Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

In James Whale's superior sequel to his 1931 classic that was a frightening, but campy (with a dark sense of humor), classic horror film from Universal:

  • in the film's prologue (a framing device) set in Lord Byron's (Gavin Gordon) estate on a stormy dark night in the early 1800s, original Frankenstein novel-author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Elsa Lanchester), a 19 year-old bride who was due to marry poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Walton), defended her novel about a Monster; she argued that it was more than a story about a mad scientist and a Monster; she claimed it provided a moral lesson with its philosophical consideration of a man who defied God's natural laws and sovereignty by daring to create life

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley with Lord Byron and Her Fiancee Poet Percy Shelley

Frankenstein Novel-Author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Elsa Lanchester)

At the Start of Mary's Flashback
  • during Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's flashback, she gave a modified recap of the first Frankenstein movie Frankenstein (1931) up to the point of the burning windmill; she explained how Frankenstein's Monster (Boris Karloff) did not perish, but actually miraculously survived the fire that destroyed the blazing old windmill in the first film
  • the Monster made his first appearance chest-deep in water when he emerged from the dark shadows under the burnt-down windmill; as the creature revived, he went on to murder two peasants - Hans (Reginald Barlow), the peasant father of the little girl the Monster accidentally drowned, and his wife (Mary Gordon) who lingered at the site
  • then after stalking off, the Monster came up Minnie (Una O'Connor), Dr. Frankenstein's high-strung, screeching housekeeper/chambermaid who was deathly frightened and scurried off; back at Castle Frankenstein, Minnie was not believed when she rushed in and wailed to a co-worker that the Monster was still alive: "It's alive! The Monster! It's alive!"
  • the seriously-wounded Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) was restored to health and cared for by his fiancee-bride Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson substituted for Mae Clarke from the earlier Frankenstein film); he "raved" with a delirious, "insane desire" to create living men again
  • the delightfully evil, eccentric, emaciated, but weird and mad alchemist-scientist Dr. Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), formally one of Henry's teachers, arrived at Frankenstein's castle, where Henry was recuperating; when Pretorius proposed: "We must work together," Henry protested: "Never! This is outrageous. I'm through with it. I'll have no more of this hell-spawn! As soon as I'm well, I'm to be married and I'm going away"
  • however, the new "mad scientist" was able to convince Henry to travel with him to his laboratory ("You must see my creation!"); upon their arrival Pretorius toasted his experiments as he made a devilish grin and half-laughed while referring to his own god-like powers: "To a new World of Gods and Monsters"
  • he unveiled for Henry the results of his experiments with creating life - several miniature homunculi - six small figures (that he had grown from seeds) in glass jars or bottles ("There is a pleasing variety about my exhibits") - the specimens were:
    • a Queen
    • a King
    • an Archbishop
    • the Devil
    • a Ballerina who only danced to Mendelssohn's "Spring Song"
    • a Little Mermaid
  • Pretorius was able to ultimately compel and convince a resistant Henry to artificially make a female companion/mate-Bride to placate the lonely Monster (although he wasn't actually aware that the Monster was still alive)
  • meanwhile, during the Monster's countryside rampage, he peacefully encountered a beautiful young shepherdess (Ann Darling) and saved her from drowning, but then he was encountered by two hunters who thought she was being attacked; the Monster was wounded by one hunter (Robert Adair), while the second raced to town to notify the Burgomeister
  • the Monster was pursued by the villagers and townspeople through surrealistic woods and settings; he was hung up and briefly painfully imprisoned with chains and shackles in an underground dungeon (with some Christ-like crucifixion poses), where he was jeered at through a window by the townspeople
The Monster Hung Up, then Chained in Underground Dungeon
  • after his escape with his brute superhuman strength, the Monster appeared hungry to a family of gypsies roasting chicken on a campfire spit, and burned his hands in the hot fire reaching for the food
  • wandering around some more, the Monster finally sought refuge at a blind Hermit's (O. P. Heggie) cabin when he heard the hermit playing Ava Maria on his violin; the hermit taught the Monster lessons in how to eat, drink, smoke, and play music ("We are friends, you and I"); there was tremendous pathos in the characterization of the Monster (with facial expressions, gutteral responses, and actual words of dialogue)
  • unfortunately, two hunters (John Carradine and Frank Terry) discovered the Monster with the blind hermit: ("Friend?! This is the fiend that's been murdering half the countryside"); during a struggle, the cabin caught on fire, forcing the Monster to flee after the hunters rescued the hermit and led him away to safety; miserable and on the run again, the Monster entered a surrealistic graveyard where he stepped down into an underground crypt-mausoleum to hide from torch-carrying villagers
  • there, the Monster happened to encounter grave robber and crazed Dr. Pretorius, who promised to make a life-sized "friend" for the Monster, who reacted and exclaimed with a smile: "Woman. Friend! Yes, I want Friend like me!"; the Monster expressed his self-knowledge about his creation by Henry: "I know. Made me from dead. I love dead. Hate living"; as he handled a skull, the Monster repeated Pretorius' promise: "Woman. Friend. Wife"
  • Dr. Pretorius proceeded with the Monster to Dr. Frankenstein's castle, where Henry reverted and refused to cooperate with the mad doctor; to persuade Frankenstein to join in his part of the experiment, Pretorius opened the outer door to the Monster, and by implication took credit for the fact that the Monster could now talk (with rudimentary words) and was under his control
Pretorius Presenting Talking Monster to Dr. Frankenstein to Persuade Him to Cooperate with the Creation of a 'Bride' For the Monster
  • to extort Henry into complying and to force his cooperation, Pretorious ordered the Monster to kidnap Frankenstein's bride on her wedding day; the Monster deposited Elizabeth in a dark, mountain cave, forcing Henry to admit defeat to Pretorius after being blackmailed into commencing their ungodly creation of a Bride for the Monster
  • in the classic laboratory scene (once again) amidst weird electrical devices and the sound of thunder of an intense storm, and the additional presence of Pretorius' assistant Karl (Dwight Frye), Pretorius removed the sheet covering the bandaged, mummified corpse; Karl was told to proceed to the roof and send up the metal kites - to receive the spark of life in the form of a lightning bolt; he was confronted by the impatient Monster who stalked up to the roof and murdered Karl by hurling him from the top of the stone tower, just as the Bride was brought to life ("born") and reanimated during an intense storm with cracks of lightning bolts; after the operating table was lowered back down into the laboratory and the defuser bands were removed from the corpse, one hand stirred - the corpse was imbued with life
  • after Pretorius unwound the bandages from her eyes, there was a revealing moment when her eyes opened - seen in a slit in her bandaging; two uncomprehending globes stared back, and Dr. Frankenstein exclaimed: "She's alive! Alive!"
  • when the Bride's table was raised or tilted upright, she raised her two arms; all of the Bride's bandages were removed, and she was shown in all her splendor in a flowing white shroud (laboratory smock), with a wild, frizzled, electrified fright hairdo and jerky twitching movements; Dr. Pretorius announced: "The Bride of Frankenstein" [Note: It was a confusing introduction - she was really the Bride of the Monster]; her angular movements were bird-like - her sharp-boned and angular head jerked and darted from one position to another
  • in a great movie moment, the Monster rushed down to the laboratory to meet his Bride or The Monster's Mate (Elsa Lanchester, although credited as ?); he approached and shyly but hopefully asked "Friend?"; as he came closer and touched her arm, she let go with a piercing, screeching, ear-shattering shriek of rejection and revulsion -- one of the most famous screams in screen history -- after a second attempt to stroke her hand and sit next to her, the Monster was again rejected and he realized despairingly: ("She hate me, like others")

"The Bride of Frankenstein!"

  • in a climactic scene, the Monster went beserk, realizing the utter hopelessness of his life and determined to destroy everything around him in a rage; he threatened to pull a lever that would destroy the tower and everything in it; the Monster decided to spare Henry Frankenstein (and Elizabeth) by permitting them to rush to safety outside, but planned on killing himself, the Bride, and Dr. Pretorius by pulling a level to set off the explosive: ("Yes, go! You live! Go! (To Pretorius) You stay! We belong dead!"); a tear rolled down the Monster's repulsive face as he summoned a fatally-aborted 'honeymoon' night
  • in the finale, explosions rocked the stone-tower and rubble and buried everyone inside alive, while on a hillside closeby, Elizabeth and Henry happily embraced as he offered comforting words to her: "Darling. Darling"
Explosions Destroyed Laboratory and Stone-Tower: Elizabeth and Henry Watched and Embraced

The Scary Monster (Boris Karloff) After Climbing out of Windmill Wreckage and Scaring Minnie (Una O'Connor) - Dr. Frankenstein's Housekeeper

Dr. Frankenstein Recuperating with Fiancee-Bride Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson, Replacing Mae Clarke)

New Mad Scientist Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger)

Dr. Pretorius in His Laboratory With Bell-Jars

Pretorius' Six Homunculi Specimens

Hungry Monster Appearing to Gypsies Around Campfire

The Blind Hermit

The Monster Smoking with the Blind Hermit

The Two Hunters at the Hermit's Door: ("Look!" - "It's the Monster!")

Pretorius in Crypt-Mausoleum Drinking to Himself When the Monster Approached

Monster to Pretorius: "Yes, I want Friend Like Me"

The Mad Laboratory Experiment to Create a Bride

Movement of Bride's Hand

Bandages with Two Eye Slits

The Bride's Raised on the Uptilted Table - She Raised Her Two Arms

Dr. Pretorius ("You'll blow us all to atoms")

The Monster Threatening to Pull a Self-Destruct Lever


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