Bela Lugosi's Performance In Frankenstein Movie (Lost Test Reel Footage; 1931)

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.


The line "Now I know what it feels like to be God!" was almost lost from the film. When the film was re-released in late 1930s the line was overdubbed by with a clap of thunder following accusations of blasphemy, which would've rendered the film banned under the then-present Motion Picture Production Code (colloquially known as the Hays Code). Because the edits were made to the master negative rather than a copy, the change was irreversible. When the film was released on video, no good quality recording could be found, and the line was seemingly lost. However, upon the film's DVD release, a restored version of the line was added back in



Add your comment
The Lost Media Wiki welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

This site is best viewed at 1920x1080 screen resolution.
Powered by MediaWiki Creative Commons Licence