02 June 2008

Bride of Frankenstein

In the course of a terrific essay about Bride of Frankenstein, Neil Gaiman describes the strangest, most beautiful scene in this strange, beautiful film.
Ernest Thesiger's Dr Pretorius, a far madder scientist than our Henry, strides into Henry Frankenstein's life, like a man bringing a bottle of absinthe to a reformed addict. Dr Pretorius, waspish, camp,unforgettable, trolls in from a world much more dangerous than Henry's. He's sharp and funny, steals scenes, and has a marvellous sequence with bottled homunculi – lovers, a king, a priest. This has something to do with his own alchemical researches into creating life, and, I find myself thinking whenever I watch it, nothing at all to do with the film at hand. It sits in the mind like a dream, inexplicable, a moment of movie magic. I find myself fancying director James Whale as Pretorius here, the homunculi his actors, ready to lust or lecture or die as he desires.
Of course, you can see it on YouTube.

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