The Bride of Frankenstein

The Bride of Frankenstein ★★★★

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Film #32

Weird science all around

Universal would have been just fine with James Whale making a carbon copy of the original Frankenstein, the Jurassic Park of it's day. But he had to have his flourishes, his sense of humor, and his theatricality before he would say “yes” to the studio. It's ahead of it's time AND it announces itself as a prestige film- not just a monster movie (take that MGM!)- with that opening featuring Percy Shelley, and Lor-r-d Byr-r-ron as they listen to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley tell them the tale we're about to watch...on a dark and stormy night. Of course Mary Shelley never wrote a sequel to her novel and how cheeky of Whale to cast Elsa Manchester as both The Author and The Bride. More welcome additions to the sequel are Ernest Thesiger and Una O'Connor as Dr. Pretorius and the ever-present Greek Chorus Minnie. Thesiger looks like he revels in playing the nose-flaring bastard and next to Karloff he's probably the most self-aware actor on the set. I love how Minnie seems to be everywhere: at the scene of the mill burning, at the Frankenstein residence, at the jail from where The Monster escapes...she's keeps that burg hip to what's happenin', man. I don't what else to write that hasn't already been writ by smarter reviewers except to say the lighting is intense especially the final laboratory sequence. Probably the best b & w cinematography this side of Sweet Smell of Success.

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