Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bride (1985)

Director: Franc Roddam

Starring: Sting, Jennifer Beals, Anthony Higgins, Clancy Brown, David Rappaport, Geraldine Page, Alexei Sayle, Phil Daniels, Veruschka von Lehndorff, Quentin Crisp, Cary Elwes, Timothy Spall, Ken Campbell, Guy Rolfe

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Woman Born Of Electricity - A Man Driven By Obsession

Plot: Disgusted by his dim-witted and ugly original creation (Brown), Dr. Frankenstein (Sting) sets out to animate an improved version. Though lovely on the outside, Eva (Beals) begins her new life as little more than an animal. With the help of his trusty housekeeper (Page), however, Frankenstein soon grooms the beautiful zombie into a reasonable facsimile of an upper-class debutante. He's unprepared, however, when his ward displays a mind -- and sexual urges -- of her own. Meanwhile, the good doctor's discarded original creation assumes the name of Viktor and takes to the road. Befriended by an enterprising dwarf named Rinaldo (Rappaport), Viktor becomes a circus performer but continues to pine after his bride. Connected to her psychically, he soon makes his way back to the scene of their mutual creation. There, he finds the girl embroiled in a love triangle between a callow suitor (Elwes) and Frankenstein himself.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

What a mixed bag this is.  I enjoyed it but there's a problem.  There are two stories which converge into one at the end. All of the performances are very good.  Sting plays Doc Frankenstein as a pompous, raging asshole.  Peter Cushing did, too, in all of those great Hammer Studio Frankenstein pictures but there's a world of difference in that Cushing was one of the most brilliant actors of the 20th century and, well, Sting doesn't come close.  He's just an amazing pop star that fit surprisingly well into the roll but didn't bring an awful lot to it.  He looked great and did a fine job but the problem isn't there but with his character.  But I'm getting off track.

The real stars of the show are Brown and Rappaport as Viktor (the monster) and Rinaldo respectively.  They are outstanding.  I've never seen such emotional depth given to the Frankenstein monster before and their pairing as actors is inspiring.  The moment when they part is heartbreaking.

The other half of the picture deals with Frankenstein and Eve (Beals) and the love triangle with Josef (Elwes) and is the least interesting part of the picture.  Beals was fantastic, by the way, but what happens when the film switches gears momentarily to show us their goings on slows the picture down and had me longing for more  Viktor & Rinaldo bits.  Maurice Jarre's score is pretty good and romantic but I didn't like the electronic additions.   And how about that ending?  I didn't see that coming.  I was shocked and very pleased with the conclusion.  I kind of got choked up a little that they actually went there.  So there it is.  I'm not sure if it's the writing, the direction or both that brings down the love triangle sections or what but this picture is well worth watching just for Clancy and Rappaport alone.

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