Certainly, The Bride is a film that is beautiful to look at. The photography is stunning the Countesss reception is like a perfectly poised Classical canvas. The production design is superb the multi-tiered laboratory in the opening scene with ornate inscriptions in German and giant buckets of water waiting to douse the lightning rods evinces a great shiver of excitement. However, the film is no more than a series of posed tableaux. Franc Roddam has no idea how to dramatically enervate it.
The laboratory opening is indeed spectacular, but thereafter the film splits off into its two separate storylines one following Viktors trek across Europe (and the bonding scenes with he and the dwarf do get terribly twee) and the other about Frankenstein and Evas battle for supremacy but it merely becomes one tableaux following another without dramatic cohesion. There is no Dr Pretorious character in this film the film could have done with something that to get it worked up.
As Frankenstein, Sting does what he does best acting ruthless and evil (he is the perfect person to play The Vampire Lestat (1985) if they ever get around to filming it) but the character has no depth beyond that. Jennifer Beals came to attention after her sizzling debut in Flashdance (1983) and this was her second film. Subsequent to Flashdance, she almost entirely vanished without a trace. With her dark saucer-eyes, she is all provocative innocence but the moment she opens her mouth, her American accent crashingly destroys all pretence. Much better is the pairing of David Rappaport and Clancy Brown Rappaports crafty swagger has charm and Clancy Browns slow genteel brings a touch of pathos to the monster altogether missing since the days that Boris Karloff stopped playing the part.
In the end, The Bride will probably only be remembered for Franc Roddams ability to bring together a most unusual cast list one of the worlds biggest rock stars Sting; Englands stately homo Quentin Crisp of The Naked Civil Servant (1975) fame as the lab assistant, no less); absurdist comedian Alexei Sayle; Polish model Veruschka; the eccentric grand dame and previous years Best Actress Oscar winner Geraldine Page; diminutive 311 David Rappaport; and, apparently, Mariel Hemingway, who was cast as Elizabeth but had her scenes cut out.
British director Franc Roddam had come to fame with Quadrophenia (1979), based on The Who album and featuring Sting in his first acting role, and The Lords of Discipline (1983) about brutality in a military academy. Roddams subsequent films have been the little-seen War Party (1988) about an historical war reenactment gone wrong and the mountaineering drama K2 (1992), as well as the tv mini-series Moby Dick (1998) and Cleopatra (1999). He is also the creator of the classic 1980s British tv series Auf Weidersehen, Pet (1983-6) and creator of the reality tv series Masterchef (1990-2001) and its various spinoffs. Screenwriter Lloyd Fonvielle also wrote the stories for Cherry 2000 (1987) and The Mummy (1999), as well as wrote and directed the unusual film noir ghost story Gotham/The Dead Cant Lie (1988).