Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.
This film's combination of sincerity and peculiar comedy, horror and subtle wit is unique. Do not miss it. Universal Horror of the 1930s and 40s has given us many exceptional films, but this one transcends them all, transcends its category as a horror film and becomes something unclassifiable and endlessly enjoyable. The visuals are peerlessly designed, with their strange lighting, tilted camera angles, unpredictable cuts and marvelous sets; all contributing to something that is both outré yet uncannily perfect. Franz Waxman's score is a constant delight, always adding to the comedy, suspense, pathos and horror: its two highlights for me are the wacky-macabre piece in the tomb and the heartbeat-like pulses and shimmering sounds that introduce the Bride.
Four performances help make this film what it is. Most unforgettable is "?", as she's billed in the credits, playing the creature-bride in her now-familiar makeup, costume and fright wig, making the most of her brief screen time. Most important is Boris Karloff, returning from "Frankenstein" (1931) to give another pitiful, funny and horrifying performance. Most emblematic of the film's comedy is Ernest Thesiger as the thin, desiccated Faust-like figure with his bizarre lines and fruity line readings. The best support comes from O.P. Heggi as the sympathetic hermit. Two more performances deserve note: Colin Clive returns as Henry Frankenstein, crying "She's alive" with that rich, musical voice of his, and Una O'Connor plays the hysterical servant Minnie.
From the weirdly mannered prologue with Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley to the near-final shot of the hissing Bride, this is a movie unlike any other.
- J. Spurlin
- Dec 11, 2006