"Unlike anything you have ever seen before. the theatre is turned into a GRAVEYARD, the SEATS BECOME COFFINS, creatures sit next to you, and put their cold, clammy hands AROUND YOUR THROAT and WHISPER THINGS in YOUR EAR!"
Salacious salutations! How is everyone this sparkling clear October morn?
Days like this truly remind me why I love this season the best - and, or course, why I love Halloween! As I drove to work this morning listening to a mix of Halloween music I am putting together for the party, I found myself swept up in the beauty of the morning. And also, I found myself wanting the holiday to be here already! But as my wife likes to point out, "When it's here, it's already gone." I guess the moral there is enjoy it while you can. Or she could just be being morbid - which suits me just fine!
Today's selection is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite movies of all time. It is in my Top Five if not my Top Three, and over 70 years later it is a creepy classic and a testament to one of Hollywood's finest ages. Sit back, relax and be transported by James Whale's immortal "Bride of Frankenstein!" And thanks as usual for reading!
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935): Directed by James Whale. Starring Colin Clive, Ernest Theisiger, Else Lanchester, Dwight Frye and Boris Karloff.
The Skinny: "The Bride" picks up where the original "Frankenstein" left off, as he monster emerges from his fiery grave to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger appears at his creator's doorstep to make a horrific suggestion - create a mate for the savage beast!
What's Good: In my opinion, this movie is perfection. When I think of horror films, I think of the images this - and the original "Frankenstein" - evoke and have deeply imprinted on my mind. The burning windmill, the monster on the parapet, the silhouette of the graves against the dark sky - these are the things I love most of all. Not to mention the iconic performances of Dwight Frye as Fritz, Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein and of course, Boris Karloff's inimitable turn as the Monster. While others have given fine interpretations of the creature, Karloff cuts to the heart of the creature's pain. In his conversations with the blind man, where they discuss what is good and what is bad, you can see it in Karloff's eyes as he tries to sort it all out. It is a staggering, emotional performance that brings sympathy to the fiend, especially in his final moments as he urges his creator to "Go! You live!" before he brings the walls down on himself and the smarmy Dr. Pretorius - played to absolute perfection by Ernest Theisiger. The moody lighting, the set, the props - I could go on and on. If there was ever perfection in horror cinema, this comes precariously close.
What's Bad: Nothing.
Why We Like It: All of the above and more. I find myself looking most forward to Dr. Pretorius' appearance, however, as Theisiger is absolutely riveting. He delivers the lines in a fey lisp, an evil smile played across his face as he revels in the chaos he hopes to bring by breeding the monster with a female creation of his own. This movie has its horrifying moments, often in the most subtle of places - like, when the bride first lays eyes on her betrothed, and Else Lanchester lets loose with a throaty scream that borders on breathless. It is nothing but a pure classic.
Memorable Stuff: The creation scene, when the Bride is finally unveiled with her iconic hairdo and her pursed lips - it's the film's shining moment and Lanchester is riveting even in a minimalist role that last about a total of maybe 10 minutes. Beyond that, I thoroughly enjoy Theisiger and Clive's performances, even though the latter's alcoholism had rendered him a pariah in Hollywood. I'm pleased they didn't recast him, because no one has been able to match Clive's pathos and depth