November 3, 2015

80th Anniversary BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN series
Jazz Age Monster

Here’s a splendid streamlined cartoon likeness of Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster from the pages of Universal Weekly, the studio’s trade magazine, May 4, 1935. The art deco-style illustration — signed ‘Marshal’ ? — decorated a page boasting the film’s great box office returns and enthusiastic reviews in Variety and Motion Picture Daily.

Among the articles grouped under the heading “BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN: A TREMENDOUS SMASH” were reports from the Tower Theatre in Kansas City of a Sunday’s sellout business with crowds lining up despite a downpour, and the film drawing “unusually heavy child attendance” despite ads warning “not suitable for children”. The Tower’s manager, Barney Joffee, said he did not refuse admission to families on the principle that “parents cannot be prevented from bringing their children”.

Also featured is a column’s worth of praise for eighteen-year-old female lead, Valerie Hobson, essentially billed as a scream queen, before the term existed. Hobson, we are told, “screamed her way to success” and “plays the part of the beauty-in-peril with ear-splitting realism”. True, Hobson had to deal in quick succession with the Frankenstein Monster and WEREWOLF OF LONDON, leading Universal’s promotional department to declare that … no actress has ever seemed more certain for stardom than this lovely lady of the vociferous tonsils”.

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