Monday, February 13, 2017

Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein is one of the earliest sequels ever made, and also one of the best. It seems already in corner after the first, the monster dead, the doctor dead, where to go? Well just bring them back, which seems acceptable through the use of the framing device where Mary Shelley, Elsa Lanchester who also plays the titular bride, tells the next chapter of the story. The film easily finds new ground through granting the monster a voice and introducing a strange new doctor played by Ernest Thesiger who prods Doctor Frankenstein to continue its experiments. As with the original film this is steeped in atmosphere with James Whale directing with a vibrancy you'd find in few "prestige" pictures from the time. A key to the style is the sense to be scared is to have fun, which is underlined with some dark comedy always infused with the monster. This film dives further though, and effectively so into examining what it means to be human and find happiness. The monster literally finds his voice which leads to an even more affecting portrait of something that simply was never meant to be yet still lives. The scene between the blind man and the monster resonates particularly well, as the successfully examines these more complex ideas while still maintaining the tone of an entertaining monster picture. It's a brilliant work of art, and there is something so fascinating how Whale's monster movies where some of the most daring films of the period.

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