Images from a recently popped French Bluray of Rowland Lee‘s Son of Frankenstein (’39) have revived an old complaint — the fact that there’s not a great deal of similarity between Boris Karloff‘s monster as he appeared in James Whale’s 1931 original, the 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein and Lee’s 1939 installment (which was Karloff’s swan song). In the 1931 film Karloff was gaunt-featured with dark bangs and dark, blotchy eye bags, and was fairly thin of frame. In Bride of Frankenstein the bangs were gone (burned off by the windmill fire) along with the blotchy eye bags, and Karloff, having gained 15 or 20 pounds since the success of Frankenstein, was a lot beefier. In 1939 he still had that well-fed look and a semblance of bangs had returned, but the under-eye makeup was gone forever. The bottom line is that the ’39 monster didn’t look like the ones in the ’35 or ’31 film — it was like Karloff was playing a brother or a cousin.
Boris Karloff’s monster in 1931’s Frankenstein.
In 1935’s The Bride of Frankenstein.
In 1939’s Son of Frankenstein.