October 19, 2013

Starring Colin Clive

I thought I’d seen all the stills and publicity material from the 1931 Frankenstein until this splendid photo  — marked PD (Publicity Department) # 940 — popped up on Facebook, courtesy of Colin Clive collector Sally Stark.

Wearing jodhpurs and high boots, Colin Clive strikes a dramatic pose on the Frankenstein set. The photographer was probably Roman Freulich. Boris Karloff posed in his Monster outfit for several photos against a similar leaning stonework background.

This was the costume Clive wore — with a coat — in the final chase and windmill scenes of the film. The breeches and boots are those of a horseman, and Clive was an avid if unlucky practitioner. As a young man, he suffered injuries — broken knee and broken leg — from two different riding accidents, cutting short his aspirations for a military career. Then, in 1931, having rushed home to England as soon as Frankenstein wrapped, Clive promptly fell off a horse and broke his hip. Perhaps he was just accident-prone. Kicking off his acting career, Clive was knocked down by a London bus on the very day he opened in the James Whale-directed play, Journey’s End. Come 1935, Clive suffered another injury, perhaps in a fall, just before Bride of Frankenstein started shooting. Playing up Frankenstein’s “convalescence” angle — having been mauled and thrown off the windmill by The Monster — Clive was allowed to do most of his scenes reclining or sitting down.

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