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Stanford IHUM 51 - Frankenstein

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While there are a ton of cuts from the book to the movie, we are only going to focus on the most prominent transformations and major cuts. 1. The beginning of the book starts with Dr. Frankenstein encountering a character called Robert Walton on a boat in the Arctic. And the story of the book is delivered through the letters from Walton to his wife. In the movie the boat, arctic, and Walton are completely cut out and the delivery of the story is transformed to make the movie like a current situation as opposed to a story being told that has already happened. 2. In the movie there is a character named Egor, who is Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant, who is not present in the book. We don’t know what specific type of brain the monster has in the book, but in the movie it’s Egor who gets the brain that’s used for the monster, and he gets and abnormal criminal brain. The use of Egor and an abnormal brain greatly affect the difference in the character of the monster in the book verses in the movie. 3. When the monster is brought to life in the movie Dr. Frankenstein is thrilled by the factthat his experiment has been a success. In the book Dr. Frankenstein is horrified by his creation and the fact that he has messed with powers that are beyond human control and runs away from the situation, whereas in the movie he at first celebrates his accomplishments and actually relishes the fact that he has captured the ability to play God, he even says “Now I know what it feels like to be God”. –Movie Clip 24.30 Scene 6 4. The monster in Mary Shelley's book is portrayed as intelligent and sensitive, giving him motivation for his actions. The monster in the movie is unintelligent; he lacks this depth. 5. The drowning of Frankenstein's nephew William in the book is transformed into the drowning of Maria in the movie, a little girl unrelated to him. Whereas the killing in the book is intentional, the killing in the movie is accidental. Additionally, the storyline of young Justine Moritz being found guilty of and executed for William's murder is lost in the movie. – Movie Clip 48.15 Scene 11 6. Elizabeth's murder in the book (again intentional) is transformed into a mere scaring ofElizabeth in the movie; she survives. Combined with the transformation above (Mariadying instead of William), much of the element of tragedy is lost in the film because nobody from Frankenstein's family has been murdered. – Movie Clip 54.20 Scene 12 7. The ending of the story is transformed in that the book has a sad ending while the movie has a happy one. In the book Dr. Frankenstein dies from illness while on the boat in the Arctic; Frankenstein then goes off to die on the ice since he no longer has his creator who he needs to punish. In the movie Frankenstein dies by fire, as opposed to ice,and Dr. Frankenstein is allowed to continue living his life with his wife, the happily everyafter Hollywood ending. Closing remarks: Theses transformations were necessary 1) because of time constraints; this was only a 70 minute movie and 2) to make the movie sellable and appropriate for Hollywood. The effect of these transformations is that much of the overall moral message present in Mary Shelley’s book has been lost in the movie


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