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Bride of Frankenstein Reviews

One of the seminal achievements of Hollywood cinema, this brilliant sequel to the original FRANKENSTEIN is one of the greatest films of its genre and remains a lasting tribute to the unique genius of director Whale. Asked to continue the tale of the monster and its maker, Mary Shelley (Lanchester) picks up approximately where FRANKENSTEIN left off, with the injured Dr. Frankenstein (Clive) being taken back to his castle to recover, while the monster (Karloff), also alive, wanders the countryside, wreaking havoc in its search for friendship. Enter the eccentric Dr. Pretorius (Thesiger), an alchemist who has also created artificial life. (An utterly delightful scene ensues when he shows off his miniatures.) Pretorius blackmails the reluctant Frankenstein to aid him in creating a bride for the monster, which, in an incredible scene, they do. A splendid combination of gothic horror and impish wit, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a Whale masterpiece. The film is an unforgettable visual experience with its expressionistic sets, costumes and makeup; striking special effects; chiaroscuro lighting and bold camerawork. Waxman's magnificent score adds greatly to the overall effect, from the villagers' march to the mock-love theme attending the monstrous couple's "courtship" to the wedding bells pealing as the bride is presented. The performances are equally superb, with Clive again striking just the right note of nervous hysteria, Karloff beautifully injecting a sense of touching humanity into the confused and angry monster, and charcter actors Una O'Connor, O.P. Heggie, Dwight Frye and E.E. Clive lending ace support. Lanchester is quite amazing as both the deceptively demure Mary Shelley and her marvelously appropriate manifestation in her story, the bride. Thesiger, though, really steals the film with his pithy, menacing and hilarious portrait of the waspish Dr. Pretorius. A film whose black humor and sense of self-parody made Mel Brooks's delightful send-up YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN quite unnecessary, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN transcends even the excesses allowed by its genre to become one of the oddest and most memorable films ever made in America.