The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) Review
Karl Karloff as the Monster
Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein
Valerie Hobson as Elisabeth
Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius
Review written by Dr. Chills
Bride of Frankenstein begins with an actress portraying Mary Shelly, the Frankenstein Author, talking to her husband Lord Byron and another Lord about the first novel she wrote. The Shelly character comments that Frankenstein is a morality tale about what happens when man thinks he can become as powerful as God. This same theme reverberates throughout Bride of Frankenstein, but in this film we are given a deeper glimpse into the heart and soul of The Monster.
Now there are a few things to keep in mind in keeping track during this review. First of all, the monster who is commonly known as Frankenstein is not Frankenstein. Frankenstein is the name of the character that created the monster. Secondly, although this film is called Bride of Frankenstein, and although the film does feature the wife of Dr. Frankenstein, this film is actually about the bride of The Monster that Dr. Frankenstein initially created. R. Frankenstein creates another one.
Oh and one more thing. The Monster didn’t die at the end of the first film, despite all appearances that he was burned up in the windmill fire. Yes folks, it seems that our Monster from Frankenstein was one of the first movie monsters to re-animate, or just simply not die. But even as I write this I can see the complications that will inevitably abound. He did reanimate in the sense that he was thought to be dead, but came back to life, but can we really use the term reanimate, when he started as a dead person and was reanimated at his “birth”? And I guess we can’t really compare The Monster to say someone like Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies, because although Jason had a similarly indomitable spirit and resistance to actually dying or staying dead, Jason at one time did live, as did Freddie Krueger and Leather face. So is it even fair to compare The Monster, who was never actually alive before death to his successors. I’ll leave this question for an Ossuary conversation.
Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson) poses a question to her husband as to what prompts us to search out curiosities such as God or the Devil, and I think it a very interesting question as nearly 75 years later humanity finds themselves in the grip of similar moral dilemmas regarding death, life and man’s limitations in relation to God. You guessed it. I’m talking about Stem Cells. Bride of Frankenstein in introduced the world cinematic film community to the concept of stem cells for the first time.
Dr. Pertorius, another mad scientist who hoodwinked and bamboozled Dr. Frankenstein into trying for another artificial human being began doing his own tinkering by growing miniature people from cells. He was quite successful and they had all the trapping of real persons, save their height. Who knew that life would someday imitate art and that we would be able to grow in a laboratory, not miniature people, but things like human ears on mice and sheep from a Petri dish?
And of course, as with the stem cell debate, there are all sorts of good reasons why we should engage in their use to breed people. In Bride of Frankenstein, the reason was really benign. It had nothing to do with Dr. Pertorius desire to create a master race of non-human beings or Dr. Frankenstein’s desire to traipse the boundaries between God and man and life and death. No, it was really about friendship and loneliness. You see The Monster was lonely, what with only a blind, drunken violin player to keep him company. Who wouldn’t become a little melancholy and start throwing boulders off cliffs at the people below.
Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. What began as a tragic mistake becomes even more tragic. Sorry old chap (referring to The Monster), in the famous words of Don Mclean, speaking of Vincent Van Gogh in his famous song, Starry Starry Night “this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” Rest in peace. Until the next film.