To entice Whale back to the laboratory he was practically given carte blanche to direct his way, which he did, by greatly loosening conventionality with his caustic wit tempered by derision for having to succumb to commercial necessity, and by an unbridled flair for pushing boundaries; all of which combine to produce a less serious and less sedate film than Frankenstein, but far grander. Bride of Frankenstein borders on the outrageous; part parody, part satire, it is a reluctant parable touched with fantasy that periodically explodes into quintessential horror theatrics, providing Whale with a lucrative vehicle to poke fun at domestic relationships, the budding horror genre he helped foster, and allow him to lay bare his inner struggle between his homosexuality and society's ambivalence toward it. Henry, the Monster, Elizabeth, Pretorius, the townspeople, all represent parts of Whale's tag team match with his inner demons, yearning for, while disgusted with, a social conventionality he can never attain, but still desires deeply.
Featuring Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne at the peak of their careers, this John Ford western is perhaps the great director's finest. Superb performance by Lee Marvin as the title villain. The storyline offers a great commentary on legends and the West.