Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 02/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE BRIDE isn't really a horror film. It plays like a twisted "Pygmalion", a dark fairytale that is quite beautiful in it's design and look.
Dr Frankenstein (Sting) creates a female companion for his original monster (played by Clancy Brown). Things go wrong when the monster reacts violently and the lab becomes engulfed by flames. The monster escapes and 'Eva' is left in the care of Frankenstein.
The rest of the film focuses on the 2 separate adventures of Eva and the monster. Jennifer Beals is luminous as Eva, a woman who somehow knows she is different and is always searching for answers. Sting plays Dr Frankenstein with all the pomp and circumstance he can muster, and suits the time period of the film perfectly. Clancy Brown gives 'Viktor' the monster a humanity and heart, and David Rappaport, as Viktor's tiny friend, is a real scene-stealer. Geraldine Page is wasted as Frankenstein's remote housekeeper.
The music by Maurice Jarre of DOCTOR ZHIVAGO fame is lush, and the scenic design is haunting (especially the eerie huge statues that Eva and Frankenstein ride past in the woods). Direction by Franc Roddam is perfectly-pitched.
Not your average horror film."
A Beautifully Shot Gothic Romance-Not a Horror Film
Only-A-Child | 04/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thankfully this is out on DVD and a new audience can appreciate how well it was made and can learn from the Director's Commentary what makes it so special.
"The Bride" is more Thomas Hardy than Mary Shelley, and more Gothic romance than horror. Director Franc Roddam points out (on his DVD commentary) that he wanted to make a very different version of the old story by eliminating almost all elements of horror; so only the first ten minutes qualify as authentic horror.
Roddam does not discuss the illogic of making a film devoid of the very elements its "target audience" was interested in seeing, but we already know that "The Bride" had a very poor showing at the box office. This target audience disconnect was most likely the cause. Nor does he comment on the failure to market the film to another audience segment; those interested in Gothic period pieces.
It is especially cool that 20 years later the film is finally being discovered by this other audience and they are finding it a beautifully photographed example of their genre that emphasizes story-line and atmosphere over blood and gore.
Even the much criticized casting of inexperienced leads Jennifer Beals and Sting (both look great in period costume) takes on a different dimension when the film is re-classified into the Gothic genre. Suddenly you see that the director was the one most responsible for the apparent lack of chemistry between the two stars, particularly Beals lack of passion in the scenes they share. These were the performances the Roddam wanted and not a reflection of inexperience or talent limitations. Which is not to say that Sting will ever be mistaken for a great acting talent but Beals has been unjustly criticized for a shallow performance when it was simply everything Roddam wanted it to be. Her character is only learning how to feel as the film progresses and as events play out we learn that her emotionless attitude simply conveys her indifferent feelings toward her creator.
I highly recommend this movie as Roddam is an excellent stylistic director and has made a very good Gothic romance. The fantastic production design works to unify what are two stories as Roddam cuts back and forth between the Baron (Sting) teaching his creation Eva (Beals) while David Rappaport as Rinaldo teaches his other creation Victor, played by Clancy Brown. There is a psychic link between the two creations which will result in a interesting plot twist.
Roddam has created a visually gorgeous film that has held up much better than the 1980's mainstream features that outperformed it at the box office. Don't be scared away by the negative comments, if you know what to expect (gothic romance not horror) almost any fan of films will enjoy "The Bride". I recommend the DVD, it was made from a flawless print and the widescreen presentation better showcases both the top-notch photography and the terrific work of the production designer.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
Interesting and Dark
J. Austin | Dublin, OH United States | 11/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1985 when both Sting and Jennifer Beals were huge draws, this movie was created: A retelling of The Bride of Frankenstein. On a dark and stormy night, Baron Frankenstein works feverishly in his lab trying to bring to life the agreed to Bride of the monster previously created. Sting, as Frankenstein, is intelligent, determined, and methodical. He brings to life his newest creation and quickly discovers that the mistakes he made when creating the man have been corrected, bringing to life a beautiful woman. Upon seeing his bride, the monster (Clancy Brown)inadvertently hurts her. Frankenstein strikes the monster and removes the bride from the creature's grasp. A fight ensues and the monster flees into the night. The next day Frankenstein names the woman Eva and decides to teach how to be "as bold and as proud as a man." Meanwhile, the creature runs into a little person named Renaldo (David Rappaport) who understands what it is like to be an outcast and befriends him. As the movie progresses, we see two stories take place. Eva becoming "the new woman" and the creature learning about life and friendship.I have always enjoyed this movie. Sting is great as Frankenstein and plays him with a hint of madness that such a man would likely have been. Jennifer Beals plays Eva with childlike innocence early on then shows the maturity of a bold, intelligent woman, but still she is disturbed about who she truly might be. (Check out the scene when she does discover the truth. Fantastic!) Clancy Brown, too, shows growth and maturity in the development of the creature (later named Victor by Renaldo) from clumsy, confusion to brave determination. Cary Elwes has the role of Josef, one of the Countess' guards. And how can we forget the late David Rappaport as the compassionate and insightful Renaldo. Through him we see the pain and prejudice he faces by being a little person. The extras on the DVD are few, but nice to have. I don't recall ever seeing the trailer before so having it on the DVD was a plus. The Director's commentary could have been better. He admitted that it had been so long since he had seen the film. Knowing this, he should have watched it a few times and made notes. As it was, he forgot a lot of the information. Later in the film, he would comment that the movie never addressed this or never addressed that when in actuality, the movie had established those things earlier in the movie. To me, a great commentary is when the person commenting on the film is discussing the scene: either the actors or the background, or something relevant. This director sometimes went on little tangents that had nothing to do with the movie at all. I kept thinking "can we please talk about this movie?" There was some good information though about the French scenery, how Sting got the role, the relationships between the actors, and the loss of David Rappaport. So the commentary wasn't a total loss, but could have been better if the Director was better prepared."
What a pleasant surprise...!
R. Gawlitta | Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA | 05/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First and last, this has got to be the ultimate love story, complete with conflict and great supporting characters, etc. Though the characters of Mary Shelley are suggested, this is in no way a horror film. The lush, gorgeous music of Maurice Jarre lets you know this right from the start. I'll not blab away the plot, except to say that the separate adventures of the bride and the "monster" are paralleled cleverly by director Franc Roddam. Sting was good, as was Jennifer Beals. Clancy Brown as Viktor (the monster) had wonderfully realized sense of moral character, suspicious of kindness; grateful for friendship. His friendship is found in the person of Rinaldo, wonderfully played by David Rappaport. There's adventure, loss, renewal and a darn good story to go along with it. As in Mary Slelley's tale, there is goodness and evil. Here, it's approached in a refreshing new way. This has a more satisfying ending. I only bought this film because I love Geraldine Page. Her natural brilliance isn't given much of a challenge. "The Bride" came out in 1985, the same year Ms. Page gave her Oscar winning performance in "The Trip to Bountiful".Any moment of Page is worth it. A pity she left this world in 1986. Aside from that, "The Bride" is worth consideration. This really is a great date movie..."
An underrated little gem
James Baker | Highland, NY United States | 11/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Thank goodness for the current DVD boom. It seems that all the major studios, in a rush to get product on the shelves, are in the process of scouring through their back catalogues and releasing everything and anything available. The "Midnite Movies" series from MGM is a perfect example.
So likewise, Columbia has released The Bride on DVD. True, it is NOT a horror film, and yes, a musician is in the lead role(always a dubious casting move), but it does succeed on many levels. This retelling of The Bride of Frankenstein works more as a romantic fantasy, and the narrative chugs along at quick, engrossing pace, especially the sub-plot of Victor(the Monster) and Rinaldo. The many poignant moments between these two and the child-like demeanor of Victor gives the movie its soul. That said, the ending is a bit of a dissappointment, which the director freely admits to on the commentary track, which is filled with relevant and amusing anecdotes about the film itself.
So if anyone remembers this eighties artifact fondly, I say its a worthy addition to your collection. And listen to the commentary!"