Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Procrastination... for over a week I have been putting off writing about anything on this blog even though I have seen several things. After a while the backlog gets big enough that it seems like a chore to get started. But start I must and here is the movie review that has been waiting the longest for publishing. Originally conceived as a black comedy James Whale who directed the first Frankenstein, took a written, rework and rewritten script and created a mess of a movie. The film begins with a strange scene where Frankenstein book author Mary Shelley explains to Lord Byron and her husband that the story of Frankenstein in the book is not the end of the tale. She launches into the next piece and we pick it up in the film.
The story starts moments after the end of Frankenstein, with the village people up at the burning windmill at the top of the mountain. It has burned to the ground and the villagers are collecting the apparently dead body of Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive). There are a hilarious character in the crowd we learn later is Henry's housekeeper Minnie (Una O'Conner). When everyone is gone only Maria's dad (Maria is the little girl drown by the monster in the first movie) and his wife still grieving over the loss of their daughter. He wants to see the body of the monster to know that it is dead. He falls into the smoldering remains of the windmill landing in a flooded cellar. How so much water got into the cellar of a windmill on the top of a mountain was never explained. The Monster is there having survived the fire, come and chokes and drowns him. How cruel to go out just like his daughter, then the monster climbs out of the hole. Again we see some of the comedy aspects of the film with the wife not looking putting out her hand to pull the monster up thinking it is her husband. He responds with not a thank you grunt but throws her to her death down the hole. Minnie who is still milling about (milling he he he) gets to make a great scared face before running off to tell the village the monster is alive.
Henry is found to be alive when Elizabeth (Valarie Hobson) runs to see him and he is nursed back to health. She works in the movie as sort of a religious counterbalance to the men who are intrigued by the idea of creating life. Being a woman she can already create life so they must seen a bit silly to her. The bulk of the story now starts in earnest with the arrival of Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) who has also been working to create life and wants Henry and he to get together and make something special. Pretorius has created miniature people that he keeps in jars, a King, queen, bishop, devil , ballerina and a mermaid. It is funny and incredibly strange to see this seen. Sure he can grow miniatures but he can't create a large size. His hope is Henry and he can create a body and he can grow a brain to create a new creature. A woman creature. Henry for the time being wants nothing to do with it.
There is a bunch of getting the first monster to Pretorius scenes where the we see him wander the forest and be repelled by his own image, is too frightening to people, and eventually gets captured. There is this great crucifix imagery that got by the censors of the day when the captured monster is being loaded on the cart. Why is he captured who knows because when they chain him in a cell he simply breaks the chain and now with superhuman strength bust the door out and runs out of the village terrifying the townsfolk. I think they were going to show the monster would never be understood by normal folk. Then while wandering it meets the blind violin playing old guy. That guy heavy on his religious kick takes in the monster and teaches him to talk in a limited manner. Things seem to have changed in the monsters favor. He has a friend who is not afraid of him because he can't see him. He is fed and loves to listen to music.
Unfortunately a couple hunters come across the cabin and start a commotion over the monster. The house ends up on fire and Frankenstein Monster is on the run again. Chased into a cemetery by the town folk he hides and then meets Dr. Pretorius, who is there stealing female bodies. They bond and come up with a plan to rope Henry into building a female monster. They kidnap Elizabeth forcing Henry to join them, which he does with gusto. We have the creating the monster scene only with new and exciting looking machines. The storm come up and they are successful. The Monster comes to see the new bride. He says "Friend" and she screams. There is no way she is going to like the monster and he realizes this. In the quickest ending in movie history, Henry and Elizabeth clear out while the monster pulls on lever that destroys the entire lab castle killing himself, the Bride and Dr. Pretorius. Where ending and why would anyone have such a switch?
Rating (4.0) 5.0 and up are recommended, in the Zombiegrrlz system I would still say rent it, we should all have a knowledge of the classics.