Monday, October 22, 2007

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22 - Movie 1

"Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) is one of those rare sequels that is better than the original film. Also directed by james Whale who infused this movie with camp humor and blatant religious symbolism (and, if you were the type to do so, you could argue quite easily about the whole gay subtext about Henry Frankenstein abandoning his wedding bed and wife to go and create artificial life with queeny Dr. Pretorius). There were several changes in the cast since the first movie, and even though we saw, Henry's father, Baron Frankenstein toasting to the health of his son at the end of "Frankenstein" he has aparently died before that seen would have taken place in this movie (the beginning of which overlaps the end of the last). The performances here are all pretty much excellent, though Una O'Connor as the screeching hen of a servent, Minnie might not be for everyone and Valerie Hobson, taking over from Mae Clarke, the role of Elizabeth is pretty bland. Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius is a terrific addition to the movie, and Karloff really shines as a very sympathetic monster who learns to speak from a blind hermit (O.P. Heggie). Jack Pierce's revised look for the burned monster wisely reduces his drooping eyelids so that the monster's black eyes can be seen, allowing for a more wide ranging amount of expression, and allowing the audience to empathize more with his plight (even though he continues to murder people, including a second child). As to Elsa Lanchester as the bird-like Bride, she's still really hot. The greatest addition to this movie, over the original, however must be Franz Waxman's score, which remains one of the best movie scores of all time.

After the monster escapes from jail, and runs out of town, there is a scene inside a house with a crowd grouped around adying man, followed by Minnie running upstairs to discover the man's wife also murdered. If you are wondering when the monster had time to enter their home and kill them, wonder no more. The monster didn't do it. This is material leftover from a subplot in which Pretorius's assistant, Karl (Dwight Frye) murdered his miderly aunt and uncle, and tried to make it look like the monster was responsible.

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