BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Reviewed August 21st, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
At the close of Frankenstein, the monster is stranded atop the windmill set ablaze by the throng of townspeople below. It seemed as though this was to be both the first & last time we would see the creature. However, James Whale smiled upon us & gave us the masterpiece…The Bride of Frankenstein!
You can never really; truly “kill” the monster so the sequel was rather inevitable. The really great part is that no one except perhaps Whale himself, knew the sequel would be so good!
As the film opens, we find the townspeople gathered about the smoldering remains of the windmill, carrying a very weak & wounded Victor Frankenstein back to his manor for a much needed rest & rehab. Little do they know that the ground upon which the windmill stood gave way to an underground stream & it is there the monster has found safety. After the last villager has gone, Frankenstein’s creation emerges from the bowels of the Earth if you will in search of anything, something to sustain him. Stumbling across a deserted cemetery he comes upon Dr. Pretorious, a cunning & definitely disturbed medical genius who like Frankenstein, has a morbid fascination with the dead & bringing life back to the deceased. It is here that the idea of a “bride” for Frankenstein’s monster be constructed.
Unable to do it alone, Pretorious enlists the aid of Victor by essentially, kidnapping his wife & threatening bodily harm at the hands of his creation. Needless to say, the Bride is created & the scream heard round the globe is sounded for the first of countless times!
The Bride of Frankenstein is an incredible journey in terror & fascination that re-creates the charm of its predecessor. Elsa Lanchester does a wonderful job as the “Bride” & Karloff, much to his dismay speaks as the monster for the first time on film!
The Bride of Frankenstein is a great film & an excellent entry into the world of the Universal House of Horrors!
The audio as presented is in its original mono platform. The score is so good that it’s actually another character in the film. There’s nothing particularly amazing or spectacular about the audio, it just fits the film. The score is wonderfully conducted & orchestrated. The one thing that I would have liked to have experienced would have been a remastered digital score a’ la the Dracula – 1931 disc. Hopefully, it would have been less distracting than that disc but I guess we’ll never know.
Like all of the Universal Classic Monster discs, the transfer is the best available (except for the Laserdisc version of Dracula) in any format. Given it’s considerable age (65) years, it’s held up remarkably well. There are scratches & flecking throughout the whole of the picture. Having said that, the film looks great! The Black & White images are sharp & clean. While the movie has the expected flaws, its presentation is not marred by their presence. If anything I think it actually adds to the overall feeling of nostalgia I get when watching these films.
Universal has outdone itself with these discs in the way of extras. Each disc is loaded with the best behind-the-scenes info & interviews & “Bride” is no exception. “She’s Alive” is a 30-minute segment on the creation of the Bride of Frankenstein featuring interviews with Dwight Frye’s son, Karloff’s daughter & a host of film historians. Additionally, there is a feature length screen-specific commentary provided by Scott MacQueen.
The Bride of Frankenstein Archive is a collection of publicity materials for the film with all manner of poster art & photographs. Lastly, Production notes, cast & filmmakers bios, the film’s trailer & web links are also provided.
I loved this movie when I saw it about 15 years ago & have loved it ever since! Quite simply put, if you loved the original, you’ll love the sequel Nuff’ said.
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