10 October 2012

Lost Scene from Bride of Frankenstin: The Script Pages

A recently recovered copy of the shooting script for James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein revealed a previously unknown scene from the last third of the movie between Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and Dr. Praetorius (Ernest Thesiger) in the watchtower set. It is unknown if the scene was ever filmed, or if it was scrapped before production:

FRANKENSTEIN: Say, Dr. Praetorius—what’s this here on the laboratory list?

PRAETORIUS: Please read it to me, dear boy. My eyes are weary from watching the electricity crackle.

FRANKENSTEIN: “$200 for destruct switch.” What is that?

PRAETORIUS: Would you prefer I convert it to British pounds?

FRANKENSTEIN: No, that’s not the bother. But what in God’s name is a “destruct switch”?

PRAETORIUS: If you’re going to invoke your childish deity, I guess I shall have to explain. The destruct switch is a lever that, when pulled, causes all the laboratory equipment to immediately overpower and explode. It simultaneously ignites four hundred pound of dynamite beneath the tower, causing the whole structure to collapse and kill every living thing inside.

FRANKENSTEIN: What? When did you— How did you—?

PRAETORIUS: The Monster has been digging the tunnels all day and laying down the dynamite. Didn’t you hear him singing as he worked: “Dynamite good. Fire bad. Dynamite good. Fire bad.”

FRANKENSTEIN: I thought that was him singing Tannhauser.

PRAETORIUS: Yes, well all Wagner sounds much like that to the untrained ear.

FRANKENSTEIN: But why in God’s name did you put in such a device?

PRAETORIUS: Oh, I do love that you keep blaspheming. I put it in for the obvious reason: to blow up the lab.


PRAETORIUS: I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.

FRANKENSTEIN: Is there any reason to instantly blow up the lab?

PRAETORIUS: To elude to authorities.

FRANKENSTEIN: Praetorius, the purpose of eluding the authorities is to get away from them—and still be alive!

PRAETORIUS: Really? I hadn’t considered that. Death is far more beautiful, don’t you think. Now where is my needlework…

FRANKENSTEIN: Is the lever at least locked, or hidden inside a cabinet?

PRAETORIUS: Of course not. Such a device should be simple. Occam’s Razor child, Occam’s exquisitely sharp Razor—never be more complicated than you have to be.

FRANKENSTEIN: But, we should take some measure to see that someone doesn’t accidentally throw the lever.

PRAETORIUS: Well, what about a sign that reads, “DO NOT THROW THIS LEVER.” Straightforward.

FRANKENSTEIN: Oh… never mind. Do you have a fresh brain for us yet?