THE QUOTABLE CUSHING
As a lifelong Peter Cushing fan— I’ve been watching Peter Cushing movies since I was a wee little kid— I enjoy revisiting his signature moments. There are so many.
From his memorable action sequences— he’s always leaping over something, or wrestling with some monster, or being strangled by Christopher Lee— to his superbly acted scenes, to his incredibly clever lines of dialogue.
THE QUOTABLE CUSHING will deal with the latter, the dialogue. We’ll have some fun examining some of Peter Cushing’s more memorable movie quotes. Granted, these lines were written by writers, but it was Cushing who delivered them, who brought these lines to life, and it’s Cushing who will be forever identified with them, in effect making them immortal.
There are so many key quotes I don’t know where to begin. Most of my favorites come from his many performances as Baron Frankenstein.
Today we’ll do what usually works best: we’ll begin at the beginning. Today we’ll look back at his first appearance as Baron Victor Frankenstein in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). Here are just a few of his memorable lines from THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.
A furious Paul (Robert Urquhart) confronts Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) after Victor has murdered Professor Bernstein and removed his brain to use inside his creature.
PAUL: I can’t prove you murdered him. But I can stop you from using his brain.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: Why? He has no further use for it!
This hilarious line was used again in the third film in the Hammer Frankenstein series, THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964).
Moments before he pushes Professor Bernstein to his death, Victor invites him to look carefully at a painting at the top of the stairs.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: “If you step back a little, you’ll see it better.”
When his maid Justine (Valerie Gaunt) tells Victor that she’s pregnant, and that he’s the father of her baby, and that since he promised to marry her, he has to make good on that promise, Victor coldly replies,
VICTOR: “Why choose me as the father? Choose any man in the village. Chances are it’ll be the right one.”
And of course near the end of the film, when Paul confronts Victor about his complete failure to create a human being, as they watch Christopher Lee’s pathetic and hideous Creature respond to simple commands like a dog, Victor tells Paul unequivocally,
VICTOR: “This is your fault, Paul. Do you understand? Your fault!”
Yup, there’s no denying that Victor Frankenstein is one obsessed cold-hearted bastard in this movie. It’s a testament to Peter Cushing’s superb acting abilities that he was able to bring this character to life to the point where he’s not just a one-dimensional villain but a very likable anti-hero.
That’s it for now. See you next time on THE QUOTABLE CUSHING.