Still Watching the Skies: Episode 70 “Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein”
Robert, Nat, and Cody revisit James Whale’s iconic films for Universal Pictures, FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Here’s to a new world of gods and monsters!
Following the success of DRACULA, Universal Pictures quickly turned to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel FRANKENSTEIN as a natural followup. Although some holdovers from DRACULA made the transition, it soon became it’s own beast when director James Whale was brought on board. With the addition of Boris Karloff and some iconic makeup courtesy of Jack Pierce, the rest is history.
FRANKENSTEIN is a deeply iconic film. With one foot in the silents and one foot in the sound era, it’s representative of two eras. It’s deeply cinematic, with a strong preference for closeups of faces.
It’s also one of the most horrific films of its era. There are few films that will break the taboo of killing a kid today, but FRANKENSTEIN is willing to go there. And it’s easy to forget due to its iconic nature, but Karloff was a vision of the walking dead. With his pale skin, sunken cheek, and heavily lidded eyes, it’s an unforgettable image and an unforgiving creation.
Universal would continue a string of horror movies of similar type until the 1950s. And the return of Frankenstein’s monster would be a recurring theme of that series of picture. First up being the iconic, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
Not content to repeat what he had done before, James Whale, Boris Karloff, and Colin Clive returned to a more baroque, funnier, and unabashedly queerer take with BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1935.
Probably most emblematic of this new version is the addition of Ernest Thesiger and Dr. Pretorius. Pretorius is Doctor Frankenstein unhinged from any connection to humanity, and a diabolic figure tempting Henry Frankenstein into a new creation. The iconic Bride with Elsa Lanchester being particularly memorable in a dual role. And proving that you shouldn’t take a woman for granted.
As you can imagine, we have a lot to say about both of these films.
You’re not going to need to dig up this episode in a graveyard. You can give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below or Email Us at [email protected] as we appreciate feedback.
FRANKENSTEIN Discussion: 0:00 to 46:27
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN Discussion: 46:27 to 1:33:17
Next Film and Outro: 1:33:17 to End
Next month, we spend some time with Bruce Dern in space courtesy of Douglas Trumbull’s SILENT RUNNING We hope you’ll join us.
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