animation scene became so pivotal and theatrical and cinematic treatments of the story because it bears the most potential for drama thrills suspense and visual spectacle while retaining the strangeness of its original description what is so spectacular about this first feature length film of the story as such the reanimation is dependent on electric charge as of course is cinnamon as Thomas each point site in his pick adaptation and its discontents films about reincarnation are often themselves reincarnations monsters and medicine carnations that can never really die whale's Frankenstein is an example of a tax that goes beyond adjustment on instead revises the source taxed mysteries are transposed and changes are made for the purposes of re contextualize ation films like Wales based on the nineteenth century gothic fiction re write the stories and rather than denigrating the pics the films on one level and getting critical assessments of them an introductory framing device is also present in the sequel to bride of Frankenstein released in nineteen thirty five and also directed by we'll this time it is free and this merry Shelly narrating the story to Percy Shelley Lord Byron this film is a revision of volume two of the pick and which the creature relates this tale of how he learns language and desires a mate of his own kind Elsa Lancaster plays both Mary Shelley and the creatures meant he is animated and the finale and credited simply as a question mark and the closing credits which is the same as the creature and the opening credits of Frankenstein and similar to the a name of a creature they said in the first theatrical production in eighteen twenty three while there is long understates conflation between Frankenstein and his creature the bride of Frankenstein does this with the author and her creation both the story and defeated brides the story is re contextualized in the sense that Shelley's novel was anti scientific warning of the dangers of meddling too much with the natural order and based on medical research in Europe at the time and nineteen thirties Hollywood there was a fascination with scientific discovery pushing the limits of possibility and of course use an artificial life for becoming demands and obsessions already intense full time the film's irony lies in the fact that dialogue could not be heard but the articulate voice the creature develops in the bank never emerges just a monstrous grown fashioned by actor Boris Karloff in the first film and spar statements in the second in many ways the creature reflects the nature of sentiment thinking again about his story and film as allegory the themes in Frankenstein and create ostracism of of being perceived as a deviantart cider technological innovation first this is supernatural and morally ambiguous monsters and victims it's hard to tell which is which and theatrical productions from as early as eighteen twenty three the monster was voiceless and infantile wild Frankenstein surf and frets he goads the creature with others the creatures innocence and sense of morality and justice arm up to fight on the implied fears empathy grows as we witnessed him being tortured by the idiotic and contemptuous frets political reading suggests that the creature personifies violent radicalism while the inept liberal politician who unleashed problems is helpless against them it is natural then that when transferred to cinema the creature symbolism would become equally relevant to the medium as well as T. I. she's in contemporary society and sentiment dad passed moments and people are revived reanimated made on dad's like sentiment the creature is the product of technological innovation and experimentation like a film tax to creature comprises still fragments spliced together to form a whole entity that is given movement that is scientifically explicable it seems to many of us like magic and develops a life of its own I do for each of its creators thinking here by the film's capacity for reply and the legacy in popular culture of the film and its characters their iconography remains classical must developing along with the contemporary like sentiment in mute creature one way or another finds its voice his existence is given a degree of immortality adaptations ensure the survival of characters like him the cinematic nature islands the interchangeable idia Frankenstein with his creation are communicated visually in the nineteen thirty one films finale noted Plato episode nineteen twenty seven play by Peggy Webb playing from which this film is directly adopted that first gave the name Frankenstein to the creature after his maker directly linking their fractured and merry Chang identities a sequence in the film that signify says is one in much detail at first race face each other through the turning mechanism of %HESITATION when males interior as light passes three it's and casts on Karloff's creature it looks like a film projector while the divisions and the spending mechanism resemble individual film frames passing through the machinery the sequence cuts back and forth between close ups of the two faces seeing each other through the wheel and the shots the film evokes sentiments even nation from already moving image devices such as the Jewish trope and C. praxis scope as it faces almost planned to gather in the rapid sequencing and a wide shot of the Moabites site the milk they L. there is a merger but it is unclear who they're pointing up at as the river shot shows both Henry and the creature when the scuffle seems to be over with Henry the apparent factor that he's alive exclamation as repeated further converging the creator and his progeny the final sequences of the film are perhaps where it deviates most from the novel rather than driving Frankenstein tear torturous deaths the creature instead meets a tragic end and the fire sacked by the angry Lynch mob formed after he accidentally joins that'll Maria and exemplary moment of blame culture and racial prejudice the mop violently chased him to his fiery death of course he isn't quite dead and as a precursor to all such cinematic undead murderous phantoms returns for more in the sequel the images at the film's climax have much to say about eight thirty nineteen thirty CSA as well as what could be shown and pre Hayes code Hollywood the film may be set vaguely in central Europe but the issues are prevalent in north American society and politics the disused mill is the site of Frankenstein's lab on the creatures birthplace the young thinking mob and the urgency to kill the thing they do not understand burn dine this place if industry science and creation the fire spreading up the windmill shown and a long shot invokes the cross burning K. Klux Klan under violent persecution of African Americans the times folks who need little evidence thought or discussion to form of vigilante Lynch mob not to capture but to kill the creature reflects real intolerance and serious violence against those of third and society notably Henry feels the idea of exterminating the creature is murder but has no qualms about taking bodies and creating a life from parts of cadavers it is only after the creatures attempt to communicate with a less oppress the Henry grace T. and seats the lynching on the wedding date the cried celebrating the heteronormative upper class union quickly become defense full mop without considering the issues at stake the death of the young girl is caused by the combination of the naive creature and both their negligent fathers with an absence of mothers both Maria and the creature are innocent children she shows him kindness but he used to be infantile to know his own strength and possesses no language yet her father and the Chinese people decide that the dry and Maria was murdered with a question or investigation no one take self responsibility it is perfectly possible that she could have trying to applying a loan why has a child for each living so close to water where she's allowed to play alone never been taught to swim there is no evidence of the creature or in fact any kind of unknown assailants no one checks the girl for cause of death no one questioned her father who walks through the time carrying her lifeless body no one blames Henry as the creator of the creature and he certainly doesn't blame himself the comment times tracks back from Henry showing his lack of responsibility for the life he created and hi it's resistance to maltreatment pits the times people and his loved ones in danger the camera also tracks back when the creature goes for Elisabeth suggesting that the lack of responsibility is also experienced by the film's implicit narrator and by extension the audience returning to the family narratives the nineteen twenties and thirties and Hollywood so increasing interest in psychoanalysis and the Frankenstein creature dynamic couldn't be more easy to pull in the film the creature takes a shine to Elizabeth Henry Frankenstein's fiancee if Frankenstein is the creatures father than Elizabeth is at least the step mother to baby and this operation of life making if we take Shelly as the creatures mother and another sense than else along casters to roll a Shelley and the bride to page the analogy even further he tries to do away with his father to find happiness with his mother and the pics though the creature kills Elisabeth on the wedding night to make factor suffer the Hollywood version sees Elizabeth surviving as a price for Henry and his means to create a son of natural births this correction of Henry's behavior reduces the potential queerness of Frankenstein's relationship with his creation for much of the film Frankenstein is immersed in the homo social world of body snatching and scientific experimentation we learned early on from Melissa best conversation with family friend Victor Henry's experiments began after their engagement he uses his work to resist heteronormative domesticity marriage an undertaking familiar two days namely producing a male heir to carry on the family Snowblind at least in what is regarded as the natural way his resistance to committing to your woman and the social mores of its class perhaps indicates homosexuality or at least a preference for self pleasure he spends more time with friends and allies the best and he cannot create the creature alone and the fact it has two fathers both of him abuse and neglect him Henry sexuality is further cleared and debased and the creatures animation the raw materials for the manufactured sun rise through a hole in the roof at the top of the mills tar a lightning storm creates a frenzied climax and Henry repeatedly exclaims it's alive all the actions to create life combine and exert of performance and Henry serenity after the animation is almost post coital the creation manifests an anxiety over women biological conception and birth thing that is women sleeper and place in society the depicted home a social world of science and effective of the tournament progeny for the heights of Frankenstein must be if woman born the meal %HESITATION night mother this creation of life is seen as a poor aunt and unnatural this gives rise to the abuse of the creature showing high it becomes monstrous he is the progeny of what is viewed as an unnatural union and the silenced victim of domestic abuse provoked into defensive actions that scene and a blinkered way make him seem inherently violent mostly because he cannot communicate his experiences that is not to say that no one is willing to try and isn't very it knows the creature is inherently goods and does not fear him Elizabeth also senses something amiss on her wedding day but she does not share the child's lack of fear of difference even if she could articulate her intuition Henry is unwilling to lessen unlocks for sites and a sense of responsibility he finished he locks her in with the danger of safety in company but the creature decides not to harm her he has not yet become vindictive the importance of the story Frankenstein and its impact on culture should not be underestimated on the bicentenary of the novel's first publication this is an endearing story and symbol of the risks of human achievement and the darkest recesses of human nature not only that but merry wells and craft Shelley Nagel it when the daughter of an early feminist activist long before such a thing was a notion at just twenty years old give us a story if you press desk grief and destruction that not only spawned a life of its own but the science fiction genre and influences across media she could never have anticipated I hope some of these ideas cause a bit of discussion because there's a lot more to say about all of this if you find this useful they're interesting please consider making a regular pads via Petri on dot com forward slash AV cultures or donating to pay pal dot me forward slash PDA prior to sustain and improve the podcast subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode and sure why not give it five stars thanks to all previous episodes are listed on the podcast page of the website at forty of visual culture style wordpress dot com thanks very much for this the next time

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