Gods and Monsters

Gods and Monsters is a 1998 period drama film written and directed by Bill Condon, based on Christopher Bram's 1995 novel Father of Frankenstein. The film stars Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich, and David Dukes. Its plot is a partly fictionalized account of the last days of the life of film director James Whale (McKellen), known for directing Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). A veteran of World War I, the aged Whale develops a complicated relationship with his gardener, Clayton Boone (Fraser), a fictitious character originally created by Bram for the source novel.


In the 1950s, James Whale, the director of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, has retired. Whale lives with his long-time housemaid, Hanna, who loyally cares for him but disapproves of his homosexuality. He has suffered a series of strokes that have left him fragile and tormented by memories: growing up as a poor outcast, his tragic World War I service, and the filming of Bride of Frankenstein. Whale slips into his past and indulges in his fantasies, reminiscing about gay pool parties and sexually teasing an embarrassed, starstruck fan. He battles depression, and at times contemplates suicide, as he realizes his life, his attractiveness, and his health are slipping away.