Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is rerun
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) creates one of the most famous horror females in cinema history. Some people say The Bride is not as famous as other Universal monsters, but I disagree: her appearance is instantly recognizable. I remember The Bride being popular around Halloween as much as Dracula. Horror hostess Elvira is pretty much based off The Bride. Since then, The Bride has pretty much faded from view and most people’s memory, so I’m relegated lately to watching Bride of Frankenstein reruns on low-rent cable.
The Bride of Frankenstein is sorta different from all other Frankenstein movies, including modern remakes and “retellings”. It showed The Monster in a sympathetic light, which isn’t new, but it showed him talking and developing new aspects to his character. Boris Karloff once again plays the iconic lonely man and his performance is pretty good. You can tell that he wanted to stretch beyond being a simple monster, and I can appreciate that. That’s more than I can say for most modern takes on Frankenstein, including Kenneth Branaugh’s stupid remake.
Colin Cliver retuns as Victor Frankenstein, the reluctant creator who is blackmailed into continuing his work. The real villain of this movie is Doctor Pretorius, played by Ernest Thesiger. To prove he’s evil, he shows off his miniature people, which he has under glass. He has a miniature ballerina, a king, a queen, and an arch-bishop. I don’t know what the point of this scene was, because it stretches believability to improbable levels. It does set up Pretorius as an intellectual as smart as Frankenstein, but his character is so one-note that there’s not much more to say about him.
The only comedy in the film is provided by Una O’Connor, the scream queen. Her voice is so loud, I could swear I always turn down the TV when she’s on. She appeared in The Invisible Man as pretty much the same servant character, which she’s typecast as even at this point in her career. Either this or her appearance in Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood is her definitive appearance.
There are actually two good scenes I always remember in this movie. The first is when The Monster surprises a shepherd girl and advances on her like a stalker, because he’s trying to be friends. Right. She falls into a lake. The Monster rescues her, but she’s screaming her head off the entire time. I guess that’s only natural, but Karloff plays it frustratedly and scared, because he doesn’t really want people to think he’s a stalker. He runs off. The second scene of note is probably the most famous, and it’s when The Monster befriends a blind man who takes him in, as his new friend. It’s the perfect setup, but it’s too bad they don’t capitalize on it. Some hunters later arrive and tell the oblivious guy just who The Monster is, then usher him away. The whole thing is a waste because it’s never touched on again.
Overall, this is a good movie. It’s a little choppy, but there’s so many great little things in it that makes this movie unique, over later sequels and other by-the-book monster movies. It might be a little slow for some and Una O’Connor might really be annoying to others, but I didn’t mind. It’s historical. The Bride is up there with the other classic monsters and this is why.