It's all eyes! It's all eyes!
Okay, that's not exactly what Frankenstein shouts, but it seems like it should be when you look at the opening credits. The screen shows a blurry face, and then lots of open eyes spiraling around it. Check it out.
But what on earth does this have to do with Frankenstein? Frankenstein is about a monster, not about an attack by disembodied floating eyes (though that would be creepy too, we admit). Maybe James Whale just thought floating eyes were cool?
Nah, that would be too easy. The eyes can also be read as a symbol—that's why we're mentioning them in our Symbols Analysis, right?
Frankenstein is all excited about the possibilities of looking and observing. He asks Waldman:
Have you never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars? Or to know what causes the trees to bud? And what changes the darkness into light?
Frankenstein wants to see everything, and he wants to know everything. He wants to be God, and specifically he wants to be God as all-knowing, and all-seeing.
So the eyes there can be seen as a symbol of Frankenstein's vision and of his ambition to expand that vision. Or the eyes could be seen as a kind of representation of God—those floating eyes are watching Frankenstein (and judging him hardcore), even as he thinks he's the one doing all the watching and seeing.
There's one last possible interpretation of the eyes. They float around there at the beginning of the film, so they could be a reflection of you. You, out there, are watching Frankenstein with your creepy, floating eyes.
The eyes then could also symbolize the viewers—all you witnesses sitting there, watching and judging everything, just like Frankenstein wants to watch and judge everything. After all, in a movie about a man whose greatest aspiration is to be all seeing, he's still not as all-seeing as the audience observing him.
Hmm. Maybe ol' Henry should have just binged on Netflix rather than digging up all those corpses.