Tuesday, July 20, 2010

child bride

First off, I'm trying hard not to go on and on about this. I'd just like to make a certain point, which I think bears mentioning, if not just for the fun of it. Especially for those of us at a certain age.

There's also going to be a lot of numbers flying around here, too (I actually needed to pull up my desktop calculator to help keep track). But it's worth it, I think.

OK, now. So. The first time I watched The Bride of Frankenstein was in 1962, on a local TV late-show, I being eight at the time.

Fast forward to 1998. I'm watching another film, Gods and Monsters, a mildly fictionalized account of the last years of James Whale, the man who directed The Bride of Frankenstein. Seems as though by 1957 Whale was regarded - by Hollywood standards and popular culture both - not only as something of a virtual dinosaur, but an extinct dinosaur as well. This despite the fact that in '57 only 22 years had passed since the BOF had uttered her first beguiling hiss.

Well, all this talk of Hollywood dinosaurs gets me to thinking. About time in general. What is "old" as compared to "new", and how that perspective changes so very rapidly with each generation. At jet speed, really.

Consider this: Bride of Frankenstein was 31 years old when I first saw it back in 1962.

If you went looking for a film today, in 2010, that was the same age now as BOF was to me then, you'd be looking at films released in 1979. To refresh your memory, here is short list of notables from '79: Alien, Kramer vs Kramer (it won the Oscar for Best Picture that year, in addition to four other Academy Awards), Apocalypse Now, Rocky II.

To keep this in perspective, Sigourney Weaver - does she seem like a fossil to you? Interesting to note also that when she made Alien, Weaver was 30 years old, only three years younger than Elsa Lanchester herself when she became The Monster's bride in 1935.

So, just to wrap up on this theme, how about this one: a teenager today sitting down to watch a DVD of Easy Rider (released in 1969) is the same as if - using my earlier comparison of me in 1962 - instead of Bride of Frankenstein I'd tuned in to watch The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, released in 1921. That's a silent film, of course.

It's odd: That Bride, she looks prettier every time I see her.

And so young.

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