James Whale Frankenstein

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 8:05:33 PM

James Whale Frankenstein

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(Trailer/L) Frankenstein (1931, James Whale)

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After the armistice , he returned to Birmingham and tried to find work as a cartoonist. He sold two cartoons to the Bystander in but was unable to secure a permanent position. Under the tutelage of actor-manager Nigel Playfair , he worked as an actor, set designer and builder, "stage director" akin to a stage manager and director. They were considered a couple for some two years, despite Whale's living as an openly gay man. They were reportedly engaged in , but by the engagement was off. In Whale was offered the opportunity to direct two private performances of R.

Sherriff 's then-unknown play Journey's End for the Incorporated Stage Society , a theatre society that mounted private Sunday performances of plays. The key conflict is between Capt. Stanhope, the company commander, and Lt. Olivier initially declined the role, [15] but after meeting the playwright agreed to take it on. The success of the various productions of Journey's End brought Whale to the attention of movie producers. Coming at a time when motion pictures were making the transition from silent to talking, producers were interested in hiring actors and directors with experience with dialogue. Whale traveled to Hollywood in and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures. He was assigned as "dialogue director" for a film called The Love Doctor It was at around this time that he met David Lewis.

Whale was hired by independent film producer and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes , who planned to turn the previously silent Hughes production Hell's Angels into a talkie. Whale directed the dialogue sequences. Having purchased the film rights to Journey's End , British producers Michael Balcon and Thomas Welsh agreed that Whale's experience directing the London and Broadway productions of the play made him the best choice to direct the film. Universal Studios signed Whale to a five-year contract in and his first project was Waterloo Bridge. It too was a critical and popular success. At around this time, Whale and Lewis began living together.

In , Universal chief Carl Laemmle, Jr. He chose Frankenstein , mostly because none of Universal's other properties particularly interested him, and he wanted to make something other than a war picture. For the Monster , he turned to the little known Boris Karloff , who had wide-ranging experience in supporting roles. Shooting began on 24 August and wrapped on 3 October. The Impatient Maiden made little impression but The Old Dark House is credited with reinventing the "dark house" subgenre of horror films.

It was restored by George Eastman House , [42] and released on Blu-ray disk in Whale's next film was The Kiss Before the Mirror , a critical success but a box-office failure. He returned to horror with The Invisible Man Shot from a script approved by H. Wells , [43] the film blended horror with humor and confounding visual effects. Much admired, The New York Times placed it in their list of the ten best films of the year, [44] and the film broke box-office records in cities across America.

So highly regarded was the film that France, which restricted the number of theatres in which undubbed American films could play, granted it a special waiver because of its "extraordinary artistic merit". Also in Whale directed the romantic comedy By Candlelight which gained good reviews and was a modest box office hit. The film tells the story of a woman desperate to escape her abusive marriage to a member of the British aristocracy. This was the first of Whale's films for which Production Code Administration approval was required and Universal had a difficult time securing that approval because of the elements of sexual sadism implicit in the husband's abusive behavior.

Bride of Frankenstein was Whale's next project. He had resisted making a sequel to Frankenstein as he feared being pigeonholed as a horror director. Bride hearkened back to an episode from Mary Shelley 's original novel in which the Monster promises to leave Frankenstein and humanity alone if Frankenstein makes him a mate. He does, but the mate is repelled by the monster who then, setting Frankenstein and his wife free to live, chooses to destroy himself and his "bride.

With the success of Bride , Laemmle was eager to put Whale to work on Dracula's Daughter , the sequel to Universal's first big horror hit of the sound era. Whale, wary of doing two horror films in a row and concerned that directing Dracula's Daughter could interfere with his plans for the first all-sound version of Show Boat previously filmed as a part-talkie by Harry A. Pollard , instead convinced Laemmle to buy the rights to a novel called The Hangover Murders. The novel is a comedy-mystery in the style of The Thin Man , about a group of friends who were so drunk the night one of them was murdered that none can remember anything.

With the completion of Remember Last Night? Whale immediately went to work on Show Boat Whale gathered as many of those as he could who had been involved in one production or another of the musical, including Helen Morgan , Paul Robeson , Charles Winninger , Sammy White , conductor Victor Baravalle , orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett , and, as Magnolia, Irene Dunne , who believed that Whale was the wrong director for the piece. Show Boat was the last of Whale's films to be produced under the Laemmle family. The studio was now bankrupt, and the Laemmles lost control to J.

Rogers , who was installed in Junior Laemmle's old job. Whale's career went into sharp decline following the release of his next film, The Road Back The sequel to Erich Maria Remarque 's All Quiet on the Western Front , which Universal had filmed in , the novel and film follow the lives of several young German men who have returned from the trenches of World War I and their struggles to re-integrate into society. He protested to PCA enforcer Joseph Breen , arguing that the film gave an "untrue and distorted picture of the German people". Rogers then assigned him to a string of B movies to run out his contractual obligation. Whale only made one additional successful feature film, The Man in the Iron Mask , before retiring from the film industry in With his film career behind him, Whale found himself at a loose end.

Selznick , [67] but turned them down. Lewis bought him a supply of paint and canvasses and Whale re-discovered his love of painting. Eventually he built a large studio for himself. He shot the film, called Personnel Placement in the Army , in February Sixty seats were provided free of charge to service personnel; the remaining were sold to the public, with the box office proceeds donated to wartime charities. Whale returned to Broadway in to direct the psychological thriller Hand in Glove. Whale directed his final film in , a short subject based on the William Saroyan one-act play Hello Out There.

The film, financed by supermarket heir Huntington Hartford , was the story of a man in a Texas jail falsely accused of rape and the woman who cleans the jail. Hartford intended for the short to be part of an anthology film along the lines of Quartet. Whale's last professional engagement was directing Pagan in the Parlour , a farce about two New England spinster sisters who are visited by a Polynesian whom their father, when shipwrecked years earlier, had married.

The production was mounted in Pasadena for two weeks in Plans were made to take it to New York, but Whale suggested taking the play to London first. In France he renewed his acquaintanceship with Curtis Harrington , whom he had met in While visiting Harrington in Paris, he went to some gay bars. At one he met a year-old bartender named Pierre Foegel, [4] whom Harrington believed was nothing but "a hustler out for what he could get". A provincial tour of Pagan in the Parlour began in September and it appeared that the play would be a hit. However, Hermione Baddeley , starring in the play as the cannibal "Noo-ga", was drinking heavily and began engaging in bizarre antics and disrupting performances.

Because she had a run of the play contract she could not be replaced and so producers were forced to close the show. Whale returned to California in November and advised David Lewis that he planned to bring Foegel over early the following year. Appalled, Lewis moved out of their home. Lewis bought a small house and dug a swimming pool, prompting Whale to have his own pool dug, although he did not himself swim in it.

He began throwing all-male swim parties and would watch the young men cavort in and around the pool. He returned in permanently, [82] and Whale installed him as manager of a gas station that he owned. Whale and Foegel settled into a quiet routine until the spring of , when Whale suffered a small stroke. A few months later he suffered a larger stroke and was hospitalized. Upon his release, Whale hired one of the male nurses from the hospital to be his personal live-in nurse. Whale died by suicide by drowning himself in his Pacific Palisades swimming pool on 29 May at the age of Because the note was suppressed, the death was initially ruled accidental. Do not grieve for me. My nerves are all shot and for the last year I have been in agony day and night—except when I sleep with sleeping pills—and any peace I have by day is when I am drugged by pills.

I have had a wonderful life but it is over and my nerves get worse and I am afraid they will have to take me away. So please forgive me, all those I love and may God forgive me too, but I cannot bear the agony and it [is] best for everyone this way. The future is just old age and illness and pain. Goodbye and thank you for all your love. I must have peace and this is the only way.

Whale's body was cremated per his request, and his ashes were interred in the Columbarium of Memory at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale. James Whale lived as an openly gay man throughout his career in the British theatre and in Hollywood, something that was virtually unheard of in the s and s. He and David Lewis lived together as a couple from around to While he did not go out of his way to publicize his homosexuality, he did not do anything to conceal it either. As filmmaker Curtis Harrington, a friend and confidant of Whale's, put it, "Not in the sense of screaming it from the rooftops or coming out. But yes, he was openly homosexual.

Any sophisticated person who knew him knew he was gay. With knowledge of his sexuality becoming more common beginning in the s, some film historians and gay studies scholars have detected homosexual themes in Whale's work, particularly in Bride of Frankenstein in which a number of the creative people associated with the cast, including Ernest Thesiger and Colin Clive , [97] were alleged to be gay or bisexual. Scholars have identified a gay sensibility suffused through the film, especially a camp sensibility, [98] particularly embodied in the character of Pretorius Thesiger and his relationship with Henry Frankenstein Clive. Minnie introduces Pretorius to Frankenstein with the line, "He's a very queer-looking old gentleman,sir Gay film historian Vito Russo , in considering Pretorius, stops short of identifying the character as gay, instead referring to him as "sissified" [99] "sissy" itself being Hollywood code for "homosexual" [ citation needed ].

Pretorius serves as a "gay Mephistopheles ", [] a figure of seduction and temptation, going so far as to pull Frankenstein away from his bride on their wedding night to engage in the unnatural act of non-procreative life. A novelisation of the film published in England made the implication clear, having Pretorius say to Frankenstein "'Be fruitful and multiply. The Monster, whose affections for the male hermit and the female Bride he discusses with identical language "friend" , has been read as sexually "unsettled" and bisexual.

The monster—the outsider—is driven from his scene of domestic pleasure by two gun-toting rubes who happen upon this startling alliance and quickly, instinctively, proceed to destroy it. However, Harrington dismisses this as "a younger critic's evaluation. All artists do work that comes out of the unconscious mind and later on you can analyze it and say the symbolism may mean something, but artists don't think that way and I would bet my life that James Whale would never have had such concepts in mind. That's a critical interpretation that has nothing to do with the original inspiration. Whale's partner David Lewis stated flatly that Whale's sexual orientation was "not germane" to his filmmaking.

Whale was heavily influenced by German Expressionism. He was a particular admirer of the films of Paul Leni , combining as they did elements of gothic horror and comedy. This influence was most evident in Bride of Frankenstein. Caligari from Robert Wiene , which Whale reportedly screened repeatedly while preparing to shoot Frankenstein. Waldman serving as "a bridge between everyday and expressionist spaces". Whale was known for his use of camera movement.

He is credited with being the first director to use a degree panning shot in a feature film, included in Frankenstein. The sequence also uses expressionist montages illustrating some of the lyrics. Often singled out for praise in Frankenstein is the series of shots used to introduce the Monster: "Nothing can ever quite efface the thrill of watching the successive views Whale's mobile camera allows us of the lumbering figure". Modified to a single cut rather than two, Whale uses the same technique in The Road Back to signal the instability of a returning World War I veteran.

Influential film critic Andrew Sarris , in his ranking of directors, lists Whale as "lightly likable". Noting that Whale's reputation has been subsumed by the "Karloff cult", Sarris cites Bride of Frankenstein as the "true gem" of the Frankenstein series and concludes that Whale's career "reflects the stylistic ambitions and dramatic disappointments of an expressionist in the studio-controlled Hollywood of the thirties". Whale's final months are the subject of the novel Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram. The novel focuses on the relationship between Whale and a fictional gardener named Clayton Boone. Only two of Whale's films received Oscar nominations: The Man in the Iron Mask for its musical score , and Bride of Frankenstein for its sound recording. A memorial sculpture was erected for Whale in September on the grounds of a new multiplex cinema in his home town of Dudley.

The sculpture, by Charles Hadcock , depicts a roll of film with the face of Frankenstein's monster engraved into the frames , and the names of his most famous films etched into a cast concrete base in the shape of film canisters. Other sculptures related to Whale's cinema career were planned, referencing his early work in a local sheet metal factory, but none had been installed as of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. English film director. This article is about the English-born film director.

For the British radio presenter, see James Whale radio presenter. Whale on the set of Bride of Frankenstein , Dudley , Worcestershire , England. Hollywood , Los Angeles , California U. Film director Theatre director actor. David Lewis Pierre Foegel. Retrieved 17 January Cumberland Evening Times. Wisconsin State Journal. The New York Times. Waterloo IA Evening Courier. United Press. Archived from the original on 17 July So schedule your viewing accordingly. So check this listing frequently, as all titles are subject to change and availability. CinemaBlend's James Bond expert. He fights for The User. Mike Reyes. Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News. Contact me with news and offers from other Future brands. Receive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors.

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