Trailer: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
Directed by: James Whale
Runtime: 1 hr & 15 min
Genre(s): Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
Review by: John Dixon
Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)
4 years following the original “Frankenstein” movie we get a direct sequel that starts by having Mary Shelley describe that her characters were not actually killed off in the movie. From there we discover that Frankenstein’s monster had much more living to do, finding friends, more enemies, and a potential mate.
Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)
The Bride of Frankenstein is a movie that you must see if you are a fan of old monster movies. Much more character building for Frankenstein’s monster and I love that it connects to the 1931 Frankenstein movie seamlessly. We are introduced to a new menacing “mad scientist” in Dr. Pretorius. More evil than his college Dr. Henry Frankenstein and he steals the scenes he is in with his mere presence. If you are worried about being scared though, you have nothing to worry about. There is no fright in this movie.
The over acting is a staple for the 1930’s Hollywood picture. They had to over act like this in silent films so, the acting had carried over well after they started including audio. During the beginning of the film I’m assuming they were going for levity and the inclusion of some comedic elements to make the scarier more horrifying. Instead they made the sillier almost unwatchable. I’m pointing my Frankenstein finger at one character exclusively. Minnie was a distraction. For instance when she is running from the monster it takes away from everything Frankenstein is supposed to be. Several times I expected to hear the Munsters theme music, which made me sad. Because like many, I’m sure I’ve built these classic monster movies up in my head to scarier than they actually are. There isn’t an Igor character here but we do have a “Karl”. Karl is an idiot, Don’t be like Karl. Unless he made it out of there at the end, then I suspect that Karl is smarter than his eyebrows make him look.
Frankenstein is a living creature that is made from the bodies of dead people. He just wants to be human and help others. His appearance keeps people from reacting anything close to civil. You attack the monster, you get thrown to the ground. Frankenstein comes across an old blind man to reiterate the fact that if you can’t see him you won’t be afraid of him. They become friends and in a short period of time (I assume) the old man teaches his friend to speak. Good, Bad, Friend, ya know, the basics in everyday speech. Phil Hartman’s portrayal of Frankenstein in SNL came to mind when Frankenstein’s Monster had uttered the words “Fire, Bad!!”. We even saw ole frankie puffin’ away on a stogie! That’s a sight of disappointment let me tell you. Its like walking in on Superman as he is taking his hairpiece off. The friendship of the old man allowed Frankenstein’s monster to open up and be controlled by Dr. Pretorius. Which after some strong arming by the evil doctor he got Dr. Frankenstein to agree to make the monster a mate. Only to realize that this woman saw him as everyone else did. A monster.
The story is lacking in payoff in my opinion. I went into the movie assuming that I would see The Bride of Frankenstein for at least half of the movie. I mean, its her movie! No, that is not the case here folks. The final 4 minutes of the movie is when Frankenstein’s mate is revealed to the world. I really liked her mannerisms and there was so much there to build on. 2 seconds later it was over. It was easy to take note of the famous line spoken by Dr. Frankenstein. “She’s Alive!” which is foreshadowed earlier in the scene. (look for it) As for Dr. Pretorius’ introduction I felt the “tiny” people were over the top unnecessary to the movie and we could have established his crazy mad scientist background another way that had a closer tie to Dr. Frankenstein. Cinematography was pretty cool especially when they would try to make Dr. Pretorious look menacing and mad. Tilting the camera with electricity in the background is always a win.
I felt they could have put so much more into the ending. We were just introduced to the Title character and 4 minutes later the movie ends leaving our characters (minus one Dr. Frankenstein) dead. Frankenstein assuredly dead just as in the first film. The story was put together well, but I must say that the title of the film was completely off. I’m renaming this one to Frankenstein 2: The Blind Friend. Reason being it was the old blind man that moved the Frankenstein’s monster character along to allow him to side with the evil doctor and in turn die again. There was two alternative titles that were used in the USA release. Frankenstein Lives Again! & The Return of Frankenstein which fits the story so much better than what it ended up being known for.
|Comic Book Connection||n/a|
|Favorite Moment||When we get to see The Bride of Frankenstein unveiled to the world. Very cool.|
|Most Hated Moment||Frankenstein smokin’ a stogie while bouncing with joy listening to his friend play the violin.|
|THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie||This movie reminded me of the original but with more Frankenstein talking.|
|What did my wife think of this movie?||She didn’t watch this movie. Could I blame her?|
|Box Office Budget||$397,024.00|
|How much it made Domestically||$2,000,000.00|
|Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure?||Success|
|Did you notice?||1. Christian imagery is seen throughout the film. Ie. Monster on a crucifix?|
|2. Dr. Henry Frankenstein is seen in the castle while the building is collapsing, yet he escapes in the end.|
|3. When the bride see’s the Monster for the first time she actually smiles.|
|Rotten Tomatoes Score|
Trailer: Frankenstein (1931)
Running Time: 1hr & 10 mins – Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Big JD (Host)
Movie Selection Relevance
Happy Halloween! What better time to watch a classic horror film than now. It was a toss up between Dracula & this movie. I figured since last week or so the new I, Frankenstein movie trailer premiered than this was an automatic lock. It is a movie I’ve never seen and “frankly” I’ve always been curious.
Henry Frankenstein was a very accomplished scientist that his obsession on “creating life” had taken over his life. Even when he was engaged to be married he still had to complete his life’s work on creating life with his bare hands from an assembled mess of dead body parts. When he finally achieves his goal he finds that it is not possible to play god and that happy endings don’t come cheap.
Disappointing. My first thoughts rang out during this entire movie. Knowing that this movie had been made over 80 years ago I was prepared to give it some leeway. Although, there were some things I couldn’t let slide no matter how much of a classic this movie claims to be.
The acting was very typical of 1930’s cinema. Overacting in all of its grandeur. I let this go due to the period of which this film was made. I felt that Colin Clive did very good with the character of doctor Frankenstein. (minus the fainting attacks) Casting was superb with the likes of Boris Karloff playing a classic monster. Go figure. He did what hes good at I guess. The directing was not to my liking although I will be nailing James Whale in the Editing portion so, I don’t want to double ding. In this category also exists Lighting and Wardrobe. The lighting gave a fantastic feel to this film, and the wardrobe only helped add to the feel and tone of the movie. Well done. I guess you might throw set pieces in there as well. You could tell they were set pieces but I felt they were done very well and I especially liked the dark skies backdrops.
The editing of the film let much to be desired. It started with bad cuts before and after the “digging up the grave” scene. Then the bad editing and smooth transitions were all over the place. Again, I was going to let it slide until I got to the “Monster meets Maria” scene. Which I feel had tremendous potential of showing that the Monster had a large heart. But after he tosses the little girl in the water it goes into a jumble of cut scenes showing the monster freaking out. But what happened to the little girl? Oh we see the father carrying her later on and we just have to assume that she’s dead. I’m guessing the studio didn’t allow James Whale to show Frankenstein killing the little girl. But if that was the issue he could have cut the film better with additional scenes to stronger convey what happened.
So, the father of Maria carries her lifeless body all the way into town and up to the doorsteps of the town mayor. (I’m guessing he’s the mayor). And the mayor says why did you bring her? With his reply being “she was murdered!”. Now, stop right there. What in the world makes him assume that she was murdered? He left his young girl all by herself so that she could play right next to a lake. He comes home and is surprised that she drowned? Seriously? Better parenting might have saved her life. How could she not know how to swim when she lives right next to a lake? So, then the town gets all upset and takes to fire & pitchforks after a person they’ve never seen before if he even exists. Then Frankenstein joins the search in which after his fiancé was attacked he assumes his monster is in town. But did he tell the mayor at all about this? Nobody knows. Quick question: Was Fritz suppose to be Igor? Or was Fritz the original character from the Shelley book? I’m thinking he was. The soundtrack was hardly there. Wait, I might have to go check to see if there was a score…
Overall plot to me was very weak. Man creates monster, monster gets loose, monster kills creator, town kills monster. Actually that small synopsis felt like it had more depth than what I spent an hour and 10 minutes watching. They give up on the “monster” after one incident that he was actually provoked into (fire). That doesn’t seem like the Dr. was actually obsessed with his “experiment”. Maybe he was just obsessed with the experiment itself and once he finished it he grew tired. The Monster of Frankenstein was creepy at best. I’ve seen this character my whole life and I thought he would be scarier than what he actually was. He was quite agile for a Frankenstein monster. Ninja-like at times. I guess I was expecting more of the zombie stiff walking/creeping to show up but we get very little of that.
On the whole, I’m glad I watched it. I was pretty terrified to start it up but once I did I realized there was nothing to fear. Seriously, nothing at all to fear. It’s not that the movie was cheesy, it’s more of the fact that it had so much potential to be more than what it was.
*Sidenote* I think I know where George Lucas got some of his character inspiration for his Yoda character. Please see Baron Von Frankenstein.
Comic book Connection: n/a
Nudity Bonus: n/a
In the last post, if you read it, I mentioned that I do not like old horror movies. I guess I should have said that I do not like the ones from the 60’s to the late 80’s. But the classics…I absolutely love them. Actors like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff really knew how to draw their audience in. The acting was not cheesy and to me, had just the right amount flair to make it fun to watch.
I must say I felt sorry for the monster in Frankenstein. This kind of brings up the question of nature over nurture and which one is more of a factor of how one is in life. Fritz, Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant. tormented the monster as much as he could. It was almost like he was the only child that got replaced by a new baby. He teased and teased even though “daddy” told him not to. The monster wanted to be good, that was shown when we was playing with the little girl. He just wasn’t taught how to be gentle, or the fact that throwing a person in water could kill them in 10 seconds or less.
So it was decided when the little girl was found dead that the monster must be taken care of. Dr. F takes it on himself to find and kill his own creation. But kinda gets his butt kicked in the process.
I really do like this movie. It has drama, romance, death and intrigue. So I give this movie…