The Bride of Frankenstein
the bride of frankenstein | james whale | frankenstein | william hurlbut | john l. balderston | boris karloff | elsa lanchester | colin clive | based on | novel | comedy | drama | sci-fi | sci fi | united states
Film: The Bride of Frankenstein
Director: James Whale
Writer: William Hurlbut and John L. Balderston
Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and Colin Clive
This film begins with a prologue with Elsa Lanchester playing the writer of Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. With her are her husband, who is played by Douglas Walton, and their friend, played by Gavin Gordon. There is a storm going outside and Lanchester is scared. Gordon goes on about her story that she wrote and she asks him to not talk about it, since it scared even her. Gordon’s recounting is shown through scenes from the original Frankenstein film so it gets the audience who hasn’t seen it to know where we will be starting. Lanchester then lets on that is not where the story ends.
We are then back at the windmill that was set on fire and it has burned down. The body of Dr. Henry Frankenstein, the creator of the monster has been found and they believe him to be dead. They are taking him back to the castle where his fiancé is waiting. The monster isn’t found and Una O’Connor, wants them to keep searching. The Burogmaster, who is a police officer and played by E.E. Clive, tells everyone to go home.
The father of the little girl that was killed in the previous film by the monster is still there with his wife, they are played by Reginald Barlow and Mary Gordon. Barlow goes into the wreckage of the burned out windmill and falls into a water cave underneath it. The monster is there, played by Boris Karloff. Karloff then kills Barlow and then attacks Gordon, throwing her down into the cave and possible killing her. Karloff then comes up to O’Connor, who runs away screaming.
We then go to Castle Frankenstein. The body of Henry is placed on a table and his fiancé, who is played by Valerie Hobson, comes to look at him. The sheet is removed and we see that he is played by Colin Clive. O’Connor ends back up at the castle and she is the first one to realize that he is not dead. Clive wakes up and taken up to his bed.
A man then comes to visit; he is played by Ernest Thesiger. He meets with Clive, who doesn’t seem to really want to see him. Thesiger congratulates him on creating the monster that he did. He shows him his own research. He has jars that are full of little people. We learn that he has created them from nothing, where Clive created his life through combining parts from deceased body parts. Thesiger wants to create a new creature with Clive, he wants to create a woman, a bride for the creature that Clive created. He wants to combine their experiments to do so though. Clive is reluctant, but does agree.
We then see Karloff as he moves across the countryside. He happens upon a young shepherdess, played by Anne Darling. She screams and falls into a little pond. Karloff goes in and saves her, but hunters happen upon this and shoot him. E.E. Clive shows up and Karloff is arrested. The jail cell does not hold him though as he breaks free. He fights his way out of town and hurts others as he does.
Karloff does find a friend though. He ends up coming to a house where a hermit lives; he is played by O.P. Heggie. Heggie is blind and he gives Karloff refuge. He gives him food, drink, teaches him to smoke and how to talk. Two hunters end up at the house looking for directions and mess everything up. Karloff is back looking for a place to go.
He does find another friend in Thesiger. He is taking the bones of a woman and he offers Karloff food and drink. He corrupts his mind to use him as a bargaining chip with Colin Clive. Clive is having second thoughts about making another monster after he is now married. When Hobson is kidnapped, he agrees to finish the experiment.
Will they succeed in creating a bride for Karloff? Or will it fail? What will happen if they do succeed? Will it be like Thesiger’s small people or monster like what Clive created?
I have to say that the first thing I really liked about this film is that they continued where the previous one left off. They didn’t return all of the same actors, but I will let that slide for this film. One thing that I liked about this one is that they took parts that were left out of the previous film and used it in this one. Examples of this are when Karloff learns how to talk, even though it is different in the novel. The idea of creating a mate is also something that is in the original novel, but it is the idea of the monster in the novel. I thought the acting for this film was really good and this is a very solid sequel. This one also seems to have a higher body count. We don’t know if anyone dies that the film seems to claim does, but there is a lot of possibility to that.
Now this film does have some issues though. One that I really didn’t like was the fact that the bride is not created until the very end of the film and then there is something that happens to end the film immediately. I would have liked them to do it a little earlier and had used her more, but they didn’t. I also found the prologue they used was a bit odd, but I think that was used since Lanchester had such little time in this film as the monster’s mate so they had to get her as Mary Shelley as well. The other issue is my problem with all films from the era, they have short running times and a subplot or two would have beefed that up.
With that said, I would recommend this film to be viewed. The acting is very good and this one holds up well as a sequel to the original. I liked that they kept the continuity of the story and didn’t add anything that would alter or make something that happen in the previous not make sense. I also liked that they brought up a couple more aspects from the novel not used in the previous film. I will warn you that it is from the 1930s and is in black-and-white. If that is an issue, I would avoid this film. If not, this is a solid film that can be viewed by itself thanks to the prologue, or watched in the series of Frankenstein/Universal horror film series.
My Rating: 7 out of 10