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Friday, October 5, 2012

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) In a rare cinematic moment we are given a sequel superior to the original as James Whale returns us to the dark countryside of our nightmares. In the original The Monster was much more a frightened child than a murderous beast, but in the sequel he is very complex character; enraged, scared, harried, lonely and vengeful are the elements that make up The Monster this time out. In the first few minutes he brutally murders the parents of Maria, the little girl he accidentally drowned in the original, but then what follows next contains my only criticism of the film and that is that the monster doesn't then immediately murder the screaming hysterical Una O'Connor whose comic stylings I've never come to appreciate. A minor quibble. Now the one addition that really sets this film above it's contemporaries is that of the character of Doctor Pretorius who seduces, blackmails, and threatens Frankenstein into returning to his dark work. It is briefly mentioned that Pretorius was a professor of philosophy which makes one wonder how that lead to creating little people and jars. Maybe he picked that up at a learning annex? Dwight Frye returns as a lab assistant (a different one as he was killed by The Monster in the original) and he is even more twisted and sadistic. The labor pool in this neighborhood must be very shallow. Elsa Lanchester's on screen moments as the titular creature is limited but she makes the most of them and in the most striking make-up a monster could hope for. This is easily the best of the Universal Classic Monsters.

Things I Love:
• The actors in this film crank the melodrama up to eleven!
• The Monsters run through the splindly trees with the mob at his heels.
• “Alone: Bad. Friend: Good!”
• The laboratory creation scene easily tops the original.
• Elsa Lanchester’s birdlike mannerisms as The Bride.
• “We belong dead!”

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