Peter Cushing in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), his darkest portrayal of Baron Frankenstein.

Peter Cushing in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), his darkest performance as Baron Frankenstein.



Michael Arruda



Today on THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, that column where we look at Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies, we check out the Hammer Frankenstein flick, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).


FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED has long been one of my favorite Peter Cushing Hammer Frankenstein movies.  By far, it’s Cushing’s most villainous turn as the evil Baron, so much so, that at times it’s almost a turn-off.  Cushing excelled at making his villains heroic, which is why his Baron Frankenstein has always been such a compelling character.  You recognize he’s doing some terrible things, but you like him anyway.  However, Cushing pushed the envelope with his portrayal of Baron Frankenstein in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and as a result it’s difficult to like the character this time around.


Still, there are some terrific memorable quotes from this movie.  So, here we go, a look at some cool Peter Cushing quotes from FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, screenplay by Bert Batt, based on a story by Batt and Anthony Nelson Keys.


The tone is set early on in this scene where Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) overhears a conversation among his fellow guests at the boarding house where he’s staying.  The guests are discussing Professor Brandt, an inmate at the local asylum.  Brandt is infamous because of his experiments involving the transplanting of people’s brains.  The guests think it’s ludicrous that anyone undergoing such an operation would survive, and they believe that these ridiculous experiments are responsible for driving Brandt mad.


Of course, the guests don’t realize that Baron Frankenstein is sitting in the room with them. 


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Excuse me, I didn’t know that you were doctors.


GUEST:  Doctors?  We’re not doctors.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I beg your pardon.  I thought you knew what you were talking about.


GUEST:  You’re damn rude, sir.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I’m afraid that stupidity always brings out the worst in me.


GUEST:  Stupidity?


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Yes, stupidity!  It’s fools like you who have blocked progress throughout the ages. You make pronouncements on half facts that you don’t understand anyway. 


GUEST:  — Explain the word “progress” in this context.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  You wouldn’t understand it.  But I will give you a parallel that you may just appreciate.  Had man not been given to invention and experiment, then tonight sir you would have eaten your dinner in a cave.  You would have strewn the bones about the floor, and then wiped your fingers on a coat of animals.  In fact, your lapels do look somewhat greasy.  Good night.




In FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, Baron Frankenstein plans to break Dr. Brandt out of the insane asylum so he can operate on him to cure his insanity because Brandt has a secret that the Baron must know.

Frankenstein blackmails a young doctor Karl (Simon Ward) and his girlfriend Anna (Veronica Carlson) to help him when he learns that they’re stealing drugs and selling them on the black market in order to pay for medical services for Anna’s mother.


Frankenstein tells Karl to steal the floor plans to the asylum so they can break Brandt out, but Karl refuses to help the Baron until he learns who he is.


KARL:  Who are you?


BARON FRANKENSTEIN: Did you get the plan?


KARL:  I’ll do no more until you tell me who you are, what you’re involved in—.


(FRANKENSTEIN strikes Karl across the face.  He then points at Anna.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Stay where you are!  I am Baron Frankenstein.


ANNA:  Frankenstein!


KARL:   I thought the world had seen the last of you.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN: So did a lot of other people.





Later, Karl wants to know why Frankenstein is so interested in Dr. Brandt.


KARL:  Why are you doing all this?


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Brandt has a secret that I must know.  In order to learn that secret, I must cure his insanity.  


KARL: What secret?


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  We were involved in the problems of transplanting of the human brain.  We both achieved it.


KARL:  Utterly impossible.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I assure you, it isn’t.  We had both found a way of making an immediate transplant from one body to another.  We corresponded on the subject.  Our next step was to find a way of freezing brains without destroying the living cells so they could be stored for future use.  My research went badly, but Brandt discovered the technique.  He wrote to me.  And we arranged to meet for the first time.  He was to tell me the secret.   Unfortunately, two days before we were due to meet, he went mad, the pressure of his work had broken him.  He disappeared.  Shortly afterwards, I was hounded out of the country.


KARL:  It’s horrifying.  But it still doesn’t explain why you were doing it.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  We were seeking to preserve for all time the great talents and geniuses of the world.  When they die their brains are at the height of their creative power, and we bury them under the ground to rot, because the bodies that house them have worn out.  We want to remove those brains at the instant of death, and freeze them, thus preserving for posterity, all they contain.



Hot on Frankenstein’s trail throughout FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is the snuff-sniffing Inspector Frisch (Thorley Walters).  When Mrs. Brandt (Maxine Audley) tells him she met with Baron Frankenstein but didn’t go to the police immediately, he tells her bluntly:


INSPECTOR:  That was very stupid of you, Mrs. Brandt.




In the film’s fiery finale, Brandt, his brain now in the body of Professor Richter (Freddie Jones) sets a trap for Baron Frankenstein.


BRANDT:  I fancy that I am the spider, and you are the fly, Frankenstein.  I know why you did this and what you’ve come for.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Brandt?  Our work, our research, remember?  We must continue together!


BRANDT:  Better you had killed me.


(The sound of horses and a coach galloping away.)


BRANDT:  That will be my wife on her way to the police.  What you want is on the desk in my study.  The game is for you to try and get it!


Baron Frankenstein steps towards a closed door, and Brandt hurls a lamp at him, igniting the area in flames.


BRANDT:  Wrong door.


Frankenstein rushes towards Brandt, but Brandt pulls a gun on him.


BRANDT:  You must choose between the flames and the police, Frankenstein.  You haven’t got long to get those papers.


And the game is on!  FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED probably has the most exciting finale of the entire series.





And we finish with one of Baron Frankenstein’s most condescending lines in the film, when Karl asks him to let Anna go.


KARL:  You don’t need her.


BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I need her to make coffee


And there you have it, memorable quotes from a memorable Peter Cushing movie, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).


See you again next time.


Thanks for reading!



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