The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Screenplay by: William Hurlbut, story by William Hurlbut, John L. Balderston based on premise suggested by FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Gavin Gordon, Douglas Walton, E.E. Clive, Dwight Frye, Billy Barty, Walter Brennan, John Carradine and Una O’Connor.
Tagline: A BRIDE FOR THE MONSTER COMES TO LIFE IN A SCIENTIST’S LABORATORY!
The Bride of Frankenstein picks up immediately where Frankenstein ended. Miraculously, although severely injured, Henry Frankenstein (Clive) is not dead. As the crowd breaks up, some carry Henry back home to recover. Meanwhile the monster, also thought to be dead, has survived the destruction of the windmill. It climbs out and begins to wander the countryside.
Once healthy enough, Henry pays a visit to his friend Doctor Pretorius (Thesiger). Pretorius shares results of his experiments and encourages Henry to continue efforts to create living creatures from cadavers. Henry is hesitant. Despite Pretorius’ pleas, Henry refuses.
Things heat up when the monster returns, Pretorius prevails and Henry is forced to create The Bride of Frankenstein. We learn there’s one thing worse than an upset bride.
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)
It’s rare that a sequel is better than the original. The Bride of Frankenstein is one of those rare ones.
Universal wanted a follow up after the success of Frankenstein. Director James Whale was hesitant to return. It took four years and multiple writers to come up with a suitable script. Once Whale and the script were in place, Karloff, Clive and Frye returned to reprise their roles.
Elsa Lanchester isn’t listed in the opening credits instead a ? is used to name who was playing the Bride. The same was done in Frankenstein when a ? was listed instead of Karloff’s name as the actor playing The Monster. Despite being the title character the Bride only appears for a few minutes at the very end of the film.
The scene where Henry visits Doctor Pretorius and is shown the little people he created has always seemed a bit out of place to me.
The Bride of Frankenstein has more humor than the original, but the balance is right and it doesn’t detract from the film. I’m looking at you, Una O’Connor.
There are some surprising uncredited cameos in The Bride of Frankenstein. Billy Barty plays a baby, while Walter Brennan and John Carradine show up as town folk.