Looking at Frankenstein: Ten Film Visions of Mary Shelley's Novel, 1990-2015
AuthorOsborne, James Elliott
AdvisorMonsman, Gerald C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation considers ten film adaptations of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus produced between 1990 and 2015. The dissertation examines the ten films through critical and historical lenses that permit analysis of them as reflective of certain anxieties and cultural obsessions of the times in which they were produced, and as mirroring issues from Shelley's era that continue to resonate today. The films analyzed are discussed within the context of adaptation theory - principally, but not exclusively, through the analytical framework proposed by Kamilla Elliott in Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate (2003). They are also considered in light of contemporary historical phenomena, such as the end of the Cold War (Corman), and in light of recent advances in genetic research (Wickes, Nispel, Mercurio, Senese, and Rose); the films are also interrogated as to their "faithfulness" to the Shelley text (Branagh and Connor), the hybridization of artistic forms (Boyle/Dear), and the reimagining of Shelley's novel in the tradition of Hollywood and British Frankenstein cinema (McGuigan). The dissertation utilizes filmmaker interviews, contemporary reviews of the films, academic texts, and Shelley's own words as interpretive vehicles to analyze how each film addresses her text and the issues contained therein. The epilogue presents a brief overview of significant breakthroughs in genetic research reported in the summer of 2017, considering these advances as paradigms against which the fictional, semi-fantastic scientific discoveries detailed in the films of Wickes, Nispel, Mercurio, Senese, and Rose can be measured. The epilogue and the dissertation conclude with a brief discussion of Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 (2017), considered as an exploration of certain issues manifested in Shelley's Frankenstein - among others, the creation of a race of motherless "others" and the question of identity - and of issues related to the unfettered use of genetic engineering in pursuit of a capitalist, consumerist ideal.
Degree ProgramGraduate College