Thursday, June 2, 2011
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
I’ve seen a number of the classic Hollywood movies of the 1930’s.But going over some of the titles in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, I noticed more than a few omissions from my movie viewing resume. For two weeks I’m going to try to fill in some of those gaps as well as re-watch some old favorites. I’ll list my expectations for each film going in and state whether these expectations are reached or not. And I’ll give each film my Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award strictly for the reason that I think it would be fun to do so.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Expectations: See expectations for yesterday’s Frankenstein listing and throw in a hissing bride, a blind hermit and a little Shelley and Byron to give the proceedings some class.
After viewing: I have to call into question the basic structure of my memory palace when it comes to The Bride of Frankenstein. I’ve certainly seen it, But only vaguely remember Dr. Frankenstein’s mentor/associate/rival/villain Dr. Pretorious. I don’t remember Pretorious’s experiment of growing little people in specimen jars, either. Many film historians prefer this one to the original. I’m a little torn. Boris Karloff pulls off his fractured speech scenes well, but I still like the rawness of the original. So it goes.
And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to…O. P. Heggie as the blind hermit. O.P. Heggie? Why would I choose O. P. Heggie over such supporting stalwarts as Ernest Thayer as the sinister Dr. Pretorios! Or Elsa Lanchester, who plays Mary Shelley and the Bride? Or the always funny comic relief actress Una O’Connor? Or again to the ubiquitous Dwight Frye? Or even to cameos by future character actor Hall of Famers John Carradine and Walter Brennan?
Heggie (as the blind hermit who befriends the moster) has only one scene. As audio commentator Scott MacQueen points out, this scene could easily lapse from being touching and giving important insight into the monster’s character into a Mel Brooks parody forty-five years too soon. But the scene works, and credit is often given to Karloff, but give the kindly Heggie a nod, too.