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Old 05-13-2017, 10:04 PM   #2001
The Great Owl The Great Owl is offline
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I just finished revisiting The Bride of Frankenstein by way of the Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection Blu-ray set.

The general critical consensus is that The Bride of Frankenstein is a better film than its predecessor, but I personally disagree, and I think that Frankenstein is the best film by a long mile. The increased quirkiness factor presented by director James Whale in the sequel has never really appealed to me, and a handful of characters are nails-on-chalkboard annoying, especially the housekeeper, Minnie. I've always felt that the character of Dr. Pretorius, played by Ernest Thesiger, while interesting, is a bit too much. The idea of making the Frankenstein's monster speak ("Bread...good. Wine...good.") never struck me as a good idea.

Having said the above, I still give an enthusiastic A+ thumbs-up to The Bride of Frankenstein. Boris Karloff gives his 100% to the role of the monster again, and, the speaking scenes notwithstanding, he is a joy to watch. Elsa Lanchester, as the Bride (and as an intro role as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley), is incredible during her brief scenes, and I love how the Bride hisses and moves in eerie darting motions. Colin Clive reprises his role as Dr. Frankenstein. Mae Clarke is sadly absent as Elizabeth, but she is replaced in the role by Valerie Hobson, who somewhat resembles Clarke enough to make the transition of movies not too painful.

Incidentally, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley reportedly wrote the novel, Frankenstein, when she was 19, thus setting the bar too high for most of us mere mortals. When I was 19 years old, in 1991, my greatest achievements were not getting kicked out of college, not dying from alcohol intoxication on weekends, and avoiding the Vanilla Ice bandwagon.

The Blu-ray presentation, once again, is a top-notch affair, just as it is on previous releases.


My Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection movie marathon will be interrupted briefly, because I just received a couple of Vinegar Syndrome movies that I want to watch right away, but I'll return to these Frankenstein movies later in the weekend.

Last edited by The Great Owl; 05-13-2017 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 05-13-2017, 10:51 PM   #2002
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I prefer the original by a mile too. I prefer Son as well, honestly. You either like Bride's weird tone and humor or you don't, and I don't.
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:44 PM   #2003
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I too find Frankenstein to be superior over Bride. Frankenstein was the first Universal horror classic I ever saw and to this day remains my all time favorite. Back in 2012 I took my mother (without her my love for classic horror would have never come to be) to the Frankenstein/Bride double feature showing they had in October. I'll never forget we got through the original and probably weren't even a half hour into Bride when my mother turns to me and says 'I like the first one better'.

Now to be fair, I definitely agree Bride is a well made film and worthy sequel. Acting is great, sets are great, direction is great, music's great, humor's great. However, something about the original grabs me more. At times I feel maybe I'm biased because the original I saw first but on at least two occasions I saw both back to back and each time I felt the first was better. Perhaps I like my horror films as horror films and perhaps felt Bride pushed the humor too much. Personally I've always preferred Karloff's look in the first film over any look that character has had in any of the subsequent films regardless of who was playing him (love the black under the eyes that give them that baggy look). Bride has a beautiful score but there's something about the lack of music in the original that hooks me more particularly in the Monster's first entrance.

So its a mixed bag I suppose but I personally find Frankenstein the superior film. Very gothic, great sets, excellent directing from Whale, Karloff at his best. The Monster having speech in Bride didn't ruin the character for me but I always preferred him silent and was kinda glad Karloff had no dialogue when he came back for Son. I suppose there's a lot of mystery with the film as well. The actor playing the Monster is not revealed until the end credits and just the concept of man trying to emulate God borders on the unknown.

For me I just take away more with the first Frankenstein. Bride was a worthy successor but the original is still king to me.
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:54 PM   #2004
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I like Son the best, then Bride, then the original, so there you go.
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:57 PM   #2005
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You're 3-2-1, I'm 1-2-3
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:32 AM   #2006
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I like both
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Old 05-14-2017, 04:43 AM   #2007
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Quote:
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You're 3-2-1, I'm 1-2-3
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:47 AM   #2008
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Well, I have to start off by stating that I love the whole Universal Frankenstein series but there's too many posts denigrating my beloved Bride so I'm compelled to jump in...

Bride of Frankenstein is my absolute favorite. It's a beautiful horror film, black comedy, and even human drama all at once. John mescall's cinematography combines with Charles D. Hall's art direction to wonderfully gothic effect, whilst also evoking German expressionism at its finest. The Franz Waxman score is a triumph, and witty as well. The performances by Karloff, Lanchester, Clive, Thesiger, etc. and right down to Dwight Frye, E.E. Clive and O.P. Heggie couldn't be bettered, and all have some brilliant comic moments.


The real hero here remains James Whale, who builds on his own 1931 Frankenstein and gives the monster his most human, and touching, moments.The scene between the monster and the blind hermit is a highlight of the whole series, as is the majestic creation of the Bride herself. That deliciously dry (and very British) black comic wit combined with humanizing the monster to both comic and tragic effect is unsurpassed for me in this series.

In the end, this is simply the most fully-felt and full-blooded entry in the series, as well as the most fully-felt and full-blooded performance by Karloff himself.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:48 AM   #2009
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Yup, 1-2-3 for me. The first Frankenstein holds up really well (unlike the stagey Dracula which looks so dated & almost laughable these days). Bride is also a classic, but has a bit too much whimsy for me, but it has some great scenes (the creation of the bride), Son is a lot of fun, & the fun continues with the other sequels. Just work your way through the Legacy set & you can't go wrong
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:05 PM   #2010
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Also can we give Ghost of Frankenstein a little love?? Yes I admit it's got nothing on the Whale films and perhaps to a lesser extent Son and sure Lon Jr. ain't no Karloff but I think it's a fun film. I love the music even if a good chunk of it is recycled from other movies (love the organ theme) and we still have Lugosi as Ygor (although he's missing his teeth). The shot of Ygor looking at the shadow of the Monsters hand on the wall is definitely a creepy shot in all of Universal Horror.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:37 PM   #2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crissrudd4554 View Post
Also can we give Ghost of Frankenstein a little love?? Yes I admit it's got nothing on the Whale films and perhaps to a lesser extent Son and sure Lon Jr. ain't no Karloff but I think it's a fun film. I love the music even if a good chunk of it is recycled from other movies (love the organ theme) and we still have Lugosi as Ygor (although he's missing his teeth). The shot of Ygor looking at the shadow of the Monsters hand on the wall is definitely a creepy shot in all of Universal Horror.
It definitely says something about the Frankenstein series that I consider Ghost the weakest entry...and still love it. The great atmosphere, music and stellar casting (right down to the supporting roles) are hallmarks of all the Universal monster films that have kept them so very memorable and entertaining all through the decades.

And I consider Ygor to be Lugosi's wittiest creation, every bit as iconic as his legendary Dracula.

Only 2 more days to go til those Dracula and Mummy sets, guys and gals!
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:57 PM   #2012
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I will say that the final 10 minutes of The Bride of Frankenstein are cinematic perfection.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:19 PM   #2013
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I prefer the original by a mile too. I prefer Son as well, honestly. You either like Bride's weird tone and humor or you don't, and I don't.
I do. It's been generally agreed by most critics over the past eighty years that BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the rare examples of a movie sequel surpassing the qualities of the original, and though one may prefer the '31 film, you really can't make a serious argument that it's artistically better than the '35 sequel.

FRANKENSTEIN is an early sound film and as such suffers from some technical limits and often seems creaky at times especially in its editing. That's not to deny any of the obvious power it once had to unsettle an audience, and that power is still very much on display for those capable of appreciating it in the 21st century. It is an undeniable classic of American film, the basic blueprint of how you construct a monster movie with a simply unforgettable, legendary performance from Boris Karloff.

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, though, is a very different creature and a more evolved film than the original and a much more ambitious artistic effort. As Gregory William Mank wrote in It's Alive! The Classic Cinema Saga of Frankenstein (a book every Frankenstein fan should have), "Bride of Frankenstein reigns, widely if controversially, as the most laureled of the Classic Horror Films. Some are offended by its 'sick' humor and 'camp' style; yet it is certainly James Whale's masterpiece, a three-ring Swiftian circus of sardonic wit, theatrical flourishes of terror, and bitter morality."

For me, who has had these movies in my life since I was a young child, it is never a matter of which do I prefer; I like them both equally and on their own terms. I do very much prefer them to all the other films in the series and see them as on a level superior to the later movies. I also see them as still the best adaptations to film of Mary Shelley's work. Over eighty years after they were made, both FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN are still the best Frankenstein movies ever. They will probably never be topped.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:40 PM   #2014
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The Universal monster movies are a unique genre all unto themselves. You can practically smell the dust and wood on the sets...they are that alive and vibrant. There is an eeriness about them that extends past the films themselves, as if a special sort of otherwordly magic drifted down onto the Universal lot. It's there in every frame of every film. There is truly nothing like them. They are treasures to be enjoyed again and again. And it's very easy to escape into their creative and mystical aura.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:43 PM   #2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJD64 View Post
Well, I have to start off by stating that I love the whole Universal Frankenstein series but there's too many posts denigrating my beloved Bride so I'm compelled to jump in...

Bride of Frankenstein is my absolute favorite. It's a beautiful horror film, black comedy, and even human drama all at once. John mescall's cinematography combines with Charles D. Hall's art direction to wonderfully gothic effect, whilst also evoking German expressionism at its finest. The Franz Waxman score is a triumph, and witty as well. The performances by Karloff, Lanchester, Clive, Thesiger, etc. and right down to Dwight Frye, E.E. Clive and O.P. Heggie couldn't be bettered, and all have some brilliant comic moments.


The real hero here remains James Whale, who builds on his own 1931 Frankenstein and gives the monster his most human, and touching, moments.The scene between the monster and the blind hermit is a highlight of the whole series, as is the majestic creation of the Bride herself. That deliciously dry (and very British) black comic wit combined with humanizing the monster to both comic and tragic effect is unsurpassed for me in this series.

In the end, this is simply the most fully-felt and full-blooded entry in the series, as well as the most fully-felt and full-blooded performance by Karloff himself.
Was just rolling up my sleeves to respond to the above posts when you said it perfectly well!
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:07 PM   #2016
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Quote:
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I do. It's been generally agreed by most critics over the past eighty years that BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the rare examples of a movie sequel surpassing the qualities of the original, and though one may prefer the '31 film, you really can't make a serious argument that it's artistically better than the '35 sequel.
They're very different movies and will appeal more to different tastes. There's nothing objective about it at all.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:22 PM   #2017
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I suppose that it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Frankenstein is the better horror movie of the two, while The Bride of Frankenstein could be viewed as the better all-around movie.

I prefer the first film on all accounts, though.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:37 PM   #2018
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I suppose that it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Frankenstein is the better horror movie of the two, while The Bride of Frankenstein could be viewed as the better all-around movie.
You said that very well. Bride of Frankenstein is certainly the better all-around film, however, in terms of a good horror film, Frankenstein is certainly the better of the two films in that regard.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:24 PM   #2019
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Well it depends on tastes as well. There's little touches with the original film that perhaps IMO makes it the better film. I think the creation of Karloff's Monster is more suspenseful than the creation of Lanchester's Bride. When the Karloff Monster is created it only shows the creation from Frankenstein's point of view while when the Bride is created we get wide shots of the watchtower with the table on top when the lightening strikes. The problem sequels can have is that the suspension of belief can be lowered because the audience have been made into believers with the original.

So it's tough. I can agree we get more character development with Bride particularly in Karloff's case. Henry is also more sympathetic in Bride than the original. In Bride he's forced to resume his work as opposed to being driven by a blasphemous obsession. Pretorious is the real mad scientist this time.

There's something in both for everyone. In the end one will dominate in areas that the other cannot and vice versa. But at the same time who cares?? Both are classics that deservingly share the spotlight.

Last edited by crissrudd4554; 05-15-2017 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:51 PM   #2020
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"It's been generally agreed..." = the universal phrase for "my opinion is more valid than yours
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