GLENDALE ELEMENTARY – FRANKENSTEIN
(review) Richard Zywotkiewicz

***** out of 5

The students of Glendale Elementary have produced an hour long film version of Frankenstein which is truly worthy of Mary Shelley’s work. The production, which stars many students in rotating portrayals of the novel’s characters, is a glossy, epic period film which explores both the horror and the pathos of the central character, a grotesque yet sympathetic victim of science.
The creature, as portrayed by several Glendale students, is seen to be a misunderstood outsider who is capable of both sensitive acts, and horrifying ones. The portrayals by the students are wonderful, particularly in the monster’s final confrontation with his creator towards the film’s conclusion.
Other elements of the novel, including the fragmented love interest between Victor and Elizabeth get equal screen time and reflect upon the Victorian Romanticism of the times. Again, portrayals of the characters are strong, weighing equally upon Victor’s commitment to Elizabeth and his obsession with his scientific theories. Elizabeth is portrayed with rigor as a woman who is resolute in her trust in Victor, yet weary of the dark unknowns of his secret life.
There is humour in this sombre story as well. Victor’s confrontations at the University are played up with rousing exuberance. And Victor’s friendship with a fellow scientist, Waldman, is explored as a thematic device, relaying to the audience the dangerous courtship of science and spiritual philosophy.
All in all, the production is brilliant, given its low budget. The cinematography by various students is steady and the set design is clever. The warm lighting of the Frankenstein mansion is contrasted by the cold bleakness of night. A brilliant stroke by the students.
All in all, the students of Glendale Elementary have produced a fine film in the Mary Shelley name, one which asks many questions about the role of science in society. It also shows, with sensitivity, the tragic consequences of being different in an untrusting society.
And last of all, after the sad and poetic ending, there is a hilarious stretch of outtakes to lighten the mood and let the viewer feel thoroughly provoked and entertained by this excellent film.