Saturday, September 15, 2012

As You Wish

One of my most favorite people in the world—in my lifetime, in fact—is getting married today. And to the lucky couple, I wish nothing but good health and happiness, bliss and adventure, joy and security for the rest of their lives. It is a beautiful thing, this union, and a special, sacred day. One worth celebrating.

Bride of Frankenstein (Whale, 1935) is one of my favorite films. It has rich humor and genuine pathos. It has fantastic production values and a magnificent score (by Franz Waxman). It has tremendous acting and memorable, iconic setpieces. It has its own sly streak of perversity and boundless quantities of creativity and inspiration. And while never really scary, it has plenty of creepy and tension-filled moments, too. It is a cinematic marvel and joy.

But it is also a meditation on connection, and on the almost primal impulse to find a mate, a match, a kindred spirit. Things don’t quite work out in the end for the couple pictured here. But the film delves deep into the idea that finding someone else to pair up with is a defining trait of the human condition. The Monster (tenderly played by Boris Karloff) knows that. In a world of estrangement, he simply seeks to belong, to be accepted for what he is, even if it’s just by one other in the whole world. And it is this yearning that makes him the most relatable and sympathetic figure in the film, far more so than any of the “real” people.

Of course, the most memorable scene is between our “hero” and the blind man he encounters, isolated in his cottage in the woods. Oblivious to the monster’s appearance, he embraces him as a visitor and takes him into his home—the first sign of any kindness the creature has ever experienced and a simple, selfless act, free of judgment, which resonates with him (and us) for the rest of the movie.

And so it is sometimes—two lonely people who meet only for a moment, but who greatly impact each other’s life. A different kind of bond, but one with its own value and legacy. And so on this wonderful day, my thoughts and prayers go to those who found that special someone—for a moment or a lifetime. Each of those encounters is a blessing beyond measure.

Alone Bad. Friend Good.

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