The Bride is a UK romantic-horror film loosely based on James Whale's 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein for Universal Pictures. The story includes characters first developed by Victorian author Mary Shelley. The film features rock-and-roll musician Sting in the role of Doctor Charles Frankenstein with Flashdance super-star Jennifer Beals as the Bride. The film is notable in that it chronicles two separate, yet parallel stories. The primary story involves the "Bride", who is given the name Eva in this film and her relationship to her maker, Baron Frankenstein. Eva's story echoes the plot from the 1913 George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion (which is referenced in this film) in that the Baron is instructing her on how to act like a lady in polite society. Simultaneously, the original Frankenstein Monster, who adopts the alias of Viktor wanders the countryside and befriends a dwarf named Rinaldo. The two become close friends and journey on to Budapest where they join a traveling circus. Tragedy and heartache affect both of the main characters, ultimately bringing them back together for the film's climax.
|Sting||Baron Charles Frankenstein|
|Geraldine Page||Mrs. Baumann|
|Cary Elwes||Josef Schoden|
|Quentin Crisp||Doctor Zalhus|
Creating the Bride Edit
Charles Frankenstein is in the tower laboratory of his castle with his colleague Doctor Zalhus and his assistant Paulus. In another section of the castle, the original Frankenstein Monster patiently waits for Charles to complete his experiments. Frankenstein is preparing to bring life to another creation sewn together from body parts of the dead. The final product is wrapped in white linen and secured to a laboratory table. A tremendous lightning storm rages overhead, and Frankenstein elevates the body into air above him. Paulus operates a crank, which lowers a giant needle down over top of the prone body. This needle channels the power of the lightning into the corpse below and it begins to glow. The storm proves too violent however and a second lightning strike infuses the creation with even more power. The roof of the tower catches fire and Paulus is engulfed in flames. Frankenstein and Zalhus quickly seal the room off and bring the body back down to the ground. Charles fears that the subject is dead, but moments later it begins to moan. He cuts away the bandages from her face, revealing a beautiful, young woman. The Frankenstein monster ascends the steps leading to the laboratory, demanding Charles to surrender his "mate" to him. Frankenstein rebuffs the creature's advances and drives him away from the castle, never to return. During their struggle, laboratory equipment is knocked about and the spilled chemicals creates an explosion, which rips through the tower laboratory. As the violence subside, Baron Frankenstein decides that he will personally become the guardian of his newest endeavor and takes her under his wing.
Eva's Tale Edit
Charles names his creation Eva and projects the idea that she is an amnesiac who was found in the streets of a nearby village and brought to Castle Frankenstein. Not even those closest to him like his housekeeper Mrs. Baumann, or his friend, the misogynistic Clerval know the truth about Eva's origins. Frankenstein wants to usher in a new breed of woman; one who will be as independent, intelligent and as bold as any man. Clerval thinks that such a concept is disastrous, preferring only to think of women as sexual conquests. Charles accuses Clerval of lacking imagination.
Charles begins educating Eva, teaching her how to read, write and speak. Eva adapts extremely quickly to her lessons, and within a short amount of time, is able to match Frankenstein in terms of grace and intellectual prowess. At a time when he thinks she is ready, Frankenstein introduces his ward to polite society at a ball hosted by a countess that he is close acquaintances with. Eva comports herself quite admirably, but embarrasses Charles when she has an adverse, savage reaction upon seeing a house cat (she had never seen one before). Also at this affair, Eva meets a young officer named Josef Schoden. Schoden is immediately smitten with Eva's obvious beauty, and Eva develops an interest in Schoden as well.
Later, Frankenstein and Eva go horseback riding and Eva begins to question the nature of her origins. Frankenstein dismisses her inquiries and they arrive at an old monastery. Eva inspects a crypt and tries to comprehend the nature of life and death.
Eva enjoys horseback riding and often goes out on her own, much to the Baron's dismay. On one journey, she travels by herself back to the monastery. There she meets Frankenstein's original creation, who now calls himself Viktor. Eva has no memory of their first encounter, but Viktor remembers her. He gives her a medallion that once belonged to his late Rinaldo and Eva reciprocates the gesture by giving him some money to help him get by. Viktor is too nervous to say anything else to her and goes on his way.
Sometime later, Baron Frankenstein hosts a costume ball at his estate. He presents Eva with a rotating snow globe as a gift, at which point a shower of golden glitter falls across the entire room. The guests applaud and the Baron drinks in their approval. Eva excuses herself after noticing that one of the guests is Captain Schoden. The two meet in a private room and become intimate with one another. Baron Frankenstein catches them in each other's arms, but says nothing at the moment.
After the party, he confronts Eva and Schoden. Charles lashes Schoden across the face with a riding crop, leaving a bright, red wound across his jaw. He accuses Schoden of taking advantage of Eva, and the Captain confesses that he has no interest in the girl. Charles drags Eva out of the room and the two get into a massive argument. Eva is outraged at the actions of both men and sees their possessive attitudes to be counterintuitive to everything that Charles has taught her. She yells at Frankenstein, screaming "You didn't create me!", to which Frankenstein snidely replies, "As a matter of fact... I did". He brings her through the secret entrance into the ruins of his laboratory and shows her his journals. After reading them at length, Eva now knows the truth about herself. She casts Frankenstein's records into the fireplace.
The two begin arguing once again and Frankenstein admits that he created her as a mate for his first experiment (which he refers to as an abortion), but has since seen the error of his ways. Eva fires back with "You can do what you like! You can take apart the body you put together, you can take away the life you gave me, but you cannot have me. Not ever. Not even if you murder me and raise me up a thousand thousand times, you cannot have me!" Charles declares that there will be a wedding this evening and backhands her across the face. Forcing her onto the bed, Frankenstein begins to assert his dominance over Eva.
Skip to Finale for the conclusion
Viktor's Tale Edit
Having escapes the carnage at Castle Frankenstein, the monster wanders through the forests, sleeping in the woods, and surviving as best he can. One morning, he comes upon a group of children antagonizing a dwarf. His mere presence is enough to send the bullies scattering and the dwarf, Rinaldo, is grateful for the monster's timely intervention. Rinaldo asks the monster for his name, but the creature tells him that he has none. Rinaldo decides to befriend the monster and takes him along as his traveling companion. Convincing the monster to hoist him upon his shoulders, Rinaldo tells him that he is on his way to Budapest to join a circus. He notes that a circus would be an ideal place for someone as big as the monster and that he could probably find work pounding in tent pegs.
During their journey, the two grow closer and closer. They tell each other their hopes and dreams. Rinaldo wishes to visit Venice, Italy, while the monster longs for the affection of his lost "bride" Eva.
At night, they find shelter inside of a cave and dine on chickens that the monster catches. By day, they earn money for themselves by robbing the coffers of nearby churches. Rinaldo brings the monster to a tavern where they intend to spend a great deal of their ill-gotten gains. The smarmy dwarf climbs atop the bar, demanding a pint of ale for himself and a pail of it for his friend. The bartender and surrounding patrons do not care for Rinaldo's attitude, but they are loathe to take action against him so long as his giant friend is around. After gulping down two pails of ale, the monster passes out and collapses to the floor. The other patrons take advantage of this opportunity. They grab Rinaldo and the unconscious monster and cast them over the top of a bridge into a nearby river.
Following this episode, Rinaldo and the monster finally get to Budapest and Rinaldo decides to give the monster a proper name – Viktor. They approach the circus and speak with the owner, a surly man named Magar. Magar has no interest in "midgets", though he does recognize the potential of Viktor. Rinaldo insists that if he hires one, then he must hire the other, or else no deal. Magar relents, but tells them that he will only pay a single wage for both of them. Rinaldo is satisfied – for now.
While Viktor works at hammering in tent pegs, Rinaldo shows Magar and his associate Bela his trapeze act. His act involves pretending to fall off the trapeze seemingly to his doom, but then swings through the air by way of a harness cable that the audience will not be able to see. Despite Magar's reservations, the act proves to be a great success and they even include Viktor in Rinaldo's act.
As months pass, Magar grows increasingly frustrated with Rinaldo's attitude. He expresses his discontent to the knife-throwing Bela, citing that he wishes there was a way to get rid of him. Bela takes the initiative and sabotages Rinaldo's harness. During the act, Rinaldo pretends to fall from the trapeze, but the harness cable snaps and he plunges to the ground. The distraught Viktor scoops Rinaldo up and brings him outside. Before dying, Rinaldo reminds Viktor to "follow his heart".
With the only friend he has ever known now dead, Viktor feels completely lost. He overhears Magar and Bela speaking to one another about the murder and realizes that they were responsible for killing Rinaldo. Viktor uses his great strength to topple Magar's wagon. Bela scrambles and tries to attack Viktor, but the monster hurls him into a lion cage where he is impaled on a sharpened spike sticking out from the side of the cage. As the other performers scramble to see what has happened, Viktor leaves the circus.
Heeding Rinaldo's last words, Viktor returns to the land of his creation. He walks out near an old monastery and has a chance encounter with Eva. Viktor is enraptured by her presence, but Eva does not appear to remember him. However, he is impressed with her friendliness and gives her Rinaldo's medallion of Venice. In return, Eva offers to help him, but Viktor turns her down. She gives him some money to help him on his way.
Recalling that women are often fascinated by jewelry, Viktor goes to a gypsy peddler and purchases a necklace of cheap glass baubles. He soon realizes that such a gift is too mundane for a woman such as Eva and he pitches it into the river.
That evening, Magar and his circus performers come to town and inform the local Burgomeister about Viktor and the murder of Bela. They form a lynch mob and hunt Viktor down. Overwhelming him by sheer strength of numbers, they cast him into a dungeon and chain him to a wall.
As Viktor sits in prison, he feels an empathic wave of pain which he knows originates with Eva. He harnesses his strength, breaks free of the chains and escapes the dungeon in order to rescue her.
Viktor, perceiving that Eva is in danger, bursts into Frankenstein's bedroom to find him attempting to physically dominate Eva. The two begin fighting one another, but Frankenstein recalls the creature's fear of fire. Taking a lit torch, he begins stabbing it at Viktor, driving him out of the room and up the steps of the tower. Viktor smashes through a sealed wall into the burnt ruins of the old laboratory. Their final confrontation takes place on the tower's parapets and Charles lunges at Viktor with his torch. The monster sidesteps the advance, and Charles' momentum sends him tumbling over the ledge onto the ground below. Viktor peers over the side to see his creator's crumpled body lying dead on the ground.
He goes back inside and gathers Eva. They decide to leave Frankenstein Castle and put this nightmare behind them forever. Viktor recalls the words of his late friend Rinaldo who once told him to "Follow your heart". In honor of his friend, Viktor and Eva travel to Venice, Italy.
Notes & Trivia Edit
- The Bride has been made available on VHS and DVD. The DVD release of the film features alternate artwork from that of the original VHS release. The DVD was released on September 11th, 2001.
- Rated PG-13.
- Not to be confused with the 1918 silent film of the same name.
- Sting is more popularly known as the front man for the 80s rock 'n roll group The Police. He later went on to have a successful solo career. The Bride was filmed during the height of Sting's popularity.
- Eva's name is derived from "Eve", the wife of Adam and the first woman as depicted in the book of "Genesis" in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
- A conversation between Frankenstein and Eva gives a send up to the two sources from which this film was based, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. After the Baron loses the debate to his astute ward, he takes a copy of Shelley's Frankenstein and tosses it into the lit fireplace.
- Rinaldo is the antithesis to the classic hunchbacked misanthrope archetype commonly associated with the Frankenstein mythos. Stereotypically, these types of characters are servants to the creator, not the creation, although in one previous case, the character of Ygor (Bela Lugosi), befriended the Frankenstein Monster and journeyed with him to the village of Vasaria.  Another common trait of the misanthrope is that they are usually of low moral character. Rinaldo was none of these things. Although he was a dwarf, he was not a hunchback and held Viktor in high regard and thought of him as a true friend.
- An early scene depicts Eva walking into Frankenstein's study nude. This was not Jennifer Beals in this scene, but rather, a body double. 
- Franc Roddam's daughter, Annie, plays the Countess' daughter in the ballroom scene. 
- In The Bride of Frankenstein, the Frankenstein Monster befriends a blind man who offers him shelter. In The Bride, the Frankenstein Monster encounters a blind man who betrays him to a local mob. The actor playing the blind man in this film actually was blind. 
- During shooting of Rinaldo's second trapeze act, a fire broke out at Shepperton Studios in England, forcing crew members to evacuate the set. Actor David Rappaport was still attached to his harness during the fire and director Franc Roddam had to go back in to retrieve him. 
- Viktor's facial scars become less pronounced as the film goes on. By the end of the movie, they are practically imperceptible.
- Originally, Sting was being considered for the role of Captain Schoden. The part was eventually given to Cary Elwes.
External Links Edit
- The Bride at Wikipedia
- The Bride at TCM Database
- The Bride at All Movie Guide (AMG)
- The Bride at the Internet Movie Deatabase (IMDB)