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Classic Gothic Horror film to be presented with live orchestra, Saturday, October 29, 8 p.m. at the Schuster Center

DAYTON, OH (October 17, 2011) – The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the classic horror film The Bride of Frankenstein (starring Colin Clive, Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester) in a special Halloween performance with live orchestra on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the Schuster Center.    Neal Gittleman, Music Director of the DPO, will conduct.

“The Monster Demands a Mate!” screamed the lurid posters that promoted The Bride of Frankenstein, the sequel to Universal Studios’ original 1931 film, Frankenstein. By the mid-thirties, movie-making had advanced rapidly and The Bride of Frankenstein did not disappoint. Variety magazine acknowledged the important roles of cameraman, art director and score composer Franz Waxman. Audiences may experience the thrills for themselves on Halloween weekend, when the DPO provides the live music to this timeless horror classic in the Mead Theatre at the Schuster Center.

Tickets for The Bride of Frankenstein with orchestra range from $16 - $76 and are available by calling (888) 228-3630 or by ordering on the web at  


About The Bride of Frankenstein
When Saturday afternoon audiences filed into their neighborhood theater to see Buster Crabbe in the latest chapter of the Universal serial, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938), much of the background score might have seemed familiar to an astute moviegoer. It was Franz Waxman’s music, originally written for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Up until 1938, the American Federation of Musicians allowed the reuse of any music in the studio library for any studio film.
 What made Waxman’s score so adaptable for re-working was the composer’s, extraordinary for its time, use of symphonic music for the horror genre, which translated easily to other Universal horror films and serials. The studios’ plunge into the horror cycle began in 1925, with the silent The Phantom of the Opera, and easily morphed into the sound era, with Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931). The latter two films made stars of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Amidst all the subsequent horror excursions at Universal was the masterpiece, The Bride Of Frankenstein, with its angled sets and stark lighting. Karloff, climbing from the ashes of the burned-out windmill in Frankenstein, reprised his role as the monster (“ I love dead – hate living!”), as did Colin Clive, as Doctor Frankenstein. The climatic sequence of the sequel is the birth of the ‘bride’, accompanied by blinding electrical effects and the tolling of mock wedding bells, along with Waxman’s uses of a timpani to represent an obsessive heartbeat and ghostly string and wind tones.

Elsa Lanchester was memorable in her dual role of Mary Shelley and the ‘bride’. Can you ever forget that marvelous zigzag lightning-streaked hair? Designed by director James Whale and actor Ernest Thesiger (Dr. Pretorious), Lanchester recalled:  “It was actually my own frizzy, untidy hair. They brushed it and combed it and made four little braids, and they put a sort of little house on top--a wire cage really--and anchored it with pins. Then they added two white hairpieces, one at my upper temple, and another at my lower temple. It took two hours to draw in the little scars and go over them in red."
 Wisely, Whale was cognizant that this production was more ambitious in scope than the first Frankenstein, which he had directed, and cried out for an extended musical treatment, something more than the average ‘squeal and groan’ horror film scores. Having met composer Franz Waxman, at a stylish Hollywood party, and, being familiar with his music composed for the Fritz Lang-directed French film Lilliom (1933), Whale invited him to score the new visit to the monster and his friends.
What Waxman created (the use of the word created seems to go with the theme of the movie), was a full-bodied, spine-tingling, hauntingly eerie, effective and groundbreaking approach. Composer Max Steiner had led the way into to this new world of dramatic underscoring of films with his music for King Kong (1933), and Waxman, in his defining addition to The Bride of Frankenstein not only raised the bar but suggested limitless possibilities for the future.
The film premiered on May 9, 1935, at the Roxy Theater in New York, and is now widely considered to be the greatest gothic horror film of all time. When the last days in the life of director James Whale were turned into a film, Gods and Monsters (1988), it featured reconstructions of the filming of key scenes from The Bride of Frankenstein. In fact, the title came from a line of Dr. Pretorious in the original, “To a new world of gods and monsters.” 

About the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in the community. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.

Performance Place at the Schuster Center ~ 109 North Main Street, Suite 200 ~ Dayton, Ohio 45402


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