Possibly the archetypal Monster scene, displaying the full horror of his condition; that he is a child, innocent and unknowing, yet capable of utter terrible destruction that leads to tragedy for those around him (and himself). Karloff shows so much in such a few frames, from blank confusion to glee and left in a state of panic, fear and upset. Yet it is not only his acting ability that helps this scene; Marilyn Harris, the little Maria, also is a star conveying pure genuine youthful enthusiasm and a little pulse of horror as she struggles before being plunged into the lake. As with other early horror films, there is no soundtrack; no audio cue of the impending danger, only Karloff’s shaking arms extending and Harris’ protests, then a gulping cry and a grunt of panic. The moment is over in a flash, yet it lingers in the mind long after the film ends, and is one of the key moments cited in the flashback which opens Bride of Frankenstein.
Off-set, Karloff and the company were concerned Harris would be frightened of him, given his gruesome make-up appearance. To their surprise, on assembling for filming she ran directly up to him, took his hand and asked if she could drive with him. Karloff, of course, responded with delight and they drove to the lake together.
If you ever feel unprepared for an exam just know that I went into my English Literature exam without reading any of the books and my only knowledge of Frankenstein was the Phineas and Ferb episode about it and I passed.
I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace
with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine
and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy
the one, I will indulge the other.