Actress Elsa Lanchester was born on this day in 1902 (she died in 1986.) With her good looks you might assume she played lots of leading ladies roles, or at least was the hero's romantic interest, in many a film. However, she was mostly a character actress throughout her long career, often playing eccentrics, which, while lacking glamour, no doubt kept her steadily employed when those good looks inevitably began to fade. In twelve of her films made both in England (where she was originally from) and Hollywood, she appeared with husband Charles Laughton, one of the greatest actors of his generation. On her own Elsa had roles in--
You know what? Before I go any further, how about, for anyone who's interested, a lesson on the most efficient way to put on pantyhose? Pay close attention:
That woman makes it look easy, huh? But remember, she's just a drawing. On actual flesh and bones it may be a bit more difficult, as Elsa explains to Dick Cavett in this 1972 interview:
Now you know why she played eccentrics. As for that poem she mentioned, we'll have to save that for some other day. Halloween is almost upon us, and I have a scary treat for all of you (no, it's not a chocolate-covered eggplant.) I said before Elsa rarely played the romantic interest, but one of the few times she did...
...she got to play the title character. Actually, she wasn't in the movie all that much, just a little at the beginning and a little at the end. Let's begin with the beginning, where she doesn't even play the title character, but rather, an aspiring novelist:
At that point, Mary conjures up a Universal Pictures sequel for Percy Shelley's and Lord Byron's viewing-or-however-they're-taking-in-this-story-in-1818 pleasure. Along the way there's an old blind man in the woods and some little people in jars, both of which I'm going to skip so I can go right to the end. The very end. Like, the words "The End" on the screen end. You know what that means boys and girls, don't you? Something even more frightening than a creature stitched together from dead body parts. I'm talking about the dreaded SPOILER ALERT! So if you haven't seen the movie and want to, you better leave right now.
On second thought, why doncha stick around? Because what I'm about to show you is so giddily gruesome and so gleefully ghastly, with just a touch of piquant poignancy for all you romantic misfits out there who have no problem commiserating with a brokenhearted monster, that you don't really need an explanation as to how all these characters arrived at this particular moment. Just hold on to your pillows and feast your eyes on one of the greatest horror movie finales of all time:
Some people are just not made for each other.