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Robert Horton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167437

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167437.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Assembling a Monster

Assembling a Monster

(p.13) 2 Assembling a Monster

Robert Horton

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes behind-the-scenes production work in piecing together the 1931 Hollywood classic, Frankenstein. Though Jack Pierce, the make-up artist behind the iconic look of the Frankenstein Monster as remembered today—thick eyebrows, electrodes, and all—had drawn inspiration from Mary Shelley's own nightmarish descriptions, the physiognomy of actor Boris Karloff also contributed to the Monster's overall haunting, corpselike appearance. The film itself—grisly, forbidding, and certainly shocking in its design—endured uneasy receptions from some audiences, prompting the addition of a prologue as well as the censorship of certain scenes. It had even been outright banned in some countries. Yet the formidable labours undergone in creating the film proved a success—the film became a box-office hit; and its monster, though dead and buried, would continue to haunt the generations to come.

Keywords:   Hollywood, Jack Pierce, make-up, Boris Karloff, censorship, prologue, production

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