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210px-1931 lugosi frankenstein

A poster of Lugosi as The Monster.

Universal's Frankenstein is one if not the most popular, iconic, and beloved horror films of all time. One of the biggest draws to the film is Boris Karloff's performance as the Monster. Portraying the Monster as sympathetic, this performance has become the most recognizable version of the Monster. However the part of the Monster was not originally given to Boris Karloff, but instead Bela Lugosi.

Test Reel

The famous horror actor Bela Lugosi was well known for his portrayal as Dracula. While filming Dracula, Universal decided to start it's next project which became Frankenstein. Lugosi became the first actor to be cast as the Monster and he wished to create his own makeup, however his design was rejected. Several test reels with Edward Van Sloan (Dr. Waldman) and another which clocked in at 20-minutes were filmed on Dracula sets and directed by Robert Florey. After these tests, Lugosi rejected the non-speaking and heavily made-up role saying, "I was a star in his own country and I will not be a scarecrow here!" After the film was released Lugosi regretted his decision. Over time, the test reels (which were never shown to the public) became lost. The footage, like many other cut scenes from Hollywood's past, became lost. It was likely destroyed by Universal on the grounds that it was unimportant.

Note

The line "Now I know what it feels like to be god!" was almost lost from the film. When the film was rereleased in late 1930s the line was cut do to accusations of blasphemy and was substituted with a clap of thunder. When the film was released on video no good quality recording could be found. The line was restored after further restoration for the DVD release.

References

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021884/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt

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