Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Bride Of Frankenstein

James Whales’ The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is, among other things, a tale of redemption. We see in the monster that love and kindness can come from the most unlikeliest of places.

The story takes place just where Frankenstein left off. A building is burning to the ground with The Monster inside. He is proclaimed to be dead but when the father of one of The Monster's victims must know for sure, he ignorantly climbs into the burning building only to find The Monster taking refuge in what seems like a water filled cellar. The Monster of course escapes and begins terrorizing the town again. Dr. Frankenstein is talked into helping an old mentor of his, Dr. Pretorious; create a bride for The Monster.

Pretorious is a man who feels the world would be better off if we were all devils. "Sometimes I wonder if we'd all be better off being devils, and no nonsense about angels."

The theological aspects of this film, particularly this plot, cannot be excluded as they are heavily prevalent. It is much like The Garden of Eden and The Tree Of Knowledge. Pretorious representing the serpent and Dr. Frankenstein is representing Adam and Eve. They want to become like God. They want to know what it feels like to have generations come of something you have created with your own bare hands. They want to create a world where “Gods and Monsters” rule, in which they would be the gods and the monsters their creations.

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) has been most notably talked about as a manifestation of Whale's homosexuality. Through this film, it is said, he made gays acceptable to an unaccepting public without them even realizing it. Though I can see where they are coming from, and definitely see this correlation. I find that focusing on Whales personal sexual preference, overshadows the overall message of the film, which I don’t feel as being a gay parable as much as a story of accepting those who are different.

In the film we reach the point where the monster escapes and he has run into the forest to get away from his would-be capturers. He comes across a small cottage in the middle of the woods after hearing a violin playing, which has a sort of soothing effect on The Monster. We come to find out a blind hermit is living here and playing this music to pass the time. The Monster bursts open the door and lets out a yell, but the blind man doesn’t scream, or run in fear. He shows love and kindness by calling the Monster friend and asking him what it is he can do for him. A question The Monster has never heard. Through this meeting comes a few of the most heartfelt, human scenes in the film. The Blind man feeds The Monster and lets him rest. He prays and thanks God for sending him a friend to help the days pass by. We see this is a lonely man, but he holds no resentment towards God or any man for his injustices. He accepts what he is, and where he is and simply enjoys when something good comes his way. The next morning when we see him teach The Monster to speak we realize that he is willing to go to any great lengths for this friend. Through this scene we also see that The Monster isn’t really a monster at all but very human. He isn’t out to quench a blood lust after all, but simply misunderstood. He loves wine, bread and having a friend, just as any human being would. In this scene we find the heart of the film. When later on a few men come asking for directions and see The Monster, the blind man stands in front and refuses to allow them to hurt his friend.

Being blind to others faults and accepting them for what they are is what this film represents. An ending filled with redemption and extreme humanity shown by the monster follows, only to prove that The Monster, the creation, was less a monster than Pretorious.

1 comment:

m. ayers said...

I am surprised I am the first to comment on this, being that you were the first to finish your review. The idea of "Adam and Eve" was a rather unique observation. The other point of Whale's homosexuality, though apparent in the film, not shining more brightly than the idea of acceptance of everything regardless of orientation was another excellent point. Well done.