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After having realized creating artificial life was to great an ordeal (see Frankenstein
from 1931), Henry Frankenstein decides to give up science & dedicate his
life to his bride-to-be Eliuabeth (Valerie Hobson). But enter Dr.Pretorius
(Ernest Thesiger) who has created life on his own in the form of bizarre
hommunculi, and who now needs Henry to create real, human life ...
the monster (Boris Karloff) proves to have not died at the end of the previous
film (again, see Frankenstein from
1931) after all & soon roams the countryside again. Soon though he is
caught by an angry mob, tied up, tortured, stoned, chained up & imprisoned
... but chains can't hold the monster for long & soon he, in his quest for
happiness, flees the prison to some remote regions, where he stumbles upon the
hut of a blind hermit, who, not seeing him, offers him his friendship &
teaches him some basic linguistic & logical skills as well as the joys of
drinking & smoking (now that's not something you would see in today's
repressive Hollywood cinema anymore).
Of course such an idyll cannot last, & soon 2
hunters who are passing by (one of them John Carradine) misjudge the situation
& in an attempt to save the hermit burn down the hut & organize a posse
to hunt down the monster. Only just can the monster escape when
hiding in a crypt at the local cemetery, & wouldn't you know it, it is
exactly the crypt Pretorius is doing his graverobbing in (& actually, he is
even having a meal in the crypt). Pretorius of course soon realizes the
possibilities of the monster to persuade Frankenstein in helping him create a
woman & he persuades the monster to kidnap Elizabeth to always have a
hostage ready should Henry refuse ...
Reluctantly, Henry now agrees to help
Pretorius create a mate for the monster ... who turns out to bw a rather
beautiful woman (Elsa Lanchaster), wasn't it for the scars from all the
stitching up. However, when the new creature realizes the role intended for her
as the monster's bride, she - despite the monster's greatest efforts to
approach her in a friendly way - cries out in terror.
It is then that the
monster realizes his existence is doomed, lays his hands on the self
destruct-lever of the lab (do all labs come equipped with this ?), allows only
Henry & Elizabeth - who has just been freed - to leave & blows up the
lab, and himself, the bride & Pretorius with it ...
Dwight Frye has a small &
insignificant part as Karl, another hunchbacked assistant, Lucien Prival is a
butler, Una O'Connor & E.E.Clive have comical roles as Frankenstein's maid
& the burgomaster (mayor) respectively.
Bride of Frankenstein
is a rare example of a sequel outdoing the (already great) original, (Frankenstein,
1931), & James Whale has achieved that by slightly shifiting the tone of
the movie towards black humour, with great performances (above all by Ernest
Thesiger), darkly surreal elements (the most obvious being Pretorius'
hommunculi) & some poignant dialogue. This all, complemented by the lavish
& creepy Universal sets & a fluid & inventive driection make this