ABlu-ray Collection Needs a Wedding
If there’s any problem with Frankenstein, it’s how unrefined and restrained Bride of Frankenstein makes it look. Bride is one of the firstfilms with a genuine sense of humor, most often provided with acerbic, campy aplomb by the film’s main baddie, Dr. Pretorious. While certain scenes stick out as a little too precious for their own good (I’m looking at you, little people in jars), the film melds the horror and comedy genres seamlessly for the first time in the history of cinema.
In this version, the Monster is more of a protagonist, developing him into a semi-articulate, vengeful, lonely soul, and comic foil. Yeah, he’s scary and pitiful, but those traits also make him comedic. Karloff straddles the line perfectly, and though Son of Frankenstein would recast him to great success strictly as a monstrous menace, Bride gives him the most dimensions, ranking among his greatest performances.
He is almost, and I say almost, upstaged by The Bride. Never before have ghoulishness and glamor synced up so perfectly than with Elsa Lanchester here. The swan-like monster gal barely gets a cameo at the end, but her hissing spurn of The Monster and his creator is the most memorable (and emotional) part of the film. Lanchester was a gorgeous women to begin with (see the wraparound where she plays Mary Shelly herself) and to de-glamorize herself into an undead bachelorette had to take some considerable intestinal fortitude during that time.
You probably won’t be able to read about the next film…