Throughout the years, Hollywood has been notorious for taking classic novels, and turning them into big blockbuster movies. However, in order for Hollywood to make money, they feel the need to make drastic changes to the characters and plot so that the average everyday moviegoer will be entertained. Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus is no exception to this and it can be shown through the many different movies that have been adapted from Mary Shelly’s timeless novel. In the original text, Frankenstein’s monster is portrayed as an intelligent creature that can run like a gazelle and can speak eloquently.
However, Hollywood’s version is very different and many differences can be pointed out through the novel. For example, in the novel Frankenstein, the monster speaks eloquently with an impressive vocabulary. Victor Frankenstein encounters the monster on a glacier and the monster speaks with an educated vocabulary when it says, “Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded.
I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous. ” (87) The way the creature speaks and how knowledgeable it makes itself out to be highly contrasts the monster in movies such as Boris Karloff’s adaption in Frankenstein where the monster or as it is incorrectly named, Frankenstein, does not even speak English and instead simply groans and does not have any grasp of knowledge. Hollywood directors know that people do not want to watch a movie with an intelligent being because it is not as entertaining.
People prefer to watch movies about mindless creatures because it is an escape from reality and the original creature is just too normal for the average person’s taste. Another way that the creature in the novel differs from Hollywood’s version is the time the creature spends observing the Delacey family. The family consists of a man, woman, and an old man. The creature spends his time stealing their food but as he observes them, he begins to realize that they are an unhappy family, mainly because of their poverty.
The creature realizes that they are poor because he steals their food and because of his guilty conscience, he stops stealing their food. This version of the monster is extremely different than the monster shown on the silver screen. This creature actually has a conscience and knows right from wrong. The “Frankenstein” from the movies however does not have a conscience and is portrayed as killing machine with no remorse. After realizing what it was doing, the creature instead helps the family by gathering wood for them and leaving it outside their door at night.
Not only does the creature have a conscience, but he also has good intentions. The creature knows that he has done wrong, so he feels that he can make it up to them by helping them gather wood. This dramatic difference between “Hollywood’s Frankenstein” and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein makes one wonder how desperate for money Hollywood is that they can destroy such a complex, intelligent character in order to make money. There are many differences between the creature from Hollywood blockbusters and the original monster from Mary Shelly.
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein portrays the creature as an intelligent being that has a conscience and has educated himself. On the other hand, the creature in the movies is a ruthless killing machine. Movies such as Boris Karloff’s adaption takes away the novel’s integrity in order make money. If a director were to make a movie that portrayed Frankenstein’s monster in the way it was written, the movie probably would not make any money because when people go to the movies, they go to be entertained and captivated.
The reason why the Frankenstein movies have done so well is because they were made to scare moviegoers. Mary Shelly’s creature is not scary in that sense, and nobody would ever pay to see a movie where the monster is intelligent and tries to be accepted by society. However, Hollywood has destroyed Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein so much throughout the years that when people imagine Frankenstein’s monster, they no longer imagine the intelligent creature it was made to be.
Courtney from Study Moose
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