It's no wonder that the title of the film is mistakenly associated with Karloff's character rather than Colin Clive's. Although the latter does a decent job as the mad scientist ("It's alive!" x 7), the emotional centre of the picture is the excuse for a human hewn from dead flesh, born into an unkind world, completely bemused by existence, and tormented by his brainless creator and his assistant.
It's Victor (Frankenstein) who is the monster.
Director James Whale is much more at home in the laboratory, filled with the paraphernalia of, ironically, the magic of science. Dials, levers and buzzing electrical charges casting dancing shadows and blinding flashes while Clive, hunched over his "child" directs Igor to haul the operating table up to the storm-lashed tower.
The rest of the film is not only dull, but poorly made. Victor's father, Henry, Baron Frankenstein, is the bumbling comic relief, created presumably because the producers didn't want the audience frightened to death. The introduction, with producer Laemmle coming from behind a curtain to warn us of the looming horror is a deliberate ploy to crank up the fear, but this is totally undermined by clunky dialogue