After vowing to step away from his dark experiments, Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is blackmailed into creating another fiend (Elsa Lanchester) — this time, in female form — who will serve as a ghoulish bride for his infamous monster (Boris Karloff). Ernest Thesiger co-stars as Frankenstein’s deranged mentor, Dr. Septimus Pretorius, who forces the doctor’s hand by kidnapping his wife (Valerie Hobson).
Rating: 10 out of 10
I believe I actually saw this film, the 1935 sequel, before the first. As a kid I thought it just another Frankenstein movie. Upon more viewings, the film makes an impression that lasts very long after the film ends. It continues with the Gothic feeling of the original but this film includes so much more. First and foremost is the emotion and believability that the first film somewhat lacked. In this film the Frankenstein creature learns to speak and is able to voice his pain and want for a mate like him to share eternity with. The film continues right after the first ends and Boris Karloff and Colin Clive return. James Whale (who was the subject of the film Gods and Monsters) directed this film with incredible vision. The lighting is dim and shadows pronounced. Whale is a set director and he relishes on playing the camera to those sets to make dramatic impressions.
The Bride of Frankenstein is a touching film with well placed humor, intensity and precise dialog delivery. The portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein, played by Clive, is a bit enigmatic but surreal. He is in turmoil after having created what most of the villagers see as a complete, murderous creature. It takes a blind man who cannot see what the creature looks like to accept him as a friend. This is one of the most heart wrenching moments of the film. Whale does not do sentimentality at all and provides very visceral images of the creature and of his bride to be.
The Bride of Frankenstein at times provokes fear, disgust and heart breaking emotion. It has the feel of a poetic theater play with great sets and make up. Karloff acts through it and raises the bar for actors who portray beasts. Whale’s direction of the camera and his actors are a revelation.