Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

I don’t know, I’m still not convinced by the claims that this is better than the original Frankenstein, let alone the greatest horror film ever made. I used to think that if you ran the two films together you’d get a pretty fair approximation of the whole plot of the novel (albeit with some great differences even so), but with a few more years’ experience I can tell how daft I was back then. They’re two markedly different films, and perhaps that’s part of the problem I have with Bride; the first film is such an essentially serious, sombre affair that I find it kind of difficult to reconcile the more ironic/comic aspects of the sequel with it… and, for that matter, I still find the intensity of Karloff’s rampage in the middle of the film (which was toned down considerably from the pre-release cut) a bit ill-fitting with the likes of Una O’Connor’s snarky old housemaid and Ernest Thesiger’s people in bottles. It struck me watching it again this evening that I’d likely have far fewer problems with it were it a film in its own right rather than a sequel to something else. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good example of 1930s genre filmmaking and Karloff is terrific again (though I do think he was wrong to oppose the creature learning to speak). I just don’t entirely buy the hype.

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