Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 78%
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Ranked #2,357
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Connections: Frankenstein

Dr. Frankenstein and his monster both turn out to be alive, not killed as previously believed. Dr. Frankenstein wants to get out of the evil experiment business, but when a mad scientist, Dr. Pretorius, kidnaps his wife, Dr. Frankenstein agrees to help him create a new creature, a woman, to be the companion of the monster. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 19, 2015
Having just finished Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein, I've naturally been hunting down various movie adaptations released over the years. As deservedly a classic as the first movie was, it's not uncommon to hear reviewers claim they prefer its sequel even more.

On a stormy night, Mary Shelly is talking to her husband and an over-zealous friend of theirs about her gruesome tale. As he waxes poetic about it' conclusion, the young woman reveals that the fiery windmill was not the end of the story and continues. After Dr. Frankenstein was hurled from structure's zenith and is taken home, barely alive, the monster survived the inferno by escaping into its flooded basement. He climbs out of the wreckage, and despite being a relatively kind-hearted being, his horrifying visage strikes fear and hostility into all those who witness it, and he quickly realizes he has no place in this world. Eventually, he stumbles across an old shack inhabited by a blind man who teaches the creation not only to speak but more importantly, the warmth of friendship. Meanwhile, the recovering Dr. Frankenstein is preparing for his wedding to his beloved Elizabeth when he's visited by his old mentor, Dr. Pretorius. After some slight blackmail, he convinces Frankenstein to visit his lab where he reveals his own creations. He too has been able to create life; he has built his avatars completely from scratch but has only been able to build six inch bodies. With a little persuasion, he gets Frankenstein to build a second body, a female, while Pretorius uses his own methods to create her brain. After a chance meeting with the original wretch, Pretorius gets him incredibly excited about the concept of a mate tailor-made for him, but Frankenstein has already learned what kind of monstrosities will be wrought when you take God's domain into your own hands.

I was a little worried about this in the early stages. I really wasn't a fan of that whole meta-beginning, and between Una O'Connor's overly-mouthy character and and the antics of Pretorius' little creations I was convinced that Laemmle had switched over to a comedy. Once we got past that crap and got back to the monster, that stumbled beginning transitions into a full-fledged sprint. The biggest departure from the novel in the first movie is how the creation never gets to develop into an actual character. We saw touches here and there, but now he finally assumes that role.

I can not over-state the extent to which Karloff carried this film on his shoulders. As a fully developed, speaking character, he brought the monsters' torment to life. His depression stemming from humanity's reaction to the very sight of him was a huge part of the novel and this omission in the first film (the film with which many fans solely based their perception of the character) was one of the biggest things I had a problem with. That has all been counteracted beautifully, as Laemmle and Karloff worked in perfect harmony to create one of the most sympathetic characters ever caught on screen. Bolstering the horror legend's work is another A Plus performance from Colin Clive and the addition of Ernest Thesiger. As Dr. Pretorius, Thesiger brought an insidious madness that worked as a perfect foil to the more well-meaning Dr. Frankenstein. Since the film was theoretically named after her (nor four years later and Universal was already solidifying the misconception that Frankenstein was the monster's name), I'll mention that Elsa Lanchester starred as the new creation, as well as Mary Shelly herself in the introduction. Despite the titular treatment and her gravity-defying hair perhaps being the only part of this film to attain anything approaching iconic, her roles were a combined total of about ten minutes, and most of that was as the author. Truth is, she wasn't there long enough for me to form an opinion one way or the other.

On the one hand, I walked away from this one happier than I was with the original Frankenstein. With that said, there's no denying the film's shaky start, and the original provided way too many iconic scenes for me to match it's perfect rating. 9.5/10 is perfectly acceptable however. Any film fans planning on sitting down for a Frankenstein night would do well to make it a double feature.
George Snow #1: George Snow - added November 1, 2015 at 10:37pm
I bought the Universal Monster set, and watched Frankenstein and Bride as a double feature. It was a great night. Both are well deserved classics.

Without looking it up, who was Elsa Lancaster married to? Hint, he played an iconic monster in a remake of one of Lon Chaney's famous roles.
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