Bride of Frankenstein Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger Director: James Whale Bride of Frankenstein deserves to be hailed for so much more than just being the film which boasts cinema history's greatest-ever hairstyle. There is an electricity here pulsing through a whole lot more than the famed beehive of the Bride (Elsa Lanchester). Director James Whale was something of a rare bird himself. A first world war veteran with dreams of shining in the more serious of theatrical and cinematic arts, Whale found his greatest fame in the horror genre, thanks to the likes of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, and then this bizarre little masterpiece. For decades the debates raged everywhere (all right, simmered, and yes, only among horror-genre junkies) about how much could be read into what most considered his finest film. Was Whale presenting the Monster (Boris Karloff) as a Christ-like figure, or was he delving into much darker reflections on his homosexuality, during his heyday of the 30s and 40s not exactly something Whale could parade in public. The case can be made for both of the above, even if his friends dismissed those theories. But we can also celebrate Bride for being simply a fabulous work of pure entertainment. For the 1930s it was shocking - this is a man playing god, after all, and his designs here are all about creating an object for his monster's carnal (as well as spiritual) desires. And Whale's ability to use limited technology to stunning effect still puts the viewer on the edge of their seat. The images of Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) wild-eyed at his work, of the Bride coming to dazzling, sparkling and terrifying life, these things are still as electrifying as the methods the good doctor uses to create life itself. Karloff was always the saddest monster doing the rounds and you can not only feel his isolation and his longing, you can see it in his eyes. He may be a monster but deep down he is still a man and that's what charges the despair that comes down with the curtain at the film's end. Bride of Frankenstein is a work charged with emotion and high drama, factors wonderfully lampooned years later by Mel Brooks in Young Frankenstein, which also used some of the original sets and, for all its humour, also paid its respects to a film that was decades ahead of its time. The sad irony of it all is that while Bride - this monumental achievement - was all about giving life, Whale eventually took his own, long after the brief spotlight of fame had dimmed and as his own faculties had started to desert him. If you want to reflect on Whale himself, seek out Bill Condon's fabulous Gods and Monsters (1998) - the title taken from a line plucked from Bride. But if you want to honour the man's art, sit back and take in this fabulous fantasy.