IN THE SPOOKLIGHT: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)

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Here’s my latest IN THE SPOOKLIGHT column, on the Boris Karloff classic THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), published this month in the September 2015 HWA NEWSLETTER.

—Michael

 

IN THE SPOOKLIGHTbride-of-frankenstein-movie-poster-1935

BY

MICHAEL ARRUDA

September.

Time to put the frivolous films of summer aside in favor of the horror movie heavyweights, time for one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies of all time, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935).

In the annals of mainstream cinema, there are very few horror movies which earn a four star rating. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of them.  Not only is it considered a better movie than its predecessor, FRANKENSTEIN (1931) but it’s widely viewed as the best FRANKENSTEIN movie ever filmed.  While it’s hard to argue against this assertion, I actually prefer FRANKENSTEIN over BRIDE since it’s a scarier film, but that doesn’t take away my appreciation for BRIDE.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN opens with a prologue in which Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester, who also plays the titled Bride of Frankenstein later in the movie) tells her husband Percy Shelley and fellow Romantic poet Lord Byron that her story did not end with the Monster perishing inside the burning windmill.  There’s more to the tale, she says.

The action then segues to just after the conclusion of FRANKENSTEIN, with the villagers watching the windmill burn to the ground, and we quickly see that the Monster (Boris Karloff) has survived the fire and escapes.  Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) survives as well, and he resumes his plans to marry Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson), but these plans are interrupted when he’s visited by his old professor, Dr. Pretorious (Ernest Thesiger) who tries to convince Henry to continue his experiments, but Henry is not interested.

Meanwhile, the Monster is loose in the countryside, inadvertently terrifying everyone he comes in contact with.  He’s hunted down and briefly chained in a prison before he escapes.  In the film’s most touching scene, he befriends a blind hermit (O.P. Heggie) who teaches the Monster how to speak and shows him considerable compassion, even prompting the Monster to shed a tear at one point.  But even this ends badly when two hunters happen upon the hermit’s cabin and “rescue” him from the Monster.

Eventually, the Monster crosses paths with Dr. Pretorious, who tells the Monster he wants to create a mate for him, but that he needs Henry Frankenstein’s help for the experiment to succeed.  The Monster agrees to work with Pretorious to compel Henry Frankenstein to make him a mate.

By far the best part of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is the development of the Frankenstein Monster.  The role is taken to a whole other level, and Boris Karloff delivers a brilliant performance.  This time around, the Monster is conscious of who he is and how he came to be.  When Pretorious asks him if he knows who he is and who Henry Frankenstein is, he answers, “Yes, I know.  Made me from dead.  I love dead.  Hate living.”

And of course the Monster learns how to talk in this movie, which is a huge development in the story and makes the Monster an entirely deeper character than he was in the first film.  Sure, it takes away some of his frightening brutality, but it also makes him much more interesting.

The look of the Monster is also unique in BRIDE, as make-up artist Jack Pierce singed the Monster’s hair and face to show that he had been burned in the windmill.

Colin Clive returns as Henry Frankenstein, and once again, he’s excellent in the role.  Clive broke his leg shortly before filming, which is why in the majority of his scenes in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN he’s sitting down. Sadly, Clive died two years later in 1937 from pneumonia as a result of his alcoholism, and he never lived long enough to see or take advantage of his increasing fame through the decades as the iconic Henry Frankenstein in these two classic Frankenstein movies.

Stealing the show, however, is Ernest Thesiger as the evil Dr. Pretorious, in a role originally offered to Claude Rains.  Thesiger is a delight to watch, as he instigates Henry Frankenstein throughout, eventually teaming up with the Monster in order to force Henry to create the Monster’s mate.  Thesiger’s Pretorious is a nice precursor to Peter Cushing’s interpretation of Baron Frankenstein in the Hammer Films, although Cushing would take things a step further and make his Baron an even darker character.  It’s a shame Thesiger’s Dr. Pretorious only appeared in this one Frankenstein movie.

Ernest Thesiger steals the show as the conniving Dr. Pretorious in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

Ernest Thesiger steals the show as the conniving Dr. Pretorious in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

Dwight Frye, who famously played the hunchback assistant Fritz in FRANKENSTEIN after his even more famous role as Renfield in DRACULA (1931) appears in BRIDE as the grave robber/murderer Karl who assists Pretorious and once again has the distinction of being murdered by the Monster.  The original role of Karl was much bigger and included a scene where Karl murders his aunt and uncle and then blames the Monster for the crime, which is why at the end of the movie the Monster goes out of his way to kill Karl.  These scenes were cut prior to the film’s release.

The iconic Bride with the lightning-strike hair was played by Elsa Lanchester, who made such an impression with this role it’s easy to forget that she’s only in the movie for about five minutes, and that’s it!  Yet she hisses her way to infamy, prompting the Monster to complain, “She hate me!  Like others!”   Ah, the pains of dating!

Monster bound

The Monster (Boris Karloff) is bound by the angry mob.

Director James Whale, who directed FRANKENSTEIN, is at the helm once again for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and he does another masterful job.  He sets up several memorable scenes in this one, even making the Monster a Christ figure. When the mob binds the Monster and hoists him up on a huge pole where he hangs for several moments as they throw sticks and stones at him, the scene definitely brings to mind a crucifixion.  And in the sequence with the blind hermit, as the Monster sheds a tear, just before the camera fades to black, it focuses on a crucifix which illuminates and remains the sole image after the fade.

The scene where the villagers pursue the monster is shot with a moving camera, and it’s every bit as impressive as the chase scene at the conclusion of FRANKENSTEIN.  Henry Frankenstein’s lab is bigger in this sequel, and the bride creation sequence is more elaborate than the creation scene in the original, as this one includes flying kites high above the roof of the laboratory.

The one thing lacking in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN that FRANKENSTEIN did better is scares.  The Monster in FRANKENSTEIN as played by Boris Karloff was a brutal unstoppable force that was frightening every time he was on screen, not because he was evil, but because he was tremendously strong and unpredictable, possessing raw incredible strength unchecked by learning or experience.  In FRANKENSTEIN, the Monster had no knowledge of life and death, right and wrong.  But in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN the Monster does know, which makes him a much more fascinating character, and since he develops a conscience rather than become evil, he’s much less frightening.

The screenplay by William Hurlbut and a host of uncredited writers is thought-provoking throughout. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is critically acclaimed because it takes the infamous murderous Monster from FRANKENSTEIN and humanizes him, enabling him to reflect upon his existence, which ultimately causes him even more tragedy and pain.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN also contains a phenomenal music score by Franz Waxman.

Without doubt, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the best horror movies ever made.  It was a hit and a critical success upon its initial release in 1935, and today, 80 years later, its reputation is even stronger.

Looking for first-rate horror movie fare this September?  Look no further than Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

It’s one wedding you don’t want to miss!

—END—

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STOCKING STUFFERS 2014: Gifts I’d Like to Find Under My Tree This Year

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"I hope you like my gift, Larry.  I picked it out of the graveyard myself."

“I hope you like my gift, Larry. I picked it out of the graveyard myself.”

STOCKING STUFFERS – 2014

Gifts I’d Like to Find Under My Tree This Year

By

Michael Arruda

 

Here are a few horror movie goodies that I’d like to find under my Christmas tree this year, in no particular order:

 

-A newly discovered unedited complete version of KING KONG (1933) including the infamous lost “spider in the pit” sequence.  Sorry folks, this still hasn’t been discovered yet and as of right now only exists in our collective imaginations.

 

-For the recently restored unedited version of HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) to be made available here in the United States.  This one does exist, but no sign of it in the U.S. yet.  What’s the hold up???

 

-A boxed set of all the Universal monster movies with long lost scenes restored, including Bela Lugosi’s scenes of dialogue as the Frankenstein Monster in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943), Dwight Frye’s extended scenes as Karl in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), and the original cut of THE WOLF MAN (1941) where Lon Chaney’s Larry Talbot only becomes a werewolf in his own mind.

 

-A horror movie with Johnny Depp in a serious role instead of the over-the-top goofy roles he’s been taking of late.  It’s as if he’s quit being Depp and instead has adopted the persona of Jack Sparrow from the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, and it’s Sparrow making all these recent films like DARK SHADOWS, THE LONE RANGER, and INTO THE WOODS, not Depp.

 

-More horror films with Chloe Grace Moretz.  She was phenomenal in LET ME IN (2010) and pretty darn good in the re-boot of CARRIE (2013) as well.  And the best part?  Chloe Grace Moretz is not a scream queen!  She’s a force to be reckoned with.

 

-Speaking of LET ME IN, how about some more horror movies by director Matt Reeves?  He’s directed two of the best horror movies in the past decade, CLOVERFIELD (2008) and LET ME IN (2010), not to mention the excellent DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014).  He’s one of the most talented genre directors working today.

 

-Speaking of CLOVERFIELD, how about the long awaited sequel which has been rumored for years finally coming out?  That would be nice.

 

-A reversal in the decision to turn the Universal monsters into superheroes.  The powers that be at Universal are making a huge mistake here.  To me, this decision is a concession that these monsters are no longer scary, and that’s simply not true.  All it takes is a good writer, combined with a talented director, and these monsters could be relevant again.  Don’t bother remaking the origin stories- we all know them.  What we need are new tales of these monsters in frightening horror movies which will scare modern audiences to death.  Leave the superheroes to Marvel!

 

-Speaking of Marvel, I’d like to see Robert Downey, Jr. in a horror movie.  Scarlett Johansson too, for that matter.

 

-Speaking of people making horror movies, Woody Allen made his decision to move on from comedies years ago and continues to churn out quality films year after year.  I sure wish he’d channel his keen writing talents and write a horror tale someday.  I think it would be pretty cool.

 

-Lastly, to all my writer friends, I’d like to find a copy of your latest book under my tree so I could read your work throughout the year.  My Christmas wish for all of us is that we have books in print year after year for years to come!

 

Thanks all!

 

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy winter!

Thanks for reading!

 

—Michael

 

 

 

 

IN THE SHADOWS: DWIGHT FRYE

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Dwight Frye as Renfield in DRACULA (1931).

Dwight Frye as Renfield in DRACULA (1931).

In The Shadows: DWIGHT FRYE

By Michael Arruda

Welcome to another edition of In The Shadows, that column where we honor character actors from the movies, especially horror movies.

Character actors add so much to the movies they’re in, it’s hard to imagine these movies without them. Never receiving the praise heaped upon the major actors and stars of the genre, these folks nonetheless are often every bit as effective as the big name leads.

Last time out we paid homage to one of my favorite character actors from Hammer Films, Michael Ripper. Today we look at one of my favorite character actors from the Universal Monster movies, the great Dwight Frye.

After a successful theatrical career in the 1920s, Frye hit it big immediately on the big screen with his groundbreaking performance as Renfield, the fly-eating madman in the Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA (1931). Other than Lugosi as Dracula, Frye steals the show, making Renfield the most memorable character in the entire movie.

Nearly every scene Frye has as Renfield is impressive. Who can forget his speech to Van Helsing about Dracula and the rats:

RENFIELD: A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire. And then he parted it. And I could see that there were thousands of rats with eyes blazing red, like his, only smaller. And then he held up his hand, and then they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: Rats. Rats. Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red blood! All these will I give to you if you will obey me!

Frye immediately followed up his phenomenal performance as Renfield with another memorable performance, this time as Fritz, Henry Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant in the Boris Karloff version of FRANKENSTEIN (1931).

While Fritz is a smaller part than Renfield, Frye nonetheless makes the most of his scenes. Fritz plays an integral role in one of the major plot points in the film, when he mistakenly steals an abnormal brain from a college lecture hall for Henry Frankenstein to put inside the skull of the Monster.

As Fritz, Frye does a lot of little things in FRANKENSTEIN that really add depth to his character. When Henry Frankenstein sends him down the long winding stone staircase to see who is banging at their laboratory door, Fritz chatters all the way down, going on about how he doesn’t have time for this sort of thing, that he has too much to do, and at one point he stops on a step to pull up his socks.

In one of the movie’s more dramatic scenes, Fritz takes both a whip and a torch to the Monster (Boris Karloff) as he torments Frankenstein’s creation. Of course, this doesn’t end too well for Fritz, as he gets a little too close to the Monster, and in one of the film’s more chilling images, we see the shadow of Fritz’s dead body hanging from the ceiling, murdered by the Monster.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Frye’s genius and talent weren’t really recognized back in 1931, and what should have been a very successful film career never materialized. Sadly, after these two superb performances, Dwight Frye was forever typecast in small thankless roles as weirdoes and lunatics.

He also had the misfortune of having his roles in future Universal horror films cut. For example, his role as Karl in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) was cut significantly before the film’s release. Originally, Karl was to have been a much more important character to the plot, as he was supposed to have murdered his parents and then blamed the murder on the Monster, which is why at the end of the film, the Monster goes out of his way to kill Karl. In the final print, this subplot is gone, and Karl is little more than a grave robber who works for Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), although we do get to see a flash of Karl’s menacing personality when he murders a young woman in order to supply Pretorius and Henry Frankenstein with a fresh heart.

His role in the third Karloff Frankenstein film, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) was cut entirely, and he doesn’t appear in the movie.

Tragically, Frye died of a heart attack on November 7, 1943 at the age of 44. While in life his career never materialized the way it should have, today, we can look back, appreciate, and enjoy his remarkable talent. Through the magic of the movies, Dwight Frye lives on.

Here’s a partial list of Dwight Frye’s 62 film appearances, concentrating solely on his appearance in horror movies from the 1930s and 1940s:

DRACULA (1931) – Renfield

FRANKENSTEIN (1931) – Fritz

THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933) – Herman Gleib

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) – Reporter (uncredited)

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) – Karl

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942) – Villager (uncredited)

DEAD MEN WALK (1943) – Zolarr

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943) – Rudi

These are the films in which I became familiar with Dwight Frye. Of course, he made many more movies than just these, appearing in 62 of them.

Dwight Frye made his mark early, in two powerhouse performances as Renfield in DRACULA, and as Fritz in FRANKENSTEIN. You can make the argument that other than the two leads in these movies, Lugosi as Dracula, and Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster, it’s Frye who steals the show, although in FRANKENSTEIN he does get some competition from Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, and Edward Van Sloan is also in both movies doing his professor shtick, but it’s Frye who creates two of the livelier characters in both films.

I also really enjoyed Dwight Frye as Herman in THE VAMPIRE BAT, in which he plays a simple-minded fellow who loves bats, and who unfortunately is blamed by the villagers for the vampire-like murders plaguing the community, and he’s hunted down and murdered. Of course, his death is all for not, as the true culprit in this one is the evil Dr. Otto von Niemann, played by Lionel Atwill.

It’s a shame Dwight Frye didn’t get to do more. He could have added so much to so many more movies. Don’t believe me? Check out his work in DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN and you’ll be convinced.

Dwight Frye: February 22, 1899 – November 7, 1943

Thanks for reading everybody!

—Michael

HORROR OF DRACULA Restoration – The “Mina Sequence” – A Follow-up Post

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Dracula (Christopher Lee) puts the bite on Mina (Melissa Stribling) in another image from the restored "Mina" scene from HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).

Dracula (Christopher Lee) puts the bite on Mina (Melissa Stribling) in another image from the restored “Mina” scene from HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)Long lost version finally restored!

The “Mina” Sequence – Update

 

It’s come to my attention that the video in my blog post from Friday, October 18, 2013, featuring the original Japanese reels of the missing “Mina” footage from HORROR OF DRACULA, has been blocked due to copyright reasons.

 

I feared this might happen.  When I was initially putting these posts together on the newly restored HORROR OF DRACULA prints, I had come across on YouTube the original Japanese prints from which the restored version was derived.  This print was divided into three sections, and the first section had been blocked due to copyright reasons.  I figured it was only a matter of time before the other sections were blocked as well.

 

Honestly, I think it’s ridiculous and quite silly to block these things.  If the restored version of HORROR OF DRACULA was available here in the United States,— it’s not, as of yet— viewing a raw damaged print from Japan is not going to stop me from buying it.  On the contrary, the more people who see it and like it, the more people will buy it when it finally becomes available. 

 

But that’s not how these things work.  So, to the powers that be, hurry up and release the restored version here in the United States, thank you very much!  And shame on you for blocking material on the web that you have no business blocking.  Well, I suppose if you own the copyright, then it is your business, but readers, you know what I mean.  I’m just venting.

 

Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy this photo from the lost “Mina” sequence, a different one from my October 18 post.

 

And for more information about the HORROR OF DRACULA restoration story, check out my earlier posts from September 30, 2013 and October 18, 2013.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Enjoy!

 

—Michael

The Uncut HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) – The “Mina” Sequence

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The newly restored "Mina" sequence from HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

The newly restored “Mina” sequence from HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)Long lost version finally restored!

The “Mina” Sequence

 

This is a follow-up piece to my post last month where I reported the good news that earlier this year Hammer Films finally released its restored version of HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), recovered from the long lost Japanese print. 

 

This fun event happened on March 13, 2013, when Hammer released its restored version on Blu-Ray to British audiences.  This print has not yet made its way to the United States. 

 

However, clips from this version have been posted on YouTube, and the most notable change involved the restoration of the film’s famous ending.  At long last, western audiences could finally see the uncut ending.  I posted these YouTube clips with a detailed explanation of the story behind the Japanese print on this blog back on September 30.  If you’re interested in learning about— and seeing— the uncut ending, simply check out my September 30 post.


The subject of today’s post is another scene that has been restored, and it’s from the “Mina” sequence.  Towards the end of the movie, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough) stand guard outside the house to protect Mina (Melissa Stribling) from Dracula (Christopher Lee).  Their efforts fail because unbeknownst to the two men, Dracula is already inside the house, his coffin hidden in the basement.  So, while they stand guard outside, Dracula easily makes his way to Mina’s bedroom. 

 

It’s this scene that now has an extra shot restored of Dracula biting Mina, captured from a different angle. It actually shows Dracula spending some extra time kissing Mina first, and this scene was cut by British sensors because it was considered too sensuous. 

 

How times change!

 

For your viewing pleasure, here is the link to the lost “Mina” sequence.   This is actually from the original Japanese reels, which is in poor condition, and you’ll have to fast forward a bit— about 10 minutes into the clip— to get to the uncut Mina sequence.

 

Enjoy!  And if it’s too sensuous for you, feel free to cover your eyes!

 

—Michael

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) – Long Lost Version Finally Restored!

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Dracula (Christopher Lee) peels away his burning flesh in the restored ending to HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

Dracula (Christopher Lee) peels away his burning flesh in the restored ending to HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

This image of Dracula (Christopher Lee) in the early stages of decomposition does NOT appear in the restored version of HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).  Publicity still, perhaps?

This image of Dracula (Christopher Lee) in the early stages of decomposition does NOT appear in the restored version of HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). Publicity still, perhaps?

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)Long lost version finally restored!

You can imagine my excitement when I learned that the uncut ending to HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), Hammer Films’ classic Dracula movie and one of the best horror movies of all time, had been restored.

Just how excited was I?  Enough to watch the sequence repeatedly on YouTube over a celebratory glass of wine.  Hmm.  What was that?  Yes, just one glass!

Thank heavens for YouTube, that’s all I can say!

Where was I?  Oh yes, I was about to tell you that Hammer Films—finally— has released its restored version of HORROR OF DRACULA, recovered from the long lost Japanese print.

In case you missed the story, in the late 1950s, Hammer Films routinely shot different versions of its films in order to satisfy different markets.  The most violent and graphic versions of their movies were made for the Far East and sent to countries like Japan.  At least that’s one explanation of the tale.  The other account I’ve read is that the graphic scenes were simply cut by censors in England and the United States, while the versions sent to Japan were allowed to be uncensored.  Either way, a separate version of the film had long been rumored to exist in Japan.

For decades, fans were tantalized by the possibility that a more graphic version of the film’s exciting finale existed in a vault somewhere in Japan, unseen by English speaking audiences.  Fans continually asked, does this footage really exist?  Or is it just a rumor?  The mystery remained unsolved.

Until now.

Thanks to the efforts of a Hammer Film fan— no, not me— living Japan, the footage was discovered.  This fan, Simon Rowson, watched the footage and wrote about it, announcing once and for all that this long rumored footage actually existed.  Eventually, he contacted Hammer and got them interested.

Hammer released a restored version on Blu-Ray to British audiences back on March 13, 2013.  This restored version has not yet made its way to the United States.  That’s where the YouTube clips come in.

Thanks to YouTube, we can see this footage now without waiting.

So, yes, I was absolutely ecstatic to finally see this restored ending, and I was not disappointed.  I’ve posted this restored sequence on my FaceBook page, as well as right here on this blog.

I also went ahead and posted another video, the original uncut reel from the Japanese version, which is heavily damaged.  It’s interesting to note that there are differences between this original Japanese reel and the restored edition reissued by Hammer Films.  I’m not sure why they didn’t restore the entire sequence.  The sequence in the damaged version is more extensive than the Hammer restoration print.  Does this mean some day there will be more restorations?

This also raises another question, which is, are there still more versions out there? For instance, neither the Hammer restored version nor the original Japanese print include the famous image of Christopher Lee’s Dracula in the early stages of decomposition, a photo  probably first revealed within the pages of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.  Did this scene ever exist?  Or perhaps this image was just a publicity still?

The mystery deepens.

The restored version and the Japanese prints also include other restored scenes in addition to the finale, most notably an added shot to the scene where Dracula (Christopher Lee) bites Mina (Melissa Stribling).  More on this sequence in a future post.

For Hammer Film fans, this is an exciting time, to finally be able to see absent footage that had never been viewed by English speaking audiences before.  That’s pretty cool, I must say!

Now I can only hope that someone discovers an uncut print of the original KING KONG (1933) including the famous cut spiders in the pit sequence.  I can dream, can’t I?

—Michael

PICTURE OF THE DAY: THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) – Deleted Scene

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Severed head in a scene cut from THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

Severed head in a scene cut from THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

PICTURE OF THE DAY:  THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) – Deleted Scene

 

Here’s a picture of the rotting severed head, in a scene cut from THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), the Hammer classic that made international stars out of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

The photo on the right shows Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein holding the head from the body he’d recently robbed from a gibbet, the body of a highwayman who’d been terrifying the countryside.  Earlier, when Victor Frankenstein examines the body, he laments that he can’t use the head, since the birds had pecked away at it, making it unsuitable for his new creation.  So, Victor cuts the head off and then disposes of it in his vat of acid.

When Victor cuts off the head, the action occurs off-camera, as the scene switches to his assistant Paul’s (Robert Urquhart) squeamish face, and later, when Victor drops the head into the acid vat, that also occurs off camera with another cutaway to Paul.  In fact, you never see this head/face in the movie.

I’ve seen this photo tons of times, and it’s been in existence my whole life, but as far as I know, this scene has never appeared in the movie, at least not here in the United States.  Perhaps it made it into the initial theatrical release in 1957, I don’t know, but for as long as I’ve been watching it, first on TV back in the 1970s, then on VHS, DVD, and now Blu-Ray, I’ve never seen this sequence.

Does it exist in other countries, I wonder?  Anyone know?

Looking at the photo now, it looks rather fake, but it was all so gruesome back in 1957.

This photo comes to us courtesy of the UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society, where I found it online at http://petercushingblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/acid-bath-head-peter-cushing-curse-of.html.

Hope you enjoy it!

—Michael