July 20, 2012
The Monster peers through a window at Elizabeth draped across the bed in a faint. The image evokes the scene where Boris Karloff’s Monster confronts Mae Clarke on her wedding day, staged by director James Whale in emulation of the Fuseli painting called The Nightmare.
Summer of ’32, Frankenstein, already a massive hit, was deploying to cinemas in America and all around the world. In Australia, the highly anticipated film demolished house records in Sydney and Perth. Booked into Brisbane for a June 10 premiere, the management of the Tivoli theatre turned on the ballyhoo. As a measure of the film’s expected success, a newspaper ad published on Tuesday, June 7, announces that “sessions” will begin at 9 AM, effectively adding a couple of lucrative showings to the day’s schedule.
Just so there was no doubt about the film’s shocks, “trained nurses”— as opposed, one imagines, to those unreliable, unskilled ones — are promised to be in attendance throughout the film’s run. And should nurses fail to save you, free insurance, taken out with Lloyd’s of London, guaranteed ₤1000 cash paid out to next of kin if you were the first patron to die “caused by, and during, the screening of ‘Frankenstein’.” Fortunately, there is no record of anyone having collected.
All that’s missing now is for the Frankenstein Monster himself to show up. But what’s that “Special Frankenstein Night” coming up at the Carlton Cabaret two days hence? Stick around and find out as the Frankenstein in Brisbane series continues through the coming week.