Movie Name: The Bride of Frankenstein
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date(s): April 22, 1935
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Frankenstein (Colin Clive) has survived his Monster’s attack at the windmill but unfortunately the Monster (Boris Karloff) has survived also. Now Frankenstein’s mentor Doctor Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) and the Monster have contacted Frankenstein and the Monster is demading a mate. Frankenstein’s only solution is to create another monster…a Bride for the Monster.
Directed by James Whales, The Bride of Frankenstein feels like a true sequel to the real Frankenstein, because all of the major players have returned unlike most old horror films. Many critics laud it as a superior film to Frankenstein, and there are a lot of studies of Christian imagery in the story and gay and lesbian interpretations because of James Whales’ lifestyle (and who also became a fictionalized character by Ian McKellan in Gods and Monsters). The film also has a bigger and grander feel than the original.
The movie has a weird set-up. It starts out with the “historic” aspect of Frankenstein in that the story was created by Mary Shelley in a night of storytelling with her, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron and Mary Shelley is played by the Bride herself Elsa Lanchester. What is weird about this is that the 1931 Frankenstein changed a lot of aspects of the story (including the ending) and now you have the “author” pretending that it is how her novel was written.
This movie does take a lot of aspects of the novel and kind of follows many of the strains of the novel. The Monster learns to speak in this story (Fire Bad!) and meets the old blind beggar. The Monster’s struggle for acceptance actually is more of a thrust in the novel and here it is elevated more in this script.
The idea of creating a female monster also was in the original novel and despite only appearing in the last ten or so minutes, the Bride herself has become an icon of Universal Monsters. Elsa’s performance, though short is very memorable and her reaction to the Monster is priceless.
The Bride of Frankenstein is a great film and fans of the genre must see it if they never had made the time. Comedy fans of Mel Brooks will also like it because you can see the basis for Young Frankenstein (a great film on its own, but much enriched by viewing this film). The Bride of Frankenstein is a great example of classic horror and can be enjoyed by young and old. The Bride of Frankenstein was followed by Son of Frankenstein in 1939.
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