Lady Frankenstein (1971) (2007) Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
I admit that I’m not a big fan of Frankenstein. The idea of a mad scientist creating a living human creature from spare body parts of corpses never fascinated me. Over the years I’ve seen various Frankenstein films or, at least, clips and the story just never did anything for me. That is, until I recently saw the 1971 Italian film “Lady Frankenstein” starring Rosalba Neri (AKA Sara Bey) in the title role of Tania Frankenstein, the beautiful daughter of Baron Frankenstein.
So what sets “Lady Frankenstein” apart from all the other Frankenstein incarnations? Well, the film starts out as a standard Frankenstein flick with Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Charles Marshall trying to create life from the body parts of recently dead corpses. A new element is introduced in this story and that, as expected, is Frankenstein’s daughter Tania. Tania has just graduated medical school as a surgeon and reveals to her father and Charles that she knows what they’re trying to achieve and wants to assist them in their gruesome work. Before they agree to her partnership they successfully give life to a hideous monster. The monster kills Dr. Frankenstein and proceeds to go on a killing spree in the country-side.
Meanwhile Tania and Charles come up with a mad scheme to create another “monster” that will have the same super stength necessary to slay the original creature that murdered Tania’s father. Ultimately it is revealed that Charles profoundly loves Tania, even though he’s much older than her. Tania admits that she loves Charles’ mind but he’s physically too old and feeble to stir her carnal passions. Their insane answer to this predicament is to murder the local retarded hunk and replace his brain with Charles’!! Only then will Tania have her cake and eat it too—the perfect brain with the perfect body!
As you can see, “Lady Frankenstein” takes the done-to-death Frankenstein story and gives it a much-needed new twist, a highly intriguing twist, I might add. Even though this is so, the film would have failed if it didn’t have the right person in the titular role. All I can say is Rosalba Neri (credited as Sara Bey) is magnificent as Tania Frankenstein. It’s more than just her obvious physical beauty, highlighted by those big cat-like eyes, it’s the utter passion and seriousness she puts into the role. Tania fully realizes the womanly power she holds and expertly utilizes it to easily put Charles into a love-trance so profound that he’s actually willing to have his brain transplanted for her. I would have done the same thing, of course; what red-blooded man could possibly resist her?
The American version is only 85 minutes, cut down from the original 96 minutes. I’m gonna be on the look out for the longer version, but the 85 minute version is fine as is. Trust me, Rosalba is fully shown in all her luscious glory in this short version. Interestingly, even though this is so, the film powerfully illustrates that sexuality and true beauty are far more than a matter of simply showing skin as Rosalba expertly oozes beauty and sensuality in every blink, eye movement, word and motion!
In addition, you get everything else you’d ever want in a Frankenstein picture—sincere but sincerely mad “scientists,” dungeons, monsters on the rampage, beautiful damsels, horse-drawn carriages and torch-carrying village mobs out for blood.
Make no mistake, this is a powerful horror film about the insanity of obsession (for achievement, honor, love, loyalty, lust, money and revenge) and its consequences. It’s as good or better than just about any Hammer film. I should add that “Lady Frankenstein” is not goofy, campy or comedic as the cover art of some of the DVDs would suggest; this is a serious take on the Frankenstein story. Highly recommended.
About Lady Frankenstein (1971) (2007)
Starring: Joseph Cotton, Rosalba Neri, Paul Muller, Paul
Runtime: 99 minutes
Director: Mel Welles Aureliano Luppi