Boris Karloff – King of the Monsters

Boris Karloff on set taking a tea and toast break

I don’t think I will get much argument if I say that Boris Karloff was the greatest Frankenstein of them all. Although Peter Boyle was pretty good.

Karloff was a British actor that began stage work in Canada and then made his way to Hollywood. He made some silent films but had to maintain jobs such as ditch digger to survive. By 1931 Karloff was on his way with The Criminal Code (1931) and Five Star Final (1931), a film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Of course, the biggest role of all was that of the monster in Frankenstein (1931). Karloff was about 5 feet 11 inches. The costume that he work for this role had 4-inch platforms and weighed 8 pounds each. Karloff’s costume was designed by Jack Pierce and was copyrighted by Universal Studios making it harder for other studios to copy the success of Frankenstein. Oddly Lon Chaney Sr, father of Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr. Was offer the role of …

Continue reading

Basil Rathbone – A Bad Guy You Love to Hate

Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone was born in South Africa, in 1892, but left as a forthcoming Boer War. In England Rathbone attended Repton School where he excelled at fencing, a skill that would serve him well later in the movies, and showed an interest in theater. After graduation, he worked for one year in business to please his father and then left for the theater. He had a cousin that was managing one of the Shakespearean troupes in Stratford-on-Avon. He joined at the bottom rung and began working his way to larger roles. These roles were interrupted by WWI when Rathbone severed as a second lieutenant in the Liverpool Scottish 2nd Battalion. He was assigned to military intelligence and later received the Military Cross for bravery. In 1919, he returned to Stratford-on-Avon. After a year there he moved to the London stage and eventually began working on Broadway.

Eventually, he left the stage to begin working in movies. His roles evolved from ladies man to sinister villain where his sword work became …

Continue reading

Son of Frankenstein (1939) – Episode 9

Boris Karloff on set taking a tea and toast break

Son of Frankenstein (1939) had some of the biggest stars of their time – Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Hello, today we are going to continue with the October 2014 Frankenstein line. Today’s film is Son of Frankenstein (1939). It is the last of the three Universal Pictures Frankenstein’s and in many ways may be the best of the three. Basil Rathbone was a much better actor than many of the others cast in this role. Bela Lugosi was amazing as Ygor both frightening and enthralling. His hands did half of his acting. Also, Karloff was able to spend more time upright as the monster and showed more of his range of emotions. They covered many of the problems like the exploding castle but fell short on the forgiveness of Dr. F.

Today’s first character is Basil Rathbone who played Baron Wolf von Frankenstein the son of Henry. Rathbone was born in South Africa, in 1892, but left as …

Continue reading