Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Bride of Frankenstein, Revisited!

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So, what else can I say about "The Bride of Frankenstein"? Let's talk about the makeup, for starters. Jack Pierce had not one, but two monsters to make up this time... although whether or not one could call the Bride a "monster" is a matter of perspective.

Karloff's makeup was refined from the first movie... in fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's the makeup in this movie that most people think of when they think of the Monster!

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Perhaps part of the reason the makeup was so much more deluxe this time is that Karloff had a lot more screen time this time around.

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The Bride's makeup, on the other hand, was quite a bit different. And I really should've saved some pics of the Bride to accompany this, eh? The hairstyle was reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The face wasn't nearly as made up as Karloff had to endure, either... the Bride, despite the few stitches and scars you can see, was lovely to look at (I don't know if Elsa Lanchester had anything to say about how much makeup she had to endure, but it's possible).

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Karloff's time in the makeup chair might've put a strain on him, but he certainly made it pay off for him. Anyone who has the mistaken idea that a monster doesn't require a great actor to portray it has never seen "The Bride of Frankenstein".

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I suppose the phrase "tour de force" gets thrown out a lot when describing acting performances, but you know, I think it fits Karloff's performance here. You feel for the Monster throughout the movie, as he first makes a friend, and then seeks a bride (convinced to do so by Dr. Pretorius for his own purposes)... and then when he finally comes face to face with the woman who was, literally, made for him...

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...and she's completely repulsed by him (yes, I know that's not the scene above). She hisses and screams. And the Monster, who can now speak (I don't believe he really speaks much for the rest of the Frankenstein saga, but I could be misremembering), lets us know he's aware of how she feels... and so, in his torment, he decides only one thing can be done.

He goes to the lever and grasps it, and is reminded that if he pulls that lever, they'll be blown to atoms (why did Doctor Frankenstein install a self-destruct lever? Perhaps after the first movie, he figured he needed some insurance in case the Monster becomes a menace again... either that, or he used the same architect hired by all the James Bond villains).

Quick aside -- as I type this, I'm watching Laugh-In, and Alan Sous is in a short bit playing the Frankenstein Monster! How's that for coincidence!

Anyway, the Monster says his immortal line... "We belong dead!" before throwing the lever, destroying the castle, and killing them all.

Well, everyone but the Monster, as we find out in "Son of Frankenstein" (or was it "Ghost of Frankenstein"?).

Jon

1 comment:

  1. It was in Son of Frankenstein (1939) that we found out that the Frankenstein Monster survived. And if he survived then the Bride must have as well and was lying unconscious and ignored in that crypt within in the old watchtower during Son of Frankenstein. Son of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff was the last serious Gothic Universal Frankenstein horror film. Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) with chubby faced Lon Chaney Jr. as Ygorstein with Bela Lugosi's voice was completely ridiculous unintentionally funny Ed Wood-esque campiness, making it (and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), etc.) more like the comedy Young Frankenstein (1974), more like horror spoofs rather than horror films.

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