Home > Uncategorized > Sunday Screening #19: Bride of Frankenstein

Sunday Screening #19: Bride of Frankenstein

Yet again, I have failed to bring you a VIdeo-troduciton for a Sunday Screening, my apologies…

My Birthday is April 6th, so I reserved this Sunday to choose something special. Originally I was planning on picking one of the movies from my “Top Five” favourite films of all time (The 400 Blows, High Fidelity, Big Lebowski, The Hills Have Eyes, and Clerks (in no particular order)). I had a feeling that most of you have probably seen most of those films though, and wasn’t sure which one I would pick…and then it appeared out of the blue… Sunday Screening #19 is Bride of Frankenstein, and if you’re lucky enough to be near Austin Texas, you should join me at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse to screen it on the big screen

And possibly the best part? Tom Schatz will introduce the movie and then take part in a panel after it. If you attended film school, chances are you’re familiar with Tom Schatz, he LITERALLY wrote the book on film genres. If you haven’t read that book, check the sources in your film books and he’s probably listed. I had the opportunity to take two classes taught by Schatz when I attended UT and I highly recommend that if possible you should take any opportunity to hear him talk, the man knows his film.

Hope to see you there, and if you’re not in Austin, I can’t wait to hear what you think of the film.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. LMM
    March 24, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    Sweet! Schatz is an interesting character, that’s for sure. I will try to be there on Sunday. I’ll look for you in the crowd. You’ll be wearing balloons right?

  2. LMM
    March 29, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    I not only got to watch Bride of Frankenstein, but also the original as well since I have missed both throughout the years. Although, watching them back to back might have been a hinderance since the changes to characters and sets were very visible (bigger budget?).

    That aside, I really enjoyed this movie. I still think that it holds up to being a creepy ‘horror’ film today. I would place it in the category of thinking horror instead of actual monster horror since so many of those films now-a-days are gory. You also know it’s a great movie because I’ve seen the paradies and references yet weren’t bothered by them. I immediately went back into the film after the acknowledgment (Young Frankenstein and Weird Science).

    Here are some random notes I made.
    -The maid in the very beginning looked like she was floating…creepy!
    -I thought it was interesting that they explained the sequal as another Shelley story. It impressed me that they took the time to explain that even though there never was a written sequal, maybe there was a verbal one. However, I didn’t really like the portrayal of Mary. She seemed too girlie and helpless (?). The real myth behind the story is so fascinating I didn’t like anything messing with that.
    -Mary, the crazy maid, was a bit much. At the beginning I almost hated her. I’m assuming this is the Leachman character from Young Frankenstein. Leachman’s was so much better.
    -Boris Karloff was amazing! You really got the innocent nature of a being just being “born” with the elements of knowledge of a previous life. With that said, I don’t think enough credit is given to Colin Clive. He was just as good, especially in Frankenstein. The change from mad scientists to repenting husband was believable. I did not like the new Elizabeth though.
    -I enjoyed the switch between mad student and sane professor of the first to the mad professor, Dr. Pretorius, and the sane student. And the experiments that Pretorius does, the mini people, that he grew, were CREEPY! Which makes you really think which is actually creepier, making a person from random dead parts or growing mini people in glass jars. And the SF for this movie, 1935, were pretty damn impressive. Better than some stuff out now, or in the recent years.
    -I liked how Frankenstein didn’t have music. I think that made it a bit creepier than the music in Bride.
    -The lighting reminds me of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
    -Being a huge fan of the original book (second favorite book of all time), I enjoyed how they split up the classic scenes between the two movies (ex: the death of the girl and blind man). I thought it was well played since both movies are based on the story and not an adaptation.
    -The ending was interesting, and I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean, I understand the change in the Monster, but it seemed a bit abrupt. Not that you could draw it out any longer, or if that ever would of been better. Maybe I was just expecting to see the Bride longer.

    • March 29, 2010 at 3:08 PM

      Tom Schatz disagrees about the score, he stated that he thought the Bride soundtrack was one of the best horror soundtracks (and maybe one of the best movie soundtrack) of all time. He also said that there was another ending filmed, but they discarded it, in which Dr Frankenstein also perished in the explosion at the end.

      • LMM
        March 29, 2010 at 3:48 PM

        I read the bit about the double ending in the IMDb trivia section. Interesting. I actually like the ‘sad’ one. I think Frankenstein should of died, more poetic.

        I also liked the score, and will have to listen to it again to see if I also agree with greatest of all time, but I liked the suspense without a soundtrack. Like in No Country For Old Men.

  3. March 29, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Last night Erin and I met up with Ryan at the Alamo Drafthouse to take part in their new Cinema Club screening of Bride of Frankenstein. As I mentioned, the film was introduced by one of my favourite film professors from UT Tom Schatz. There was also a discussion after the film by him, Alamo programmer Lars Nilsen(who programs Weird Wednesday at the Drafthouse) and Daniel (not sure his role).

    Watching this movie in the packed theater was awesome, and the theater was packed. This was the second outing for the Drafthouse’s new series Cinema Club, which is very much in the same vein as Sunday Screenings. They are going to be screening important movies with a special guest in attendance to discuss the movie afterwards. The first was Ninotchka with UT Film History professor Charles Ramirez-Berg. I have a feeling that we might try to make use of this series when choosing future Sunday Screening films.

    First off, I thought the movie was enjoyable, and holds up very well considering its age. The movie is very sophisticated for its age, and is probably one of the earliest examples of genre blending. The movie is very much a horror film and a comedy. The beginning of the film does a great job of introducing the audience not only to the the first film, but also in announcing that the movie is going to be funny. Think of the way that this film reintroduces Frankenstein to the audience, and remember that during this time period film were not re-released and there was no TV. Films were released to the theater once, and then were either archived or destroyed. This film touches a lot of bases. Firstly with it’s genre-bending. There is also a lot being said about religion (i.e. the “crucifixion” scene). There is also (allegedly, I didn’t quite see it, but Schatz said it was in there) a lot of gay sub-text.

    One member of the audience asked what it meant that Dr. Frankenstein’s wife’s hair changed from blonde in the original film, to brunette in the sequel…apparently it was s different actress. The guy just was tuned into that though and asked for clarification of what it meant a couple of times.

    If you’re reading this and in the Austin area, I highly recommend making it a point to get to the future Cinema Club screenings.

    • LMM
      March 29, 2010 at 3:54 PM

      I will try to make future Cinema Club for sure.
      Hopefully Ramirez-Berg does another one. He was my favorite film professor.

      I definitely got religion in both films, especially with the line, “I know what it feels like to BE God.” It’s hard not to compare the two since Frankenstein deals with creation of life, one that we aren’t really suppose to do (minus procreating).

      As for the gay subtext, I didn’t that so much as what is now referred to as Bro-mance. When I first read that line, I thought of Lord Byron…but he was gay so that doesn’t count.

  4. March 31, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    That Cinema Club screening sounds awesome. Probably the best way to see movies like these, to have someone knowledgeable about film to discuss it afterward. And of course, you get the communal experience of moviegoing, as it was intended.

    So, this was definitely a fun movie. Watching it made me wish it was Halloween, when I usually gorge on horror films of all types. However, I do like the first Boris Karloff Frankenstein movie more. There are some good, classic parts in this one, like the blind man part, but overall it felt more like a lark or afterthought. Maybe the more campy, comedic tone contributed to this.

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the concept behind the introductory scene. It was amusing, but to have Mary Shelley say “Oh, but there actually was more to the story!” felt a little forced. Also, if the beginning of the film is framed this way, shouldn’t the end also have had a little recap with Mary Shelley and the two other dudes with her?

    I did want to see more of the Bride. I really like how the actress approached the character, like a scared bird that just woke up. The ending felt a little rushed, but at least the Monster’s decision to blow up the tower made sense considering his mounting frustrations throughout the movie.

    Also, I first heard the name “Dr. Pretorius” in From Beyond, the very schlocky 80s horror film. Now I realize that it’s an homage to this film. I think I remembered that since it’s such a great name.

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