She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1999) Movie Script

It's an old clich that a sequel
is never as good as the original.
But director James Whale set that
on its head with Bride of Frankenstein,
the crowning achievement
of Universal's golden age of horror.
Never had a studio lavished so much
production value and acting talent
on a so-called monster movie.
Bride of Frankenstein
transcended its genre
and remains one of
Universal's best-loved films.
For Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein,
the attempted creation
of the monster's bride
was always part of her original vision.
How James Whale and Universal Pictures
played matchmaker
for Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester
is quite a story.
And, like a good cast,
well worth repeating.
Oh. I thought I was alone.
It's one of the great American films.
It's right up there with
Citizen Kane and Sunset Boulevard.
It's usually discussed as
"Oh, just a horror movie",
but it's much more complex.
Do you know who Henry Frankenstein is?
And who you are?
Yes. I know.
Made me from dead.
The various story elements,
the intellectual elements,
the artistic and acting elements
that came to bear in this film,
really crystallised all the things
that had been building
in that genre, at that studio, at that time.
I love dead.
Hate living.
You're wise in your generation.
The Bride of Frankenstein
quite simply is the most complex
and most brilliantly achieved
and conceived horror film ever made,
and certainly the crowning jewel in
Universal's initial series of horror films.
You make man like me?
No. Woman.
Friend for you.
It's a wonderful film. It's just delightful.
Certainly there are some scenes
where humour and terror
are all beautifully blended.
When you get into Bride of Frankenstein,
you're making it all up.
There are no rules. The only rules
are those of the imagination.
Whale had an extraordinary imagination.
There are some imaginations which are
best left to go do their own Gothic thing.
This isn't science.
It's more like black magic.
When Universal unleashed
the original Frankenstein in 1931,
it found a new formula
for box-office magic.
In a stunning portrayal, Boris Karloff
was catapulted to international stardom.
James Whale, well-regarded
for his British stage work,
had been imported to Hollywood
for his ability to direct dialogue.
Ironically, as movies were learning
to talk, it was a silent performance
that made the Hollywood careers
of both Karloff and Whale.
Universal's founder, Carl Laemmle,
didn't want his son, Carl Junior, to make
films like Dracula and Frankenstein.
But there was no arguing
with the box office.
As soon as Frankenstein was complete,
the studio began planning a follow-up.
This time it was
the director who objected.
James Whale didn't want to do
a sequel to Frankenstein.
He seemed to be trying to
squirm out of it, as it were,
avoid it, bypass it.
Do something else instead.
He said he'd gotten everything out of
the first one, that he'd "wrung it dry".
Maybe that was the phrase.
You have to remember that Frankenstein
was the Jaws or Star Wars of its day.
It was such a big hit.
The studio had so much invested in it
that finally he agreed to do it.
But again I love the fact that
he only did it on his terms.
Meantime, Universal again teamed Whale
and Karloff for The Old Dark House,
a sardonic thriller that introduced
Whale's mischievous sense of humour.
The Invisible Man, with Claude Rains,
mixed laughs and chills,
and showcased state-of-the-art
special effects.
The effects in The Invisible Man
are just extraordinary.
You still watch them
and wonder how some were done.
You're crazy to know who I am,
aren't you?
All right/ I'll show you.
There's a souvenir for you.
And one for you.
I'll show you who I am and what I am.
How do you like that, eh?
Whale directed some stylish non-horror
films for Universal in the early '30s,
including By Candlelight
in the manner of Lubitsch,
an adaptation of Galsworthy's
One More River,
and a screwball comedy mystery
Remember Last Night?
He always had very mixed feelings
about his horror films.
He liked them, but he wanted
to be an A-list director.
He wanted to make
the big-money projects,
like John Stahl at Universal did.
And, curiously enough,
who remembers who John Stahl was?
But we all remember the movies
made by James Whale.
Junior Laemmle, who was
the general manager at Universal,
had enormous respect for Whale.
I think that he felt that certainly
what Whale had done
with Frankenstein, The Old Dark House,
The Invisible Man,
with the other non-horror-genre films
that he had done,
showed a great stylist at work.
Although Junior Laemmle himself
was not a creative man,
he had a very instinctive feel, I think,
for something that was good.
I think he felt James Whale
was the director at Universal
who probably had the best chance
of putting Universal on par with MGM,
and with Warner Bros,
and with the big boys in Hollywood.
So he really gave him free rein to do
whatever he wanted with the picture.
After rejecting several scripts
for the Frankenstein sequel,
Whale took personal control
over the screenplay's development.
The fact that Whale didn't especially want
to make the film, and then agreed to,
prompted him to offer ideas for the script
to the writers. Suggest things.
At least, we have a very good indication
that he did this.
People such as Elsa Lanchester
mentioned this,
that this was his idea,
that that was his idea.
The little people in the bottles
was his idea.
He insisted that he have
the opening prologue
with Mary Shelley
and Byron and Percy Shelley.
That was essential,
otherwise he wouldn't do it.
Elsa Lanchester, for example, told me
that Whale insisted that she be
allowed to play Mary Shelley,
and also the bride.
It was either that
or he wouldn't make the film.
It was a great thrill to meet
Elsa Lanchester. I met her in 1981.
She said that it was Whale's intention
to show that very pretty people,
which is how Mary Shelley
is presented in the film,
actually inside
have very wicked thoughts.
Can you believe that lovely brow
conceived of Frankenstein?
A monster created from cadavers
out of rifled graves?
The money was available to him
to make a much more elaborate film
than the first one.
Because of the success,
they let him go with the sets,
and go with the care and the time
and the photography and the music,
so that he could polish
and refine and elaborate,
in a way that the earlier films, which were
made faster, wouldn't have permitted.
It's an odd sequel in many ways.
For example, after a brief glimpse of
the monster in the beginning of the movie,
he doesn't show up again for a half-hour,
a third of the way into the movie.
Meanwhile, you've spent most of your
time with this odd character, Dr Pretorius.
I think if you look at Dr Pretorius,
that's an example of how the movie has
changed so radically from the first one.
In the first one, there was
the boring Dr Waldman.
And in this one, suddenly
there's this full-blown eccentric,
very, very gay and funny character,
that was created by Whale
in the development of the screenplay
for the second film.
Yes, there have been developments
since he came to me.
Unlike the original film, Mary Shelley's
novel featured a highly articulate monster.
Bride of Frankenstein
restored the monster's speech.
Before you came, I was all alone.
It is bad to be alone.
Alone. Bad.
Friend. Good.
Speech was the essential difference
between the original Frankenstein
and the Bride of Frankenstein.
My father really objected
to the monster being given speech.
He felt it would take away
from the original portrayal,
and I think he was wrong.
Cinema history has proven him wrong.
It's one of the few sequels that really...
most film critics regard
as surpassing the original.
Once more, Boris Karloff faced
a gruelling and uncomfortable make-up,
designed and applied
by the legendary Jack Pierce.
One of the changes in the make-up,
besides the fact that Karloff
had gained weight...
He wasn't as cadaverous.
I think success...
He was able to eat more and
unfortunately he had a little fuller face.
But one of the biggest changes
was the results of the fire.
So they singed his hair off
and gave him almost this crew cut,
which through the film grows,
which I thought was pretty neat.
His make-up goes through four
or five stages of regeneration,
allowing him to grow both visually
as well as spiritually as the film unfolds.
They gave him a burn on his hand and
a bit of a burn on this side of his face.
But other than that the make-up
was basically the same.
The flat head, and they still had
the electrodes in the brow.
Just a slightly fuller face with a few
little burn scars and the singed-off hair.
A great make-up.
Actually there was another change.
In the original make-up, he only had one
clamp on his head - this side actually.
It was something they didn't notice
for the longest time.
You would see pictures from the Bride,
and you saw the two big clamps, the little
ones in-between and the ones on the side.
I used to always assume that was
the same on the original make-up.
Later, when I started looking at it,
I said "He only has one clamp."
During the filming of Frankenstein,
Karloff sustained a serious back injury,
and suffered many discomforts due to
the weighted boots and padded costume.
For the sequel, efforts were made
to lessen the ordeal.
I'm sure they treated him more like a star,
because he was successful with
Frankenstein and some films after that.
I think that, in the original, the top of his
head was probably fabricated each day,
built up out of cotton and collodion.
In the Bride and the Son later on,
there was a rubber forehead that went on,
which probably sped up the process
for Boris and Jack.
I know they gave Karloff a slant board,
because he still couldn't quite sit down.
I have a picture in my office of him in this
great slant board, drinking a cup of tea.
The make-up posed technical challenges
for cinematographer John Mescall,
who required special lighting
for the monster's skin tones.
Jack Pierce's make-up for the monster
essentially was a blue-green colour.
This was not due to any belief in
a colour aesthetic for the monster.
But if the monster were photographed
wearing this shade of greasepaint,
on orthochromatic film,
and if he was lit as Mescall lit him,
with blue-gelled light,
he would read as dead white.
Mescall had red added into the make-up
of those who had scenes with the monster
and often trained warmer lights on them.
The make-up for the Bride of
Frankenstein is an absolute masterpiece.
It's the only iconic female monster
to ever come out of the movies.
I mean, if you were to think of
a classic female monster,
it's the Bride of Frankenstein
that comes to mind.
The Elsa Lanchester make-up was
very different from the Karloff make-up.
I'm sure what they wanted to do
was have her attractive.
You didn't want to have
a hideous woman monster.
I don't know if it was
an executive decision or what.
"We can't have an ugly woman monster."
So they came up with this...
again, another icon.
You think of the Bride of Frankenstein,
everybody knows that wacky hairstyle.
It had that Egyptian Nefertiti look to it.
They had this wire cage on her head and
that was really her hair mixed in with it.
They probably filled it in
with some crepe wool.
And the white streaks,
the crazy white streaks.
Yet she was very made-up, almost
wore basically a glamour make-up.
If it wasn't for the scar around the neck,
it would have looked like some
glamorous woman with a wacky hairstyle.
I heard that Elsa Lanchester
wasn't too fond of Pierce,
which I was sorry to hear.
Someone who I idolise like Jack Pierce.
I've heard from people that
he was a crotchety old guy.
Elsa Lanchester talked about Jack Pierce,
and she said that he was
an unusual personality.
He really almost felt, in her opinion,
that he was a god
who created these horror characters
that Universal marketed.
In the morning, he'd be all dressed up
in a surgeon's smock
as if he were about to
perform an operation.
She said you went into his sanctum
sanctorum to have the make-up done,
and you waited for him to say hello.
You didn't say hello first.
He had to say hello first.
So he was very, very much in control.
He really was a divine presence within his
own realm of creating these make-ups.
She was very funny. She talked about
the scar under the neck of the bride.
She said that Jack Pierce
took the longest time to do this,
that he went through this incredible ritual
of applying this scar,
that she said hardly shows in the film.
She said "I'm sure he could have bought
a scar for ten cents in a joke shop."
But he had his own way of doing it,
and he lovingly and painstakingly applied
this scar each morning to the bride.
The idea of the hiss of the female monster
came from she and Charles Laughton
feeding the swans at Regents Park.
She said "When swans would come up, if
you went to feed them, that was all right,
but if you got too near them or got near
their young, they would hiss."
So she thought of this
incredible hiss of the swans
and she incorporated it into the character.
Frankenstein combined English
and American actors,
not always convincingly.
Bride of Frankenstein was cast
mainly with British players.
Mae Clarke, the original Elizabeth,
was replaced by the 17-year-old ingnue
Valerie Hobson.
Valerie Hobson gives an amazing
performance, I think, as Elizabeth.
Very stylised. She's like
a Christmas angel,
the way she appears with the dress
and the flowing hair.
I talked to her in 1989 and she had
warm memories of making the film.
She said the first time she saw Karloff,
it was an extraordinary experience.
There he was in complete
Frankenstein monster make-up,
and she said "I just was so amazed.
All of a sudden he opened his mouth
and out came this very gentle
British accent with a lisp."
She said that he was like
the great clowns who make you cry.
He really made you cry.
This monster whose heart was just
bleeding to get out of his monstrous self,
to find somebody to love,
to find somebody to love him in return.
And he pulled it off. Remarkable feat
of acting. She was very impressed by it.
Valerie Hobson was very
appreciative of James Whale.
Not only was he a great director,
but he was, as she put it, so English.
Here she was, a 17-year-old
British girl in Hollywood,
and he made her feel very much at home.
She said she was the victim of
James Whale's rather bizarre wit,
because the first time she met
Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein,
it was the scene where she becomes
hysterical and falls into bed with him.
As they rehearsed this scene
and she fell into bed,
James Whale said "Mr Clive, this is Miss
Hobson." And she was in bed with him.
So she said it was pretty strange,
even for Hollywood, as an introduction.
Colin Clive played Henry Frankenstein
again in one of his last performances.
Emotionally tortured and ravaged by
alcohol, he died two years later aged 37.
Frankenstein's mentor,
Dr Septimus Pretorius,
a role originally
intended for Claude Rains,
was played by James Whale's real-life
theatrical mentor, Ernest Thesiger,
an actor reportedly
just as eccentric off-screen as on.
To a new world of gods and monsters.
Una O'Connor, who was in The Invisible
Man, was another Whale favourite
and a perfect choice for Frankenstein's
twittering housekeeper, Minnie.
Although Frankenstein's assistant,
played by Dwight Frye,
met a nasty end in the first film,
James Whale combined
several small parts
to give the actor
a memorable assignment.
Fritz von Frankenstein of course had been
killed by the monster in Frankenstein.
Jimmy Whale - I say Jimmy Whale
because that's what my father called him -
liked my dad's work.
What we need is a female victim
of sudden death. Can you do it?
If you promise me a thousand crowns.
It will be well worth it,
and the baron will pay.
I'll try.
Bride of Frankenstein is visually
the best Universal horror classic,
thanks to art director Charles Hall
and cinematographer John Mescall.
Expressionistic tricks,
totally artificial lighting,
these great painted skyscapes,
and the way the tombs
are all at weird angles.
Magnificent stuff like that.
One of the things that intrigues me about
Whale's career, his work in general,
is the background...
the backgrounds that he had.
That is, as a theatre actor
and theatre director,
but as a set designer in theatre,
as well as a painter and so forth.
One wonders to what extent he might
have had input into the visual appearance,
the look of the sets of his films,
in a way that most directors at that time
would not be likely to do.
Elsa Lanchester said, when she was not
actually needed on the set at one point,
he took her to the studio
and showed off the forest set.
He was proud of his achievement here.
I said "Was this his design?"
This telephone-pole forest,
where the tree trunks are just trunks
and it's just bare and stark,
in contrast to earlier,
when there's a bucolic scene
and it's a very attractive nature forest.
She said "Yes, of course it was his idea."
Not that he drew the plans for it,
but he would give the ideas
and maybe make little sketches
and give them to the department heads
and have them develop it.
Cinematographer Mescall achieved new
visual heights with Bride of Frankenstein,
the result of a seasoned working
relationship with Whale.
John Mescall did a total of five pictures
with James Whale.
Bride is probably his best remembered.
The film itself is probably the high-mark
of Whale's late period at Universal.
Mescall used a style of lighting
he referred to as Rembrandt lighting,
which was to use a central light
and a cross-light about three-quarters
through the scene,
to provide illumination of the subject
against a dark background.
It's very much like
Rembrandt's painting style,
where there is light that is directional
and gives contours and definition.
The crowning touch in
Bride of Frankenstein
was the inspired musical score
by Franz Waxman.
You've got a first-rate cast
in an extremely well-written script
with a tremendous musical score.
One of the most important Hollywood
scores of the mid-'30s by Franz Waxman.
For the opening sequence of Byron and
Shelley on a stormy evening at the villa,
Waxman wrote a very charming
period-style minuet,
which speaks of the life of ease
and delicacy that we see depicted.
As the flashback story is told by Byron...
"A winter setting in the churchyard..."
...he evolves into a huge fugue
to illustrate the horrors and terrors
of the original story,
before returning back to the minuet
that sets us pretty much
with period parlour music.
There is an awful lot of commentary
through the music.
Sometimes impish, sometimes
emotionally reinforcing,
but, like so much that's
in this film, heightened.
The basic structure of Waxman's score
is Wagnerian.
He uses motives for each of
the major characters or sequences.
These are thematic building blocks
which can introduce or herald
each character's entrance
or imply their presence off-camera
when they aren't present.
Almost operatically, isn't it?
The leitmotif approach,
where you have a particular phrase
or melody associated with a person,
one character or a different character.
The monster has a four-note motive which
seems to be patterned upon his growl.
It's almost as if Waxman had observed
the performance and deduced that from it.
The bride herself has a very exotic
high-flown three-note melody.
It is very open-ended and that allows it
to be utilised in many different forms.
We first hear it, narrative-wise, when
Pretorius speaks of her imminent birth.
- Friend for you.
- Woman?
Friend. Yes.
Dr Pretorius, who is the kind of
Mephistophelean interloper.
He's a figure both of humour
and tremendous evil.
He has a very mad, loping theme.
It portends all kinds of things to come,
usually resolved with a small coda, which
is again open-ended and unresolved.
You never know what Pretorius is going
to do or where his actions will lead.
There's a wonderful sequence,
where he is slightly drunk in the crypt,
dreaming of monsters to come,
and is surprised by the Karloff creature.
It's done in a very metric fashion,
recalling the Danse Macabre
of Saint-Sans.
In fact Waxman called the cue
Danse Macabre.
Bride of Frankenstein attracted
censorship, during and after production.
The prologue was shortened,
in part to eliminate all close-ups
of Elsa Lanchester's dcolletage.
That was just the beginning.
The film had about 15 minutes of cuts
made before it was nationally released.
I think again Universal
was trying to play it safe.
The film was incredibly outrageous
and in some ways almost subversive.
I think they wanted to make sure
it didn't get them in too much trouble.
Like all Hollywood scripts,
the script for the Bride
had to be presented to the Breen office,
the censorship board within Hollywood,
to have approval and discussion
of any objectionable issues.
The script contained
many religious references,
some of which could be intended or
construed as bordering on blasphemy.
It may be that I'm intended
to know the secret of life.
It may be part of the divine plan.
Henry, don't say those things.
Don't think them.
It's blasphemous and wicked.
We are not meant to know those things.
The monster is man-made, not God-made,
but he goes through a Christ-like orbit of
misunderstanding and ultimate betrayal.
The original script had the monster
mistaking the figure on a crucifix
for a suffering, persecuted creature
like himself.
The censors would have none of that,
so now the Christus is a background prop
and he instead - more blasphemously -
topples the statue of a bishop,
as though he's assaulting
organised religion.
That's a visual cue
that was not in the script
and therefore didn't receive objection.
When Henry and Dr Pretorius
speak about the possible mad plan
to create new female life,
the blasphemous Dr Pretorius
invokes religious iconography
and says "Follow the lead of nature,
or of God..."
It was scripted
"...if you like your fairytales."
Well, this is not how one
speaks about organised religion.
It's changed to "Bible stories",
which is a statement of fact.
Follow the lead of nature,
or of God, if you like your Bible stories.
The way Ernest Thesiger reads the line,
"Bible stories" contains
such invective and disdain
that it's more offensive
than if he'd said "fairytales".
This is how one got around the letter
of the censor and the spirit of intent.
Bride initially had a fairly lengthy subplot
involving the Dwight Frye character.
It was probably a misbegotten script idea
that was meant to illustrate
the monster as victim.
Carl had this uncle and aunt in the film,
who he killed,
and led everybody to believe
that the monster had killed them.
It was probably about a ten-minute
sequence followed by a morgue inquest.
It had no bearing on the narrative line
and probably stopped the film
dead in its tracks at the midpoint.
Whale, probably wisely, removed this,
and that narrative bridge
was filled by a retake,
where the monster is discovered
in the woods,
quite benignly trying to get food
from some Gypsies,
who of course react in abject terror.
This leads us on to the monster
and the hermit sequence.
Every time I watch that scene
with the hermit, the blind man,
I'm struck by how sincerely moving it is.
There is no overtone there
of condescension or ridicule
or making fun of either of those
two characters in that scene,
or of their relationship,
of their need for each other,
and their relief at finding a friend.
It wasn't just "I'm going to
play games with odd humour."
It was sensitivity,
and that sensibility of the warmth
and mutual need that those people find,
that he indulged himself with too.
That wasn't in the first film either.
Those kinds of feelings - both extremes -
weren't in the first film.
Humour has never been so artfully
blended into a horror film as in the Bride.
Very bizarre, this little chap.
There's a certain resemblance to me,
don't you think?
Or do I flatter myself?
Hindsight tells us that Whale's
sense of humour is sort of camp.
I'm not sure that that's really
quite how it was at the time.
I think the camp and kitschy
elements of his humour
may be something...
a gloss we're putting on it,
some 60 years... 65 years
after the picture was made.
The humour in Bride of Frankenstein
permeates much of the story line.
It isn't in comedy-relief segments,
but it is part and parcel
with the characters
and what they do in the main story line.
Pretorius is a comic figure because
of the way he stands outside of life,
of the world, of Henry,
of his own existence,
and comments on it, if only
in the irony of his perspective.
He doesn't take existence seriously.
So he makes comments about
his creations of these little people,
he makes comments about himself
being like the devil or vice versa.
He has an ironic twist to existence,
which is, from what I can tell, something
that he shares - that character shares -
and the actor who played him,
Ernest Thesiger, shared -
with James Whale himself.
Dr Pretorius is firstly
an archetypal old queen.
I think we should fess up about that
right from the beginning.
He is however also Mephistopheles
to Colin Clive
as Frankenstein's... Faust, I think.
He's the one seducing Frankenstein away
from, if I may say, the straight and narrow
back into this very much
more twisted vision
of what he should be doing with his life.
I gather we not only did her hair,
but dressed her.
What a couple of queens we are, Colin.
Yes, that's right.
A couple of flaming queens.
Pretorius is a little bit in love
with Dr Frankenstein, you know.
The gay sensibility responds to outsiders.
Bride of Frankenstein contains several.
Pretorius is an outsider.
Frankenstein becomes an outsider
by being seduced away
from marriage and the home
to becoming the mad scientist again.
And most obviously, most dramatically,
and most poignantly,
the monster is an outsider.
It's very tempting to assume
that Whale identified with an individual
who is an outsider like this,
that the average person
does not understand.
I'm sure James Whale knew what
that felt like when he was a youth,
as an artistically inclined person
in a factory town,
in a factory family.
He knew what that was like probably
well before he knew it as a homosexual.
But it was also the artistry,
being an artist, being a sensitive person,
being somebody who people made fun of,
for whatever reason.
You find that in so many of the characters
in Bride of Frankenstein.
The film also makes a serious comment
on the tensions, sometimes violent,
between society
and the non-conforming individual.
The monster is... the unleashing of the id,
that which must be kept under control,
and when it's unleashed, this is a threat
to stability of society, of human nature.
So somebody must come and
either kill or otherwise tame
that monster that's been unleashed.
And the villagers do that.
The villagers in Frankenstein and in Bride
are almost the villains of the piece.
That's especially the case in the end of
Frankenstein, where they're a lynch mob.
He had the idea that, when people thought
as a group, it could only lead to trouble.
Somehow the mob mentality
was a scarier thing to face
than any monster could possibly be.
With Show Boat,
Whale had nearly achieved his dream
of creative autonomy
and prestige productions.
But Universal was burdened with debt
and in 1936 Carl Laemmle lost his studio.
Whale had this amazing niche for five
years, working under Junior Laemmle.
He almost acted as an independent
filmmaker today. He really had control.
There was nobody -
either a studio person or a producer -
over his shoulder, telling him what to do.
When the Laemmles lost control
over Universal, that was gone.
Whale suddenly found himself
working for people
who were not in sympathy
with his methods at all.
It was much closer to the factory
assembly-line form of filmmaking
that they were doing at MGM
and the other studios.
Whale worked very badly
in those conditions.
Whale's last stand at Universal
was The Road Back,
an uncompromising sequel to
All Quiet on the Western Front.
Under pressure from Germany, the studio
regime severely cut the picture
and it died at the box office.
Whale retired from Hollywood in 1941.
Although financially secure for life,
he did not live to enjoy the critical
acclaim his work finally received.
Disabled and disoriented by a series
of strokes, he took his own life in 1957.
Without Whale's masterful touch,
the later Frankenstein films were
of little interest to their star.
My father played the monster three times.
The third time was Son of Frankenstein,
and at that point he decided
he would not do it again.
He felt that the story line
had been exhausted
and the monster, as he had created him,
had done all that he should
be asked to do.
He was afraid that it would become
the brunt of bad jokes and bad scripts,
and there are those
that would agree with him.
Bill Condon's Academy Award-winning
film Gods and Monsters
featured a reunion between the stars of
Bride of Frankenstein and their director.
Hey, you/ With the camera/
We got a historical moment here.
This is Mr James Whale,
who made "Frankenstein"
and "Bride of Frankenstein".
And this - forget the baby a second - is
the monster
and his bride.
Oh, Karloff. Right/
Don't you just love being famous?
The figure of the bride is so iconic
that she crops up in all kinds of films.
There's this absolutely wonderful Bride of
Frankenstein parody in Small Soldiers.
The Bride of Frankenstein shows up in
the Bride of Chucky in a very clever way.
She's alive/ Alive/
We belong dead.
You can do a little drawing of the bride
and people will say "I know what that is."
I remember building little Aurora kits
of the Bride of Frankenstein
when I was a little kid,
way before I could see the movies,
and being totally enchanted by these
creatures lumbering across my desk
when I went to sleep at night. It felt safe.
Some of these youngsters -
seven, eight, nine years old -
they know the script
backwards and forwards.
Of course, with the advent of video, it
brought it into everybody's living room,
and now on DVD.
It perpetuates the availability,
and the appeal is long-lasting
and multi-generational.
It's a brilliant film, it's a work of genius.
I think it's a picture in which the acting,
particularly the performances of Karloff
and Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger,
transcend anything you saw being done
in Hollywood at that time.
Brilliant, almost operatic performances.
And if ever somebody
needs to study a film
to see how a director injects
his own personality into a picture,
Bride of Frankenstein
is the perfect example.
You can almost watch it and feel like
you spent an evening with James Whale,
listening to his wit, his ideas, and
listening to his remarkable personality.
It's all there in that movie.
It's like an evening with Jimmy.
1935 was an incredible year
for horror movies.
In addition to Bride of Frankenstein,
there was Werewolf of London,
The Raven, Mark of the Vampire and
Mad Love. All these are classics,
but, almost 70 years later, Bride of
Frankenstein towers above them.
As a follow-up, James Whale was
scheduled to direct Dracula's Daughter
as a baroque black comedy even more
outrageous than Bride of Frankenstein.
But the script was too much
for the censors.
We missed the daughter,
but we still have the bride,
and that's something to be grateful for.
I'm Joe Dante.