Movies that are not actually good

My point from before that King Kong is a terrible comedy, because it’s not meant to be a comedy, but I really want to talk with someone else who likes Son of Frankenstein.

Did you see Young Frankenstein first? I think that’s the first problem with people not liking Son of Frankenstein, that modern audiences have trouble seeing what was a serious scene in the 1930s that they’ve seen mocked over and over in “reruns” for decades. I personally think that the Son of Frankenstein production did a great job of using shadows to cover up what was originally a much smaller budget than Bride; I feel like it’s done in certain sets as well as would be done in later noir films. Finally, I like mixing things up with Son of Frankenstein and replacing Clive’s reactive Dr. F with Rathbone’s more active hero.

Honestly, I’m just throwing this out there to encourage others to talk about Son of Frankenstein. Please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong, just don’t forget the why!


Dracula (1931)? It is a lesser work than its reputation. Lugosi is why it’s memorable. Van Sloan and Fyre help though it is one of the weaker of the famous Universal Monster titles. I have found myself liking it a touch more than my first impression while I’m with you Bela is why it lingers.

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It’s funny. Many of these pictures are concentrated together on my Best Ever.

#122 - The Gold Rush (1925) [1925 Version]
#123 - The General (1926)
#124 - It Happened One Night (1934)
#125 - The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
#126 - King Kong (1933)
#127 - Frankenstein (1931)
#128 - M (1931)
#129 - The Maltese Falcon (1941)
#130 - Young Frankenstein (1974)
#131 - Safety Last! (1923)
#132 - Steamboat Bill, Jr (1928)
#133 - The Freshman (1925)

Comedy touches or directly effects a number of these. King Kong (1933) is in its soul Beauty and the Beast as adventure story and this is its soul. Everything else springs from that and as far as what comedy exists? I do find it a reflection of the tastes of the times. Sure some of the bits may seem awkward to modern eyes though looked through the prism of its ambitions and inspirations it falls into place as spectacular from 1933 and in my mind about as perfect as a movie like that can be.

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I’m having trouble following a bit of what you’re saying, but in case I wasn’t clear earlier, Bride is the one I really don’t like, and it does not seem to be intended to be taken seriously either. It’s a comedy and fails at being one, in my opinion.

Son is genuinely good and has aged well. Definitely the one Universal Frankenstein film to seek out and watch, in my opinion.


I find Son (1939) perfunctory personally. Good but not per say great. I suppose if the Whales don’t work for you that would be the next best in line.

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I’m so sorry. I made some adjustments to make clear I was talking about Son of Frankenstein. I really wanted to see if you or others had additional thoughts about its strengths.


To add to the list of critically acclaimed films worth storing in the waste bin, I present the Soviet sci-fi epic Солярис (Solaris). This movie is good enough that my library has 3 copies and Criterion felt the need to create an edition.

The movie is a strange mixture of incredibly slow pacing layered with a LSD induced fever dream. It is so slow it makes the first Star Trek movie feel like Jason Statham’s Crank 2 High Voltage. There are random midgets. The movie probably contains 15 minutes of stock highway footage and 30 minutes of swirling pond scum.

It is a confusing mess. It definitely has an interesting premise. The premise alone has carried it to fame. I can see why it’s famous. But it is not a good film by any measure.


Be careful!!! You are about to wake some people. This is a sacred film for a number of folks. It is inaccessible to about anyone except die hard film people. I eye plenty of talent and skill albeit it is interesting but not necessarily satisfying to those unfamiliar with The Criterion Collection. I had to watch it many times to digest it and it’s not one I’d suggest to just anyone. Is it a bad film? I can’t say. Is it a great film? To me a great film should be self-evident to most viewers and this fails that test. Again if you have Criterions in your collection? This is a different story. Otherwise it’s not for most. It is 2001 (1968) Bergman Style.

All three are on my Best Ever. Doom (1984) as Roger Ebert called it is a Bruised Forearm Picture and I believe it’s one of the best and among the greatest follow-ups in film history. Its overindulgence is across the board and transcends it into warped territory that really seems to suit the film. I too thought it much for a decade and then watching on TCM 15 years ago it clicked with me and its stock rose ever since. Crusade (1989)? Also incredible as the heart of the series. Sean Connery and Harrison magnificently play off each other and that last 30 minutes wraps up the series.

My Best Ever -

#46 - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
#103 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
#352 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

I comprehend what you mean. Intention is everything. Whatever anything desires or wishes to become is what it should be graded on. A category something is not should not be used as a criteria to judge it. I agree with that.

I don’t mind. As I stated before, they are entitled to their opinions as I am my own.

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I was actually trying to be friend. :wink:

Also I didn’t mean for that to sound as terse as I think it does.

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To say Raiders lacks characterization is… I can see why some people may think that, but I don’t agree. Lawrence Kasdan and Steven Spielberg just don’t beat you over the head with it.


True. It’s purely spread over the bread differently. But it is there. The action dictates much. Yet watch Harrison Ford’s body language, facial expressions, eyes, and reaction shots. Characterization is there and abundantly only it is in the background rather than in the forefront. For example, the exposition in the lecture hall. You are given the Grail Legend and vibrant close-ups of Harrison and Elliott explaining it and in their delivery, excitement, and line readings you are swimming in character. “Wiped clean by the wrath of God.” “Do you guys ever go to Sunday School?” “Good God.” “Yes that’s just what the Hebrews thought.” Personality exists. Underneath the actions. It’s clear to see.

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I’ll mostly credit Lugosi’s Ygor for that one… he’s just so disturbing its easily among his best performances.


Karloff is also good. While I miss the talking. His presence gives it legitimacy. Son (1939) is 24 minutes longer than Bride (1935) and 29 minutes longer than Frankenstein (1931). The added runtime forces late 30s dramatic formula in various ways. The Wife, The Constable. Consequently the story is more predictable and hasn’t the pace of Whale. Lugosi? He is the standout ingredient in a film otherwise lacking in urgency or a reason to exist. Saying that it is the third best Frankenstein overall.


Steven Soderburgh did an experiment where he took Raiders of the Lost Ark and removed the color and sound to see how well the story held up without the familiar cues.

This is not the film itself, but an essay about it, which highlights how great Spielberg really is at visual storytelling and characterization.


While I do like how Son of Frankenstein mixes things up from the earlier two movies in the series by making Rathbone’s Dr. Son a more active hero, it does make the film less unique in comparison to other films.

Also, Son of Frank kicks off the second Universal Monster era, after the re-releaases of Frankenstein and Dracula the year prior, so a lot of the choices made here are soon to be run into the ground as cliches by 1945.


I know we’re veering off topic a little bit, but I will contribute that my favorite Frankenstein film is Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein from 58 I think? That one beats all the Universal stuff, in my humble opinion, especially with the subtle twist at the ending. Really cool monster flick. I’m not huge on Hammer stuff in general (a lot of what I’ve seen is serviceable but not amazing) but when they do a good one they really do a good one and that one deserves its accolades.

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