Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935), directed by James Whale.

"We belong dead." -- the Creature's last words.

The sequel looks bigger budget (the Doctor now lives in a grand castle), is supposed to be funnier (we have an excess of comic relief from Una O'Connor and an absurd bit with darling homunculi in jars), and is more episodic, with many sequences of running, hiding, fighting, being caught and escaping.

The interesting thread is the Creature's need for love and his discovery of friendship (a nice bit with the blind man in the cabin), his learning language and the truth about his origin.

The wickedly looney Praetorius is a good addition: a mad scientist for whom we feel no sympathy. Hope the monster gets him.

The animation of the Bride and subsequent disaster is all in the last 10 minutes; a good dramatic choice.

The Bride is credited only as "?", but I don't suppose anyone was fooled. Elsa Lanchester appears as Mary Shelley in a framing intro where she tells Percy and Byron the rest of the story. I expect their household was more bohemian than the rich setting shown here.

Franz Waxman score.

The Bride subplot does appear in the original book, where the Creature persuades Frankenstein to build him a mate. In a spasm of remorse the Doctor destroys the body just before animating it. The Creature tells him "I'll be with you on your wedding night" and keeps his promise, murdering the new Mrs Frankenstein in her bridal chamber.

Looking at the thumbnails: it's hard to look away from the Creature. Maybe it's because the images are so iconic, maybe it's Karloff or the photography, but I think it's because the character has had so much stripped away and what is left suggests some essential mysteries of life: pain and longing.

The DVD has a detailed commentary track, some of it rather far afield.