Movie: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Because Magenta can work an updo parallel to none other than the Bride herself, next up in the Rocky Horror Science Fiction Double Feature movie binge is The Bride of Frankenstein.

The Bride of Frankenstein
Release Date: 6 May 1935
Runtime: 75 Minutes

Personal opinion: I loved it. It gave me life…itself! I would recommend, especially if you enjoy old black and white movies. It is a piece of horror history.

IMDb Synopsis: Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

IMDb Play By Play:

  • Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester), author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, reveals to Percy Shelley (Douglas Walton) and Lord Byron (Gavin Gordon) that Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his Monster (Boris Karloff) did not die. Both lived, and went on to even stranger misadventures than before.
Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Gavin Gordon in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • We flashback to scenes from Frankenstein (1931), which lead up to our new story. After the mill collapses, and it seems the Monster has been destroyed, the burgomeister (E.E. Clive) urges everyone to return to their homes. But the father (Reginald Barlow) of the little girl whom the Monster had killed (accidentally) in the first film, wants to see the creature’s dead body with his own eyes before he can have peace. His wife (Mary Gordon) tries to stop him; but when the man wanders through the still-burning debris, he falls through a hole that leads to a flooded cavern below the mill. The Monster rises out of the water and kills the poor man, later doing the same for his wife. The Frankensteins’ hysterical servant Minnie (Una O’Connor) also meets with the Monster, but manages to escape with her life. But no one believes her when she screeches that the Monster is still on the loose.
Colin Clive in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Una O'Connor in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Henry wants nothing more than to settle into a peaceful life with his new bride (Valerie Hobson). But his old professor, the sinister Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), now disgraced, appears unexpectedly and convinces him to continue his work of creating new life. Pretorius has been conducting his own experiments but can do no better than to create people who are a few inches tall.
Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, and Una O'Connor in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Soon the village learns that the Monster is still alive. They capture him, but the powerful creature escapes his prison and goes wandering through the forest as the villagers hunt him.
  • The Monster discovers an isolated cabin occupied by an old blind hermit (O.P. Heggie) who is playing the violin. The creature and the lonely hermit soon become friends, as the old man teaches the Monster the joys of music, cigars, bread and wine. The Monster understands human speech and soon learns to speak himself. They’ve both finally found happiness, which is dashed when two travelers stop by to ask directions. They recognize the Monster and attack him, inadvertently burning down the hermit’s cabin in the battle. The Monster runs away, miserable once again.
Boris Karloff and O.P. Heggie in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • A chance meeting in a tomb brings Dr. Pretorius and the Monster together; and Pretorius uses the Monster to kidnap Mrs. Frankenstein and blackmail Henry into returning to his castle and continuing his experiments. The Monster wants his creator to build him a friend; and Pretorius wants to see dead tissue become a living woman. Henry is forced to give his creature a bride.
Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Henry and Pretorius succeed in following the creation of Man with the creation of Woman (Elsa Lanchester again). But Woman is not happy with Man and backs away from him, hissing in horror and fear. The Monster is despondent. He frees Henry and his wife, and then releases a lever that blows the castle to atoms, thus destroying himself, his bride and Dr. Pretorius.
Valerie Hobson in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Colin Clive and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Colin Clive and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dwight Frye in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Cast Credits:

Boris KarloffThe Monster (as Karloff)
Colin CliveHenry Frankenstein
Valerie HobsonElizabeth
Ernest ThesigerDoctor Pretorius
Elsa LanchesterMary Wollstonecraft Shelley / The Monster’s Mate
Gavin GordonLord Byron
Douglas WaltonPercy Bysshe Shelley
Una O’ConnorMinnie
E.E. CliveBurgomaster
Lucien PrivalButler – Albert
O.P. HeggieHermit
Dwight FryeKarl Glutz
Reginald BarlowHans
Mary GordonHans’ Wife
Anne DarlingShepherdess (as Ann Darling)
Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Newspaper Clippings For Bride of Frankenstein

Ames Daily Tribune / Ames, Iowa
18 May 1935, Sat  •  Page 7
Fort Worth Star-Telegram / Fort Worth, Texas
22 May 1935, Wed  •  Page 17
The Bride of Frankenstein in IN (2) -
The Times / Munster, Indiana
05 Jun 1935, Wed  •  Page 29

IMDb Trivia:

  • Marilyn Harris, who played Maria, the girl The Monster accidentally kills in the original Frankenstein (1931), appears uncredited as another young girl. She is the leader of the group of young schoolgirls who encounter the Monster as he runs away from the blind man’s burning house. Director James Whale deliberately gave her a one-word line (“Look!”), so she would be paid more by the studio as an actor with a speaking role, instead of as an extra.
  • Not long before filming began, Colin Clive broke a leg in a horse riding accident. Consequently, most of Henry Frankenstein’s scenes were shot with him sitting.
  • Boris Karloff protested against the decision to make The Monster speak, but was overruled. Since he was required to speak in this film, Karloff was not able to remove his partial bridgework as he had done to help give the Monster his sunken cheek appearance in the first Frankenstein (1931). That’s why The Monster appears fuller of face in the sequel. He sweated off 20 pounds laboring in the hot costume and makeup. Boris Karloff was paid $2,500 per week, for a total of $12,500, a large sum in the mid-30s but perhaps not enough to compensate the 48-year-old for playing the role in the elaborate make-up and heavy costume, exacerbating his already severe arthritis.
  • When filming the scene where the monster emerges from the burnt windmill, Boris Karloff slipped and fell into the water-filled well. Upon being helped out, it was discovered that he had dislocated a hip in the fall. The hip was strapped into place and Karloff soldiered on. He continued to receive massage and heat treatments for the hip for the rest of the shooting of the film.
  • Elsa Lanchester said that her spitting, hissing performance was inspired by the swans in Regent’s Park, London. “They’re really very nasty creatures,” she said. Elsa Lanchester was only 5’4″ but for the role was placed on stilts that made her 7′ tall. The bandages were placed so tightly on her that she was unable to move and had to be carried about the studio and fed through a straw. There was an epilogue to this movie featuring Elsa Lanchester as Mary Shelley, but it was cut from the final film.
  • The original trailer promises “a lifetime of entertainment in two hours”. The final edit ran 75 minutes.
  • The tiny mermaid in Dr. Pretorius’ bottle was Josephine McKim, a member of the 1924 and 1928 U.S. Women’s Olympic Swim Teams and one of the four members of that team to win the 1928 gold medal in the 400-Meter Freestyle Relay. McKim was also Maureen O’Sullivan’s body double in the wonderful nude swimming scene of the previous year’s Tarzan and His Mate (1934).
  • Several scenes were cut after censor’s objections. References to the scandalous sexual arrangements of Mary, Shelley, and Byron were eliminated, particularly the line of dialogue: “We are all three infidels, scoffers at all marriage ties, believing only in living freely and fully.” Breen’s office also objected to shots they considered too revealing of Elsa Lanchester’s cleavage in the prologue.
  • Doctor Pretorious’ full name is “Septimus Pretorious”; this is actually Latin and means “royal seven”, a reference to the seven deadly sins – as well as an indicator of his true nature.
  • As a result of audience reactions from the film’s preview screenings during the first week of April 1935, the film was extensively re-edited. Many scenes were deleted and trimmed, and at least one, the scene where the Monster stumbles into the Gypsy Camp, was added in. As a result of the editing, the original uncut film was approx. 15 minutes longer than its official release length of 75 minutes.
  • Though virtually all of Billy Barty’s scenes (as the little baby in the bottle) were deleted, he can still be briefly glimpsed in a wide shot of all the bottles on Dr. Pretorius’s table (as well as in still photographs).
  • The scene in which the monster encounters the Gypsy camp was filmed shortly before the scheduled release date as a substitute for a scene that had been edited out after sneak previews because of censorship concerns. Since the scene was filmed long after the completion of principal filming – and after the film’s musical score had been completed – the Gypsy camp scene is the only segment of the movie that has no musical score.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Henry Frankenstein was not a doctor. He left medical school because he felt they couldn’t teach him what he needed to know. In neither Frankenstein nor Bride of Frankenstein is Henry referred to a doctor. Only Herr, or Baron. The only Frankenstein that was a Doctor was Wolfgang Frankenstein in The Son of Frankenstein, as played by Basil Rathbone.
  • John Carradine is one of the two hunters that appear at the hermits cabin proclaiming the hermits guest is in fact the monster .
  • “The Bride”, the most obscure of Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters, is on screen for less than five minutes and is the only “Classic Monster” never to have killed anyone. Although it could be argued her rejection drove the Monster to Suicide.
  • The “body count” in the original cut was 21. This was trimmed to 10 after pressure from the censors.
  • The closing credits have the heading “A good cast is worth repeating”.
  • In the opening and closing credits, “The Monster’s Mate” is listed as being played by ” ? ” . Elsa Lanchester is only billed as playing Mary Shelley.
Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, and Ernest Thesiger in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

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