Classic Movie Themes: The Bride of Frankenstein
Franz Waxman's score for James Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein is as iconic as the movie itself. It has a weird and haunting quality to it with its three distinctive themes: one for the Monster; one for the Bride; and another for Pretorius. With only a modest twenty two piece orchestra , the score was recorded in a single nine hour session. Universal recycled many elements of the music in other productions over the years, most notably in Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars. This has led to it becoming an accepted part of popular culture and synonymous with spooky castles and baroque electrical equipment. It has aged remarkably well over the years and is still very evocative.
Filled with strange, sweeping yet disquieting melodies and unusual timbres, it was an extremely ambitious soundtrack for a movie at the time. Waxman's music for The Bride of Frankenstein provided the movie with the impact and sweep of a Wagnerian opera, although the finale recalls the Mahler "Symphony No. 2". The "crucifixion" of the monster, the homunculii of Doctor Pretorius and the "birth" of the Bride are magnificently embellished by the subtleties of the score. Seldom has a movie score been so integral to the overall success of the film. Franz Waxman's score remains the epitome of atmosphere and craftmanship.