Monday, May 16, 2011

Not Quite A Movie Review: Bride Of Frankenstein

1935, directed by James Whale, that "Bride of Frankenstein."

This is a great movie all around. Great character development in the monster, and a fabulous job by Boris Karloff, learning to speak, making friends, and showing an incredible range of emotion. The greatest Frankenstein portrayal of all time, and he's in almost every scene. But the real key to the movie is Dr. Praetorius, played by Ernest Thesiger.

My favorite line of all time comes as Dr. P is catching a late snack by candlelight in a crypt, dining on top of the coffin that he has just looted, drinking wine, chatting amiably with the skull of a woman who died at 19, ruminating on philosophy and giggling crazily. The monster walks into the light, and Dr. P doesn't miss a beat. "Oh," he says, nonchalantly, "I thought I was alone. Good evening!"

He's funny too. He offers Henry a gin: "it's my only weakness!" He offers the monster a cigar: "it's my only weakness!" When Henry points out to Elizabeth that Dr. P was dismissed from his position as a professor, he replies with great hurt, "I was booted out, booted! my dear lady is the word, for knowing too much."

Elizabeth is great too, played by Valerie Hobsen. That's a great figure right there. She plays it on the verge of hysteria, and very well.

There are beautiful little touches in the script and direction. As the monster enters a graveyard at night he spots the statue of a bishop. He reacts with horror and attacks it, knocking it over. Whatever his bad points, at least he's anti-clerical.

It's all about the bride, however, and predictably the monster is disappointed. "She hate me! Like others." He reacts by destroying everything in sight.

He's still the monster, after all.

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