The Epic Saga Behind ‘Frankenstein: The True Story’

Knuckle Samwitch. Oct. 2023. 406p. ISBN 9798864623428. pap. $45. TV
Boasting more than 1,350 photos (most in full color), this massive chronicle of the making of the all-star 1973 two-part TV movie Frankenstein: The True Story is as visually sumptuous as it is incredibly comprehensive and compelling. This was a highly influential TV movie: in her preface for this book, Anne Rice credits it for inspiring her to write Interview with the Vampire, and Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro calls it a “quirky, brilliant, and moving masterpiece” in his afterword. This homoerotic reimagining of the Mary Shelley classic was scripted by Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy and starred James Mason, Leonard Whiting, Jane Seymour, and the incredibly beautiful Michael Sarrazin as the monster. Irvin’s (I Was a Teenage Monster Hunter!) book is a real labor of love. It offers a fascinating and detailed history of the making of this TV event. A large part of the book presents his interviews with cast members, Bachardy, the assistant director, and an associate producer. The book concludes with an extensive and dishy biography of the film’s outrageous and gay producer, Hunt Stromberg Jr.
VERDICT A hefty treat for film buffs, horror enthusiasts, and fans of hidden gay Hollywood history.
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