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bride of frankenstein

March 15, 2007

I’m a pretty big movie guy. I like to watch movies, write scripts, and even have been known to act for home movies. I like movies with a good story above all, but sometimes a good action flick is what the doctor ordered. This morning I was going to watch Thank You For Smoking, but my PS2 is having issues with DVDs so I was stuck with very early morning TV. Let me tell you, if you didn’t know, the pickings are slim at 6AM. But then I came upon Bride of Frankenstin.

I like old movies, but there are some I have never seen. Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and yes Bride of Frankenstein is even among those. So I watched it. It was pretty good, but very goofy.

The big thing is watching this movie and wondering how anyone, even in 1935 when the film was originally released, could be scared by this film. It was actually quite funny simply because of itself. Though I have know been able to watch classic movie scenes constantly parodied and recreated throughout filmdom. The female monster’s scream upon seeing the male monster. The blind man with the violin.

Boris Karloff plays the monster again, and honestly will always be the monster. He created the look we all know. Flat head, bolts in the neck, scars… he did that himself. The acting seems pretty terrible, to be honest, but Karloff does a great job with the lines being only grunts and whines of conveying emotions, despite lack of facial expressions as well. For the rest of the cast overacting seemed to be the rule of the day. I’m not sure if some of it was for comedic effect or if it really seemed to be dramatic back then.

Also interesting is looking and seeing the image of beauty that is conveyed. While they are attractive women (even the bride, with her jerky head movements that were kind of creepy and insane afro) I can’t say they are beautiful to me. Aesthetics change, but I suppose the basis for those ideals on attractiveness are timeless. Symmetrical face, thin body(though the idea of thin then is hardly what it is now. It was much more sultry and curvy like it should be), perky breasts (which is amazing considering the lack of breast implants. You see that on an actress these days and your first thought is that they’re fake), and pouty lips (though thankfully not Angelina Jolie pouty. Her lips scare me).

The visual effects were most interesting though. They had to build those small models by hand. No CG here people! But what does boggle my mind is how they composited people in. Example: Dr Pretorius is attempting to create life, and does so. He reveales some jars covered in satin bags, and when the bag is removed there are tiny people inside. They obviously filmed it and overlayed it with the other footage, but the exact tecnique is a mystery to me. It’s kind of sad that such things will eventually die with people that do know, because we don’t need those techniques anymore. Anyone with a computer and a little skill can make a Hollywood quality home movie.

Overall I did enjoy the film, and it makes me want to see more of these classics. You can’t get to where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been, after all.

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