It’s ALIVE 💥 The FrankenPod Pilot

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The FrankenPod Blog

This is our pilot episode in which Brent and I stumble through the disparate plot points of the 1818 gothic novel Frankenstein or the Modern day Prometheus by Mary Shelley and the 1931 movie Frankenstein directed by James Whale and adapted by James L. Balderston.

The differences between the novel and the movie are so numerous that listing them in detail would take forever.

But here are the 10 most notable differences we touched on in our podcast.

10 Differences Between the Book and the Movie of Frankenstein 

Frankenstein_poster_19311. Victor vs. Henry

The 1931 movie changes the name of Doctor Frankenstein from Victor to Henry. Maybe in an effort to make him more appealing? They take other steps to redeem the mad scientist, Fritz, for example, is the manifestation of some of the traits that don’t make the transition from the Victor of the book to Henry of the film. Because he is animating his creature somewhat in the open in the film he doesn’t need to be as duplicitous as he is in the novel. He also doesn’t sully his hands with a lot of the more gruesome aspects of the creation of his creature and is thus, more acceptable, maybe?

He is, of course, still an awful human being.

2. The Creature vs. The Monster

The movie denies the Creature a voice and denies his the ability to be perceived as an innocent. Whilst the Creature of the novel is depicted sympathetically, with the capacity to learn and love, the Monster of the film still shows some of that potential but as he has no voice and basically no time to develop in any way.  The space and time afforded to the creature through his solitude is key to the relatability of Frankenstein’s creation in Shelley’s novel. But James Whale didn’t have the luxury of a whole novel to develop his Monster’s character, but you can see the humanity of Boris Karloff’s bumbling creature in his confusion, fear and desire to understand and explore the world around him.

 

3. The Fritz Situation

Fritz is the vehicle for all that is distasteful in the creation process. His absence in the novel means that Victor is reliant on his own resources. He also has a bitter and morose internal monologue that would have not translated to screen. An assistant allows him to neatly offload scientific exposition, with the added feature that Fritz is a dislikeable low stakes person for the monster’s first kill.

 

4. Bad Brains

The movie gives us the brain mix up as an easy out to the dilemma that Shelley sets up… to what extent does Frankenstein harbour responsibility for his creatures actions, and to what extent are the frightened humans of the story culpable for what the creature becomes? If we are to believe that a criminal brain is only capable of criminality as posited by Doctor Waldman then surely the monster was only capable of dangerous or criminal behaviour. In one neat action, Fritz dropping the brain gives us a scapegoat and an excuse for dispatching a creature that is problematic.

 

5. Elizabeth

Elizabeth still has a limited presence in the film, in the novel she is both an object to be desired and a person Victor can project his mother issues onto. In the movie, however, she is denied even that level of depth. Although Frankenstein does seem to value her more highly than his friend (Victor in the film, Henry in the novel) which is more than I can say for Victor’s respect for her in the novel. Mary Shelley is not unsympathetic to Elizabeth, she advocates for the innocent Justine, despite how deeply affected she is by William’s death. She is loyal, compassionate, intelligent and courageous, all of which seems to be lost on Victor.

 

Whale_and_Karloff
 By Universal Studios – http://www.terrortrove.com/happy-birthday-to-james-whale/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42699714
6. The Crimes of the Creature

It takes the creature months to kill someone and a lot of awful things have happened to him, pushing him to the edge. The movie has the Creature killing Fritz within the first day of his existence, then Dr Waldman and then little Maria (the girl whose dad left her by the lake with a cat that is very clearly dead as her companion. There is also a slew of violent attacks including his weird predatory attack on Elizabeth and culminating in his attempt destroy his creator. He is painted as violent, but that violence springs from fear rather than hatred. The novel has the space to complicate and problematize the Creature’s crimes further. His first crime is arson as he attempts to gain some impotent vengeance on the DeLacy family who rejected him, this is the point at which the Creature snaps. From here on he carries out the brutal murder of little William Frankenstein, frames the unfortunate and noble Justine and fixates on bringing about a kind of exquisite suffering on Victor. There is a moment of hope, in which the Creature reaches out to Victor to end his isolation and lessen his suffering. He asks for a companion, why he thinks that introducing another creature to the level of suffering he experiences seems like a reasonable thing to him is one of the most unreasonable and illogical expectations the Creature has. But the destruction of his bride breaks this fraught truce and the Creature then kills those closest to Victor, his best friend Henry and his wife Elizabeth. This is his final crime, although Victor will attempt to blame the death of his father and his own suffering through the subsequent chase on the Creature.

 

7. The Missing Letters

The very effective framing narrative of Walton’s expedition, which sets the tone for the entire novel, is entirely missing from the movie. We come to the movie with only a few minutes of introduction from an announcer giving a monologue or prologue warning of the horror that is about to ensue. This change in framing redirects our attention somewhat away from the ethical dilemma of creation at play and onto the monstrosity of the creature itself. Walton’s doomed expedition primes us for Victor’s obsession, without this framing narrative the focus can be shifted slightly away from the dangerous ambition and self-centred hubris. That is to say that without Walton spend more time beholding the monstrous spectacle of the creature, than the monstrous spectacle of his creator.

 

8. The Outcome

In the movie, the audience can rest safely knowing that the town and the doctor are safe and that he might have learnt his lesson. The creature appears to be dead and everything seems to be tied up in a neat little bow. Shelley, on the other hand, leaves us with a tragic end. Everyone is dead, doomed or miserable. Walton’s men may get out of the icy wastelands alive but that is as close to a happy ending as we get. The creature remains alive but has no desire to stay that way.

 

9. The Swiss Landscape

The Switzerland of the film is villages, lakes and windmills. But the novel is able to give us a more complex look at the Swiss landscapes and their surrounds with the Creature and Victor undertaking vast treks, depicted through sweeping descriptive romantic prose. The Swiss are depicted as a noble society in the novel, but unfortunately, the movie only deals in villager stereotypes and class-based stereotypes.

 

338px-Frankenstein_engraved
 By Theodor von Holst – http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/gothicnightmares/rooms/room2_works.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6844740
10. The Moral of the Story

If I was to grossly simplify the message of each text into an easy to digest statement it would probably go thus:

The movie: Creation is dangerous, entities can be born evil and it takes a village and a hero to bring down a monster.

The novel: The cruelty and ambition of man are inherently dangerous and should not be left unchecked.

 

References

Shelley Wollstonecraft, Mary. “Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus.”

Different editions used listed below

  • Project Gutenberg: http://www. gutenberg. org/files/84/84-h/84-h. htm (2008).
  • Norton Critical Edition
  • Audible Audio book narrated by Dan Stevens
  • Gothic Treasury of the Supernatural
Frankenstein (1931), Universal Pictures. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021884/
Hitchcock, Susan Tyler. Frankenstein: A cultural history. WW Norton & Company, 2007.

And a whole bunch of articles I didn’t write down. I promise I’ll do better

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It’s times like this when I’m standing in a freezing cold park in west albury at 9am on a Sunday morning waiting for permission to walk 4.3kms with a bunch of school kids that I question my life choices.

Update 09.36

Scotts School just showed up with bagpipes and a big fuck off drum. Becausd that’s definitly what this Sunday morning fun run was missing.

Update 09.43

Just had a thought… what if they do the school can with the bag pipes…  okay I take back all my sarcastoc under and overtones. That would be amazing. 

National Folk Festival Day 1… first volunteer shift 8.37am

So… not sure if I’m supposed to be wearing high visibility stuff right now. Waiting out the front of the community arts tent for someone to show up.

The sun is radiating off the dew covered canvas. Steam rising dramatically from then tents.

It’s a bit chilly, and very quiet apart from the thuds and cranks of the set up crew. The bunting is flapping eerily in the wind. 

I should have brought my head phones

Maybe I should grab a coffee.

You cannot unsee the photos of children of Syria

I have no new photos

No new words

We are in a time of crisis, and it DOES effect us. 

Call, write, email, lobby, annoy. Let’s be relentless. Let’s make sure they know that sanction ARE NOT GOING TO CUT IT THIS TIME.

My friends in Albury you can find Susan Ley’s details here

Friends in Wodonga and surrounds you can find Cathy McGowan’s details here

Prime minister Malcom Turnbull here

Foreign minister Julie Bishop here

Pokeball Poi

So someone with more time and patience could follow a pattern and do this beautifully…

I, however, have opted to do my usual jazz crochet, improvised… but without the skill of an accomplished jazz musician.

More like a guy who has never seen a saxaphone before trying to play it my hitting in with a cymbal.

That sort of Jazz crochet. 

Do you follow?

Wash out

I do believe Summer may have lulled us into complacency. I hate being hot and sweaty but I had kind of resigned myself that it was now my lot in life to slowly roast to death in the gradual onset of a massive climate change. But that is still not quite how seasons work and the first big storm of Autumn certainly made an impact. Our little turtle house held up pretty well but our neighbour’s canvas tent, a magnificent gorgeous thing in more friendly conditions, was completely washed out to the extent that they made a midnight evacuation to less porous accomadation. 

The claps of thunder brought a sheepish 9 year old to the foot of our bed and he sat with his step dad, watching the radar and checking on the fire started by a nearby lightening strike on the emergency services app.

By the morning we were pretty much the only loiterers left, besides a sad, slumped canvas tent and the less wet patches signifying where the caravans had been.

Then like a cliché in a hastily written blog post the ducks arrived.

Tonight I will attempt to battle with my eternal nemesis; the wet weather campfire.

Wish me luck…

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​I do not wish to alarm you but your human is on fire again

It was a beautiful Sunday night in May, the crisp cold night air tickled my nose as I stood on the front doorstep, quietly deliberating what to do with my evening. The night was young and the sounds of cheeky crickets drifted across the calm suburban landscape. A bath maybe, or a moonlit stroll? Perhaps a game of chicken with the stupid fluffy canine a few doors down. My tail twitched as I remembered how close the mangy mutt came to taking a substantial chunk out of it last time I paid him a visit. No, no adventures tonight, a nice relaxing bath sounded just right. I sat down and extended my tongue, when a sudden noise disturbed me. Then the smell of smoke filled the air and I knew exactly where it was coming from. Sighing, I stretched and stood back up, the bath would have to wait. I wasn’t particularly hungry but one shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Or let a stray human get away unscented. 
Straining like I never used to as a kitten I jumped the fence and walked carefully and cautiously past the tall stinky boxes the humans put their waste food in. There she was sitting on the steps of the neighbours; the woman next door was on fire again. Careless bloody human. She looked so cold bouncing her legs up and down. I have no idea why the hell that silly hairless creature goes out there just to set herself alight and breathe smoke out into the night air. Trying not to think about the pain that is now shooting up my thigh I attempted to hobble gracefully over to the steps were the human is perched. The human, notices and acknowledges me with the usual series of grunts and garbled noise. She’s not terrible as far as humans go, a bit unfriendly sometimes, and smelly, but not aggressive or dangerous. Not like the small human that lives there, which charges unprovoked at anything that moves. They need to put a muzzle on that thing, I’m sure there would be a cage or something that could house such an agro beast. You wouldn’t catch my human behaving like that. She would know better than to bring one of those small aggressive humans into my house. Its a good thing she has me to look after her but this human, this human is so lost without a cat to guide her.

I sidle up to her to make her smell a bit better. I tentatively rubbed up against her leg, just to let her know that I’m open to food if she has some. Her legs are black today, and she cleans my white fur off her. Yeah sure, you smell of smoke and you look like you are about to die of hypothermia, but yeah a couple of hairs are the main problem here. She didn’t appear to have any food, disappointing, but sadly not surprising. And I had wasted precious bath time. I thought I may as well leave her to her combustion. I don’t understand the compulsion to light bits of stuff on fire and inhale them deeply. It can’t be good for her. Oh well. Not my human not my problem. I head home, but decided to walk around the fence this time, not to repeat the same undignified landing and risk pulling another muscle. I know I shouldn’t sticky beak but all of these stray humans moving into the neighbourhood without cats to look after them is really troubling. I suppose, I thought shuddering, it could be worse they could have a terrier. 



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Camp Shower’s Big Adventure

Today I:

  • drove 20kms at 100kmph
  • Went around 3 round abouts 
  • Went into 2 shops 
  • Dropped the kids off at their various schools
  • Drove in town for 15 minutes

All without noticing our camp shower on the boot of my car until some lovely guy at the traffic lights told me.

1. Ffs Morgan get your shit together
2. High five camp shower for hanging on like a trooper

Coffee time me thinks…

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