Frankenstein Mis-En Scene Analysis

908 Words4 Pages
Mis-en-Scene Analysis: Frankenstein The creation scene of director James Whale’s film Frankenstein (1931) emphasizes the contrast between light and dark lighting combined with clashing sounds to leave the audience with a reminiscent chill. The classical story by Mary Shelley has been interpreted though film numerous times which has allowed directors to make subjective decisions with the portrayal of the story. The swift, back-and-forth camera angles that Whale utilizes aim to convey the ferocity of the nature-defying creation scene. The four components of mis-en-scene employ German Expressionism tactics throughout the course of in order Frankenstein to highlight the theme of classism that is prevalent throughout the film. Whale sets the creation…show more content…
Frankenstein himself is dressed exactly as a viewer would picture a “mad scientist.” His dirty, white lab coat combined with his unruly hair both serve to characterize him as a man of questionable judgement and lower class when he is compared to the tidy, stiff suits of Moritz and Waldman. Moreover, the character’s makeup reflects the notably heavy appearance that is true to the stylistic technique of German Expressionism. Frankenstein’s dark eyebrows contrasting his pale skin create a hollowed appearance that serves to enhance his unnerving qualities (25:13). However, the color of Frankenstein’s attire is key in emphasizing the deduction that he is of higher class than his assistant Fritz who is dressed in a black, mad-scientist lab coat. Although both of them appear to be mad scientists, Frankenstein is visualized as the better man of higher class because he is wearing white contrary to…show more content…
By having Frankenstein raise the monster up high, as if he is raising him to the heavens, Whales alludes to a supernatural occurrence. Furthermore, it appears as if the monster is making his decent down from heaven as Frankenstein lowers him back to the floor of the laboratory. The spiritual reference is confirmed when Frankenstein proclaims he “[knows] what it feels like to be God” when the monster starts to move his hand which is the first signal that he has come to life (25:11). Whale places a great deal of emphasis on the hands of the characters during this scene by zooming in for a close up of the monster’s hand when he starts to move. The viewers’ attention is again drawn towards the hands of a character as Frankenstein disturbingly rubs his hands together in front of his face in celebration to his creation coming to life. The action of rubbing his hands in front of his face enriches the mood of this scene by making him appear as a villain. Likewise, the blatant difference in the reaction of Frankenstein to the monster coming to life and the reactions of Moritz and Waldman also illustrate the theme of classism. The men see that this act goes against nature, and it is not something that men of class would dare dream which serves to characterize Frankenstein as someone who is of lower class with a questionable morality. Finally, the loud thunder claps from the storm
Open Document