With the release of the new The Mummy trailer, Russell Crowe’s Doctor Jekyll utters one of the greatest lines in the annals of monster movie history.
In 1935, James Whale directed what is – to your Keeper, a bit of a rarity, that is, a sequel which was greater than or equal to the original movie. Whale’s original Frankenstein from 1931 was based on a stage play and often feels as though it is still that – a stage play put to film. His Bride of Frankenstein, however, is full of depth and wonder and a creation scene leaving one desirous of more. It’s full of humor and wittiness and a great storyline. It was a box office success. It was critically acclaimed. It is a true classic and not only of the horror genre.
And it contains two memorable performances.
Tragic Colin Clive was a Whale favorite from the time of Journey’s End. He had played Doctor Henry Frankenstein in the first movie and now would replay the character in the sequel. (Clive was dead two years after the release of Bride of Frankenstein, dying at the age of 37).
The other actor is Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Septimus Pretorius, a character so over-the-top, you’re not even sure where to begin. Claude Rains was the studio’s choice for the role. Whale wanted Thesiger, who was a friend and had worked for him in Journey’s End as well as The Old Dark House (with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, and Titanic‘s Gloria Stuart).
In a scene early on in The Bride, Pretorius – an old professor from Frankenstein’s university days – shows up at Frankenstein’s front door. Which is kind of a bummer because Frankenstein is still on the mend after being tossed from a windmill by his own Creation (see Frankenstein released 1931). The good doctor would also like to spend some time with his lovely fiance, Elizabeth. But no, here comes Pretorius, banging on the castle door on one of those “dark and stormy nights.” He makes Frankenstein an offer the young mad scientist can’t refuse, so off they go into the night in order for Pretorius to show his old student what he’s been up to. But first, a toast!
The line was also used as the title of a film about the final days of director James Whale called Gods and Monsters. It featured Ian McKellan (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies) and the star of 1999’s The Mummy, Brenden Fraser.