2013 03 30 Short Story Competitions April May June 2013

However, the opening is more than just a mood setter for the film to come. In a clever bit of casting , Elsa Lanchester, who plays Mary Shelley, will later play the monster’s mate in the surprising conclusion to the film. Much as God has created man in his own image, Mary has created the female creature in her own image. In the novel, Victor does not get far enough along in his creation of the female being for Mary Shelley to give a description of her, but it would not have been surprising to the reader if that creature had resembled the real Mary Shel-ley.


In addition, by placing Elsa Lanchester in the dual role, the filmmakers have tied the opening of the film into its conclusion, making the film into one that Mary Shelley may just have related to Percy Shelley and Lord Byron on that stormy night. There is also continuity with the original Frankenstein (1931), the plot of which Lord Byron summarizes at the beginning of the film, as the initial revelation of the respective faces of the creature and his mate in each film is accomplished by a series of shots, each one bringing the viewer closer to the head, finally ending in an extreme close- up of the creature, and Henry exclaiming some variation of “Alive, alive” as each of his creations moves.


Of course, the main story of Bride of Frankenstein does not come from the novel. In Shelley’s book, there is no escape by the creature from the watery grave below the windmill, no Dr. Pretorius to convince Henry to create a mate for his monster, no creation scene for the mate and no final destruction of Frankenstein’s laboratory.