Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
It was an absolute pleasure to re-watch this total classic of a monster movie. Bride of Frankenstein features not one, but two iconic Universal creatures; in a multi faceted story directed by James Whale.
As the original movie had been such a success, this sequel shines with a commitment to match it and create something even better – which it does.
Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) has survived the events of the first film, and vows never to return to his ghastly experiments. The creature (a fantastic Boris Karloff) has also survived, and begins to explore his surroundings and grow in experience. Of course, these adventures inevitably lead to mayhem.
An old tutor of Frankenstein, Dr Pretorius – played with a camp menace by Ernest Thesiger – has a proposition for Henry. Together, they can combine their skill to create a new monster, a mate for the first. Events transpire to force Frankenstein to enter into this hell bound, yet inevitable partnership.
Universal obviously invested heavily in this second Frankenstein movie, the sets are more grand and the special effects really surprisingly good for the time. Whale is on fine form and the whole film is a real spectacle – I remember being thrilled to see this revered movie for the first time.
Performance wise, Clive is melodramatic in the extreme and his acting appears somewhat dated. The rest of the cast are magnificent though, Thesiger is delightfully wicked and Elsa Lanchester is unforgettable as the monster’s bride.
The best though is the legendary Karloff, here given much more to do (even being allowed to develop speech, a little like the novel). His ability to convey emotion and make the audience empathise with a giant, re-animated corpse is astounding.
All in all, Bride of Frankenstein is a classic of the genre.