I don't know what's more amazing: that we have another literary classic performed by the great James Mason, or that we STILL have one more remaining after this one! There are a handful of voices I could listen to reading the Yellow Pages, and Mason is one of them. I have to admit, though, that this one differs from the previous ones we have heard--here, he tries to affect a sort of German accent (well, the text speaks of Geneva, so let's call it Swiss-German), though mildly and not annoyingly, and his reading here is much more boisterous and blustering than our previous recordings. At times, this works very well, as in the brief interchanges we are given showing Victor Frankenstein's encroaching madness. At other times, it just makes for a louder record.
Having not read the original work for some years, I was reminded at how, in the golden age of movie-making, Hollywood, in this case Universal, could actually be a force for improving a literary work, and not the reverse, as we so often see today. Imagine Karloff starring in a more literal, truer-to-the-text film version, and you'd probably have a dramatic achievement, but not the enduring classic we have today...certainly not the start of an unending parade of participants in the mythos that was really started by the Universal version, and has appeared in countless films, cartoons, comics, and goodness-knows-everything-else. The flat head, the bolts on the neck, the animation achieved by lightening in a gothic old castle....good grief, consider even that the general public still refers to the MONSTER as "Frankenstein" just for a minute.
Discussing the exceptions to this archetype and how they differed (Christopher Lee, for example), would just end up including De Niro and Branagh in our discussion, and really bring me down, so let's not. It's Friday, and let's just fixate on that. Enjoy!"That's Franken-SHTEEN"