Bride of Frankenstein from 1935

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…One of the very first horror movie sequels which many consider the greatest horror ever made!

 

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Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester

Directed by: James Whale, Produced by: Carl Laemmle Jr.

Ratings: Internet Movie Data Base; 7.9/10 …Rotten Tomatoes; 100%

Our rating; 7.5/10

Available from Amazon and eBay

 

 

 

 

 

51i3DMOj9UL__AA160_Bride of Frankenstein from 1935. The film begins with an inventive and novel scene based on the real life event involving author Mary Shelley, her husband, poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley and fellow poet Lord Byron.

Byron is praising Mary and fascinated by her incredible imagination in writing Frankenstein. Mary explains, however that there is more to the story and begins to narrate the coarse of events which are to take place immediately following the end of the first film.

 

The film flashes forward to the flaming destruction of the old mill in the first film where the angry townsfolk had pursued Frankenstein’s monstrous creation. Frankenstein himself is thought dead, being thrown from the top of the wind mill by the very creature he created.

As for the Monster…we soon learn that he hasn’t been engulfed in the flames at all. He’s still alive!

 

Dr Henry Frankenstein’s body is transported back to his castle home and given over to his fiancée, Elizabeth (this time played by Valerie Hobson) who soon notices Henry moving and rejoices he’s alive.

After recuperating from the whole ordeal, Dr Frankenstein (Colin Clive) still dreams of discovering the secret of life and feels destined to find it. However, he’s torn between what could have been and the terrible lesson that was the horror brought forth by the monster.

 

Enter Pretorius

 

Ernest Thesiger as Pretorius

The Devious Dr. Pretorius

It’s right there that we are introduced to Dr Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), a former mentor of Henry’s.

Pretorius has come after hearing of the “success” Frankenstein has had giving life to dead tissue and wants to partner with Henry so they can, together, probe the secrets of life and death.

The shady Pretorius has conducted experiments of his own but succeeded only in “growing” people a few inches tall. He explains how his dream is to create a man-made race of creatures upon the earth. Male and female.

To create a woman he goes on.., “That would be really interesting…”

 

The Monster meanwhile is discovered to be still alive and roaming about the countryside. He’s again pursued by an angry mob and captured, though not for long. He soon breaks free from his chains and prison and escapes into the woods again. Meeting a old blind hermit, he’s shown unknown kindness, tolerance and friendship. He’s even taught some basic speech by the old man.

The idyllic friendship is not to last however as two hunters come calling and force The Monster to flee.

Stumbling through a graveyard, he finds an entrance to an underground tomb. By sheer chance, Dr Pretorius is there as well to search for parts for his new endeavor. The two meet and Pretorius explains that he’s going to create a friend for The Monster, like him.

 

After being wedded to Elizabeth, Henry Frankenstein is now reluctant to go ahead with any more experiments with the dead. Having foreseen this, Pretorius uses The Monster to try to persuade him. When this fails, he sends him to kidnap Elizabeth so as to force Frankenstein to agree.

 

A Bride is Realised!

Elsa Lanchester

Elsa Lanchester – The Unfortunate Bride!

They succeed in their unnatural deed. The Bride of Frankenstein is created. Her bandaged wrapped body given life by conducting the lightening which is raging outside.

As they stand her up and she see’s her intended mate, she pulls away and screams at him in disapproving fright.

So much for man and woman coming together in love!

The Monster is humiliated and enraged! He grabs hold of a lever which has the capacity to blow the whole castle up but tells his creator to go. To leave with his new wife and live. But, he say’s to Pretorius and his unwilling bride, “You stay. We belong dead”.

Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff

The Monster Needs a Mate!

 

A great film by all accounts, though a little too campy and just not serious enough in my opinion to be deserving of it’s praise as a horror.

The film is admittedly much ahead of it’s time in featuring so many offbeat characters, satire and black humor.

Director James Whale definitely had a gift for bringing these elements to his movies. He actually believed the film could not possibly be as popular as the first movie, so he decided to make the movie a “memorable hoot”.

This would explain why there’s so much “playfulness” about the picture.

 

Featuring some terrific acting by everyone involved. Colin Clive, Karloff, Dwight Frye (this time as Karl) and Valerie Hobson are all fine but it is Earnest Thesiger (Dr. Pretorius), Una O’Connor (Minnie) and E.E. Clive with an all too brief role as the Burgomaster, who steal the show.

 

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Douglas Walton, Elsa Lanchester and Gavin Gordon as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and Lord Byron

Playing the dual roles of Mary Shelley and The Monster’s Bride is Elsa Lanchester who is also marvelous. She’s truly picturesque as Shelley and very talented playing the part of The Bride.

Her quick, bird-like, glances were modeled on the behavior of swans which she observed in London’s Regent Park.

This was apparently also where she got the idea of ‘hissing’ at her imminent destruction.

 

 

 

That Iconic Hairdo

Modelling her hair style on Nefertiti, makeup director Jack Pierce used a wire horse-hair cage to have it stand vertical. The look is mean to represent, and be the result of the electric shock which ran through her body, bringing her to life.

 

Bride of Frankenstein 1935

The Bridal Bouffant

 

Sadly, The Bride’s appearance is all too brief. Her character is absolutely fascinating especially in her disgust of “her man”, The Monster.

Music by Franz Waxman is featured abundantly throughout the film which is another element which improves upon the first Frankenstein. Waxman created three distinct themes for The Monster, The Bride and Dr. Pretorius. Each melody is amazingly descriptive.

 

Bride of Frankenstein from 1935 is of coarse, an ingeniously well crafted horror classic. It has a wealth of various themes and iconic imagery running throughout it.

But, as stated earlier, with so many quirky character’s and Karloff seeking to elicit maximum sympathy for The Monster, this movie leans more toward being an endearing horror-comedy than straight horror.

 

 

 

What do other’s think?? Please feel free to go ahead and leave some thoughts/comments below. 

Jamie.

 

 

Available here from Amazon and eBay

 

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8 Comments

  • Neil says:

    With Halloween on the doorstep, The Bride Of Frankenstein has been added to my Halloween night “watch list.”

    I have already seen this film before when I was younger, and is definitely something I’m going to watch again to rejog my memory.

    There are so many classic horror movies, and I think that many of them are much better than the ones created today!

    Thanks for the review of a great horror movie 🙂

    Neil

    • admin says:

      Hey there Neil!

      Yes mate, this movie would be perfect for Halloween! Be interesting to know what you think, not having seen it since you were a kid. I dare say it wouldn’t be quite as scary and probably a lot funnier this time round..! A lot of the wit and black humor should be more clear to you nowadays yeah?

      So many classic horror, your so right! Even among the classics of the Golden Age (20’s, 30’s & 40’s) there are tons!!

      Thanks very much for your comment Neil and Happy Halloween..!

  • Javier says:

    One of the greatest classic horror movies of all the time. Frankenstein will always deliver and teach others how to make a movie so awesome that people still remember it forever. I think most of the producers of this genre should learn from this movie because there is a lot of junk on these days. With all the advantage we have right now, it must be much easier than before. Congrats for sharing this invaluable memory

    • admin says:

      Thanks very much for those great comments Javier. That’s so true…people will recognize and remember this movie forever! That’s just how important and how brilliant these old horror classics are!

      I totally agree that with all the advantages we have now…surely they could make even more iconic and memorable films than those of the 1920’s/30’s right?? …NOPE!!

      …Great to have you visit Javier. Thanks heaps!

      Jamie.

  • Tammy says:

    That is a perfect review. The movie is kind of cheesy and not really horror but a nice touch to a second movie. Nowadays they look to the future and make 9 movies in all to tell a story. That is interesting about her hair, which looks funny but cool too, I loved the doctor and I did fee sorry for Frankenstein. Great review and I am I believe I loved the first movie best, It is a classic.

    • admin says:

      I agree Tammy, definitely not a scary horror now days…and yes, it has a high ‘camp’ style to it. Director James Whale was responsible for this. The Bride’s hair has become an iconic classic horror image hey! Glad you like Doctor Pretorius. He’s a very shady character to say the least. The actor is a genius and was brilliant in The Old Dark House! Much appreciated comments Tammy. Thanks for dropping in.

  • Charlotte says:

    To my mind you can’t beat a classic horror film from this era. I’m not a fan of modern horror films so this is right up my street.
    I totally agree with your opinion that Bride of Frankenstein is an endearing horror movie with a comedy element, that is precisely why I like it so much.

  • Jyl says:

    Brilliant and classic movie!! I honestly think that Elsa Lanchester made it her own. I can’t imagine anyone else doing that role. She is forever cast in stone. Pure horror elegance :):):) Those were the days for sure…

    I love this whole site! The oldies are definitely the best 🙂 I grew up with a mother who loved horror movies and who not only let us watch them with her when my father was in bed (I think she was afraid and needed the company) but who also let us read her Detective magazines after she’d finished with them. When something terrible happened (usually death) she used to tell us that it was only acting and that the actor or actress was only pretending, very much alive and over to the side, with the camera man was making them a cup of tea. It made it all so much better. We were never scared for more than a few minutes and never lost any sleep. Round about this time there was also the usual packs of horror movie cards with bubble gum in them for sale in the sweetie shops and the captions were always funny. So yes I grew up watching these and loving them. I’m actually scared by them more when I watch them now than I was back when I was 8….!!!! You can’t beat them though. The (and I mean it, literal) spine-tingling fear that you get when someone went by themselves into the basement with nothing to protect themselves than a candlestick…!!DON’T GO INTO THE BASEMENT!!! Haha!!

    I’ve written too much (forgive me) – I get carried away when there’s something worth talking about!! Love it! 🙂

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