To a new world of gods and monsters.
So intones Dr. Praetorious to Dr. Henry Frankenstein, toasting their new friendship with a glass of gin (“my only weakness”) before proposing a partnership. He unveils a series of miniature living humans, each in its own bell jar: Homunculi, he says, which point the way to full-scale experiments in the creation of life. “Alone,” he tells Frankenstein, “you have created a man. Now, together, we will create his mate.”
Their quest forms the inspiration for James Whale‘s “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935), the best of the Frankenstein movies–a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale’s masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today’s audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don’t have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it’s satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction.-Roger Ebert