Frankenstein Created Woman Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Terence Fisher
Written by Anthony Hinds (as John Elder)
1967, 92 minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 11th, 2019
Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein
Susan Denberg as Christina
Thorley Walters as Doctor Hertz
Robert Morris as Hans
Duncan Lamont as The Prisoner
Peter Blythe as Anton
Derek Fowlds as Johann
In 1957, actor Peter Cushing (Horror Express) brought the character of Victor Frankenstein to life in the Hammer classic The Curse of Frankenstein. Over the next fifteen years he would reprise the role five times in a series of loosely connected sequels. In 1967, he filmed Frankenstein Created Woman, the fourth entry in the series with one of the more outlandish plots. It is difficult providing a synopsis for this title without getting too deep into spoiler territory, but here we go.
Baron Frankenstein and Dr. Hertz are conducting experiments to capture the human soul; to study it and in time transfer it to another body. Their young lab assistant Hans is in love with a disfigured girl named Christina, whose father runs the only pub in town. She is openly taunted and teased by three fancy lads who come from prominent families and have nothing better to do than drink and act like jerks. One night they accidentally commit a murder and find a way to blame Hans. He is arrested, tried and executed within a matter of days. Christina is heartbroken and throws herself off a bridge to her death. Frankenstein takes advantage of the opportunity and places Hans’ soul inside Christina’s body. She is now beautiful and confident but also driven by a deep desire for revenge. His experiment was a success, but the Baron has created a new kind of monster.
Directed by Terence Fisher (Dracula: Prince of Darkness), the movie is more interested in metaphysics than classic chills. Most of the standard genre elements are present, but the motivation is different this time. Working from a screenplay by Anthony Hinds (The Reptile) – credited here as John Elder – Fisher explores the concept and properties of the human soul and focuses Frankenstein’s experiments on energy and indestructible matter. Dr. Frankenstein has always been a sociopath, but he is more benevolent and thoughtful here. He is more interested in what makes us human rather than creating new life.
Peter Cushing once again gives a towering performance that carries the picture despite some extended absences from later scenes. He remains committed to the role and lends much credibility to the film’s outlandish plot. Frankenstein Created Woman can be viewed as a fairy tale for adults; equal parts Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Former Playboy Playmate (1966) Susan Denberg is quite good in the part of Christina, the beautiful yet vengeful creation. She does a lot of the heavy lifting in the second half of the picture and is haunting in her depiction of a restless spirit. It is fun watching her track down those who wronged her in her previous life as she tries to gain a better sense of self. This isn’t the strongest entry in the series but it is still entertaining and I can easily recommend adding it to your collection.
Video and Audio:
The original camera negative has received a 2K scan and restoration, presented in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Colors pop and black levels are bottomless with natural-looking flesh tones throughout.
The original mono recording is offered via a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix that keeps dialogue levels clean and free from distortion. Music cues are well-balanced with sound effects making for a satisfying presentation.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
Film historians Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr examine the picture in their audio commentary. They make the fairy tale connection and provide detailed notes from an annotated copy of the original script. They discuss the tasteful direction, character development and recurring themes and also share several interesting production stories.
In an audio commentary recorded in 2013, actors Derek Fowlds and Robert Morris are joined by film historian Jonathan Rigby to share their memories from the shoot. This is a relaxed, conversational discussion full of laughter and good times. Rigby provides some notes on the making of the picture and asks the stars thoughtful questions and allows them the time to properly answer.
In a newly recorded interview (11 minutes), actor Robert Morris reflects on his time during filming. He talks about working with Terrance Fisher, co-star Susan Denberg and shooting some challenging scenes.
The segment Creating Frankenstein Created Woman (12 minutes) features an interview with camera assistant Eddie Collins who remembers the shoot fondly. He discusses the specifics of his job and shares his thoughts on how film production has changed over the years. 2nd Assistant Director Joe Marks appears briefly in a separate interview intercut with Collins’ in which he shares his thoughts on the movie.
World of Hammer Episode “The Curse of Frankenstein” (25 minutes), narrated by Oliver Reed this episode, focuses on the studio’s long-running franchise starring Peter Cushing. Music and sound effects overpower the narration to some extent and the clips are of varying picture quality.
World of Hammer Episode “Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing” (25 minutes) spotlights on the career of one of the studio’s biggest stars. It is composed of clips from several of his pictures, including Brides of Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Mummy and more.
In Hammer Glamour (44 minutes), many of the women of Hammer Films are gathered to discuss their memories of working with the studio. Valerie Leon, Caroline Munro, Martine Beswicke, Madeline Smith and Jenny Hanley are just some of the women interviewed and while all have fond memories of the system, there are a few prickly moments when it comes to on-camera nudity expectations. They discuss the career opportunities they received and the dynamic of acting over merely showing up and looking pretty.
There are two theatrical trailers included along with three black and white TV spots.
Additional marketing materials include three radio ads.
A photo gallery plays as a silent slideshow (6 minutes), featuring promotional stills, behind-the-scenes images and publicity shots in both color and black-and-white
A second gallery dedicated to posters and lobby cards also plays as a silent slideshow (6 minutes).
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