Friday, October 28, 2016

Watch This: BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN Elsa Lanchester - "Inside You Pretty Girls is the Devil!"


Elsa Lanchester (born on this date in 1902) had a long, esteemed career on (occasionally) stage and (frequently) screen, but there is no doubt that she is best known today for a 1935 horror movie she played a small but important role in. The film is, of course, James Whale's brilliantly subversive BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and Lanchester plays two roles in the movie, the "bride" created by Frankenstein for his monster, and, in a framing segment, Frankenstein's true creator Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It's a great film, and its cultural influence has been long and abiding.

Lanchester's over-the-top appearance and performance go a long way towards making the film as effective as it is. In an interview with Dick Cavett many years later she discussed her inspiration (beginning at approximately the 3:45 mark) for the Bride's shrieking hiss - angry swans, which she demonstrates (!!!), and conveyed director's James Whale's philosophy of the character:

"Inside you pretty girls is the Devil."

It's a great interview. She also talks about her husband Charles Laughton and her dance instructor Isadora Duncan, whom she calls an "untalented bag of beans."

 

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