Friday, August 20, 2010
Bride of Frankenstein -- Unique In Every Way
Bride of Frankenstein is different. There has only been 1 attempt of which I am aware at re-making it, a really dreadful movie called The Bride, with Sting and Jennifer Beals. (Remember Mystery Science Theatre 3000? They would have had a hey-day with that one!) As far as other serious attempts, I know of only two that are worth mentioning. These were movies about the entire Frankenstein story, a made-for-TV movie with Jane Seymour as the bride, and Kenneth Branagh’s version featuring Helena Bonham Carter. However, those two can’t really be considered re-makes, as they were trying to film the entire novel.
I think it would be impossible to re-capture the wonderful dark humor infused into the original bride story that was mostly responsible, in my opinion, for its unique nature. Bride of Frankenstein was written by William Hurlbut and John Balderston, and also incorporated James Whale's brand of side-glancing, off-beat humor which was his personal stamp. When I was a kid, I thought the story was deadly serious, and believed I should see it that way. After I had a few years under my belt, I realized how really funny this movie is. It still has the pathos of the poor monster’s loneliness and solitude, it has the wonderful eerie atmosphere of light and shadow, that fabulous laboratory, and lots of lightning. But it also has Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Praetorius with his little human menagerie, O.P. Heggie as the violin-playing blind hermit, and of course Elsa Lanchester with the hair!