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Elsa Lanchester, Herself

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Being known as “The Bride of Frankenstein” is an unusual form of fame, but for Elsa Lanchester the unusual came naturally. Born to radical socialist parents, Elsa attended an all-boys school and later “studied” in Paris with dance pioneer Isadora Duncan. At 17, she opened her own theater, which was frequented by writers such as H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Evelyn Waugh. ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Chicago Review Press (first published December 31st 1983)
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Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really very heartfelt autobiography by one of the great, yet mostly forgotten English actresses. This was written in her 80s and looks back on her life in film, two world wars, stage acting in London, her dance career and her marriage to actor Charles Laughton. A large portion focuses on her husband's struggle with his own homosexuality and his career, and her own philosophy on it and her decisions to support him are most touching. Her early bohemian lifestyle is a very magical read,especially ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More about her husband than her.
Diane C.
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elsa's writing style is a bit scattered, like she had ADHD or something. That said, she knew everyone and did everything! Her creative being/performer's high strung personality was offset by compassion and ability to love unconditionally.

Be ready to hear of the many profound personalities she met from the first half of the 20 the century (the list goes on and on, Bernard-Shaw, Pound, DH Lawrence, Brecht, Weill Olivier and later the Hollywood people), altho Elsa is not a name dropper.
Reading In The Dark
Tracing an entire life—or most of it—by reading a biography, is always an overwhelming reading experience for me. This one was no exception, and it carried a lot of weight within its pages due to Elsa telling a detailed account of her husband’s deterioration due to cancer. Through all the compiled letters, telegrams, recollections and anecdotes, I found myself very enamored of and invested in these two iconoclastic people, both as individuals and as a pair. When the end came for Charles, I truly ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating at first, but sadly kind of tedious by the end, as it kind of degenerated into a lot of score-settling, and I didn't care about any of it. Not sure why I finished it, but I did. Anyway, the first part, about her parents and her childhood and youth is really good, well worth reading. After they move to Hollywood, there's a fair amount of fun show-biz gossip. I was hoping she'd have more to say about the 3 gay men she worked with at the Turnabout Theater in LA (one of whom was the auth ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really fascinating - if you're into Old Hollywood and the thoughts of Elsa Lanchester, Herself, I highly recommend it. I do wish I had an edition with a different cover, though. She mentions hating being asked about the Bride or signing photos of the Bride, so this seems like a silly cover.
Peter Melancon
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read about her and her relationship with Charles Laughton, my only complaint is that I was hoping for more on her as the Bride of Frankenstein, none the less the book is very interesting. I'm planning on binging a few of her and Laughton's films.
Lisa Marie
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So interesting! So much information on her life and marriage!
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, reviews
After reading Elsa Lanchester, Herself, a memoir that was originally released in the early 80s, I have to say that I have developed an unhealthy obsession with Elsa Lanchester. When I started the book I was really only aware of Elsa as The Bride but as I continued I realized that I've actually seen quite a bit of her bigger works - The Beachcomber, Witness for the Prosecution, The Spiral Staircase, The Razor's Edge, etc. I just didn't realize it was the same person as The Bride.

Helen T
Elsa's began her autobiography with a delightful voice in which she described her parents and her own early lives. The Lanchester family was intriguingly counter-culture, creative and socialist-minded. I was delighted and inspired by Elsa's early life - she very much embodied the "Bohemian" in all that she did. And then she met Charles Laughton - at which point, the book seemed to detail more of Charles's life than anything else. At one point, she commented on a female acquaintance who didn't wo ...more
Stuff You Missed in History Class did two podcast segments on Ms. Lanchester, and kept referring to this out of print book. Lucky for me that I can hit John K. King Books and pick up these out of print darlings! The book was very interesting, but I felt like it was a lot more about her husband, Charles Laughton, in many places; his death scene dragged on forever. Still, her early story was fascinating--her parents, especially her mother, were definitely not typical. Elsa sure could drop a lot of ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
That took a lifetime. What a sad story. . . I thought, anyway.
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Being known as "The Bride of Frankenstein" is an unusual form of fame, but for Elsa Lanchester the unusual came naturally. Born to radical socialist parents who made civil disobedience a way of life, Elsa attended a Summerhill-like all-boys school and later "studied" in Paris with Isadora Duncan. She returned to London at age thirteen to dance and give lessons in the new style. At seventeen, she o ...more