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Frankenstein

01/01/1931 (Aprox)


Early on in James Whale’s classic film Frankenstein (1931), Dr. Henry Frankenstein and his hunchbacked assistant Fritz plan to steal a hanged man’s body. However, when the body falls to the ground, the neck breaks and makes the brain “useless.”



The new brain that Fritz steals from the laboratory of Henry’s former professor, Dr. Waldman, is in a jar labeled “abnormal.”

Waldman had explained that the “scarcity of convolutions on the frontal lobe” and the “distinct degeneration of the middle frontal lobe” corresponded exactly with its owner’s life “of brutality, violence, and murder.” Without noticing its anatomical flaws, Henry uses the brain for his creature and urges a bewildered Fritz to “think of it: the brain of a dead man, waiting to live again in a body I made with my own hands!”


Frankenstein highlights the ontological function of the brain. Unless the brain lives, the person doesn’t.
The film certainly illustrates how natural it was in the 1920s to think of a person’s inclinations as determined by the brain and to believe that a diagnosis could be established by observing cortical morphology with the naked eye.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Watch the trailer and two selected scenes from the 1931 movie:
Frankenstein Official Trailer #1 - (1931) HD
Fritz Steals the Brain
It's Alive!
James Whale, film director, on the set of Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

James Whale on IMDb

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Published in 21/02/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 4: Brains on Screen:


01/01/1931 (Aprox)FrankensteinFrankenstein
05/12/1931The New York Times' review of FrankensteinThe New York Times' review of Frankenstein
01/01/1935 (Aprox)Bride of FrankensteinBride of Frankenstein
01/01/1942 (Aprox)Ghost of FrankensteinGhost of Frankenstein
01/01/1974 (Aprox)Young FrankensteinYoung Frankenstein
01/01/1969 (Aprox)Frankenstein Must Be DestroyedFrankenstein Must Be Destroyed
01/01/1970 (Aprox)01/01/2019 (Aprox)From brain transplantation to managing neural information
01/01/1990 (Aprox)Heart ConditionHeart Condition
01/01/1999 (Aprox)HeartHeart
01/01/1969 (Aprox)La Horripilante Bestia HumanaLa Horripilante Bestia Humana
01/01/1924 (Aprox)01/01/1960 (Aprox)Movie adaptations of Orlac's HandsMovie adaptations of Orlac's Hands
01/01/1962 (Aprox)01/01/1964 (Aprox)The Addams FamilyThe Addams Family
01/01/1946 (Aprox)The Beast with Five FingersThe Beast with Five Fingers
01/01/1965 (Aprox)Dr. Terror’s House of HorrorsDr. Terror’s House of Horrors
01/01/1981 (Aprox)The HandThe Hand
01/01/1991 (Aprox)Body PartsBody Parts
01/01/1959 (Aprox)The Brain That Wouldn't DieThe Brain That Wouldn't Die
01/01/1984 (Aprox)Professor Dowell's TestamentProfessor Dowell's Testament
01/01/1996 (Aprox)Cold LazarusCold Lazarus
01/01/1940 (Aprox)01/01/1970 (Aprox)Ectobrains in B-moviesEctobrains in B-movies
01/01/1936 (Aprox)The Man Who Changed His MindThe Man Who Changed His Mind
01/01/1969 (Aprox)Change of MindChange of Mind
01/01/1971 (Aprox)L'homme au cerveau grefféL'homme au cerveau greffé
01/01/1980 (Aprox)Memory moviesMemory movies
01/01/1962 (Aprox)The Manchurian CandidateThe Manchurian Candidate
01/01/1990 (Aprox)Total RecallTotal Recall
01/01/2006 (Aprox)Magdalena's BrainMagdalena's Brain
01/01/1998 (Aprox)Dark CityDark City
01/01/1982 (Aprox)Blade RunnerBlade Runner
01/01/1995 (Aprox)Johnny MnemonicJohnny Mnemonic
01/01/1995 (Aprox)Strange DaysStrange Days
01/01/1932Remembering, by Frederic BartlettRemembering, by Frederic Bartlett
01/01/2004 (Aprox)Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
01/01/2003 (Aprox)PaycheckPaycheck
01/01/1977 (Aprox)Flashbulb Memories, by Brown and KulikFlashbulb Memories, by Brown and Kulik
21/02/2013Speak, Memory by Oliver SacksSpeak, Memory by Oliver Sacks