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Friday, October 20, 2006


Directed by James Whale

Generally regarded as the greatest of the Universal horror films of the 1930's, "Bride of Frankenstein" certainly had the full support of the studio, giving director James Whale considerably more lavish resources than he had at his disposal when filming the 1931 original. Because of the extra piles of cash and a remarkable level of artistic freedom, Whale's visual ideas were developed brilliantly. Amazing gothic sets, gorgeous black and white photography, some choice gallows humor and Karloff's heart-wrenching portrayal of the monster serve as the main support beams in this films hallowed status. But Karloff's isn't the only command performance here. Special accolades should be heaped on Ernest Thesiger, cast in the role of Dr. Pretorius, who seduces Dr. Frankenstein back into experimenting with creating life out of dead tissue, this time to assemble a woman. Thesiger is delightfully twisted, evil and flamboyantly queer, adding a new dimension to his "seduction" of Frankenstein, who is once again portrayed by Colin Clive. Sadly, Clive copped his eternal nod two years after the filming of this movie due to the ravages of alcohol. This was quite a send off. Another important factor in this movie's overall impact is the wonderful score by Franz Waxman, especially the lilting high strings and harp melody that serves as the theme for the Bride herself, summoned to life in bandages and a wild shock of lightning bolt hair in the form of actress Elsa Lanchester. It's such a sad and powerful moment when the monster lets a big tear stream down his face as she hisses in repulsion at him. Then he pulls the lever that blows the whole castle works sky high. "She hate me", he has realized and I heave a heavy sigh before carrying on.


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