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Subj: Creature Feature 21: Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 05:45:40 pm EDT (Viewed 395 times)
Frankenstein was such a hit that a sequel was planned almost immediately. Carl Laemmle brought back Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and director James Whale, but Whale didn't like the screenplays, and the movie was delayed until 1935. The sequel was suggested from a scene in the original novel and Elsa Lanchester was brought in to play the monster's mate. New antagonist Septimus Pretorius is also introduced, played by Ernest Thesiger. The film is generally regarded as Whales' masterpiece and the best of the Universal horror films of the era.
After an opening scene with Mary Shelley discussing her story of Frankenstein, the film jumps right into the windmill scene at the end of the 1931 movie. It is quickly learned that the Monster survived the fire, as he kills two people in an underground cave. Meanwhile, Dr. Frankenstein, who is recovering from being tossed off the windmill, is confronted by Dr. Pretorius, who is conducting his own experiments in creating life. Frankenstein refuses his suggestion to work together, but after Pretorius befriends the monster and kidnaps Frankenstein's fiancÃ©, he concedes. Together, they create a mate for the monster, who seeks the comfort of friendship. However, when the female creature rejects him, the monster lashes out, allowing Frankenstein and his fiancÃ© to escape before destroying the castle, presumably killing himself, Dr. Pretorius, and the bride.
Bride Of Frankenstein is a great movie and one of my favorites, but I think I will buck the critics and say that I prefer the original 1931 movie. I remember enjoying the movie as a kid, but not being as thrilled as with Frankenstein. Â It is a lot of fun, and there are plenty of memorable scenes and characters, but I enjoyed the horror of the original more. Â Karloff is able to do more as the monster in Bride, as he learns to talk and expands on the character, and Pretorius is a delightfully weird and evil character. Â Dwight Frye returns as Karl, and is just as creepy as his character of Fritz in the first movie. Â The movie has lots of dark humor, religious symbolism and great camerawork and atmosphere. It is a joy to watch. Â
On the negative side, with this watching, I found Una O'Connor's shrieking to be more annoying in this film than in The Invisible Man, as she seemed to be parodying that character as opposed to portraying an hysterical busybody. Â I didn't enjoy the scenes with Pretorius' miniature people as much as I did as a child, though the special effects were quite good.
The Monster's return in the cave under the windmill. Â He creeps around in the shadows and murders the little girl's father from Frankenstein, and then throws the mother down into the cave.
The Monster's meeting with the blind man. Â This touching scene gets to the heart of the sympathetic aspect of the character, who just wants to live in peace and be accepted. Â I can't watch this scene without thinking of the Hulk or the parody in Young Frankenstein.
Pretorius's meeting with the Monster in the crypt. Â This is such a creepy scene, as Pretorius eats his lunch on a coffin and is completely unfazed as the Monster approaches him. Â Also, the contrast between the kindly blind man who is seeking friendship and the conniving Pretorius manipulating the creature is striking.
Frankenstein's meeting with the Monster who is now teamed with Pretorius. Â Karloff is does a great job portraying a creature who is angry at the world, most especially his creator. Â Clive's horror at the situation is also well done.
The over-the-top ending, as the Bride is re-animated, her reactions to her new life and horror at the sight of the Monster. Â Karloff's impassioned "We belong dead!" as he destroys the castle is quite compelling. Â But I'll never understand why these mad doctor's leave self destruct levers in their laboratories.
Bride Of Frankenstein was a big hit with audiences and critics and it's reputation has grown over the years. Â The Bride only appears for a few minutes at the end of the movie, but she has become almost as iconic a character as the Monster. Â
The movie was remade as The Bride in 1985, but I admit I never saw the movie. Â
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