He was best known for his work in the horror genre, making such momentous genre pictures as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man and was also responsible for such major films as Waterloo Bridge, Show Boat, and The Man in the Iron Mask.
Despite being repressed into maintaining a degree of secrecy, Whale was a notorious homosexual. Many suggest that there are homosexual themes and discourses in his motion pictures and as a result his biographies are considered noteworthy in gay and lesbian studies.
He was a very gentile man and while eventually joining the military, rising to the rank of sergeant and fighting for his country in the first world war he placed the value of human life above patriotism. Whale procrastinated from sending his men over the top of their trench and into No Man's Land for a long time and was succesful in saving their lives.
Whale is the subject of the novel Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram, which was the basis for the 1998 film Gods and Monsters. The film, which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, starred Ian McKellan as Whale. A good biography of Whale is written by Mark Gatiss and titled 'James Whale: A Biogaphy' (or 'James Whale: the would-be gentleman').
In his last days, Whale experienced difficulty with his memory due to a debilitating stroke. He became lonely and suffered from depression and had difficulty putting the war behind him. He died May 29, 1957.
A memorial statue was erected for Whale in 2002 in the grounds of a new multiplex cinema of his home town, Dudley. The statue depicts a roll of film with the face of Frankenstein's monster engraved into the cells and the names of his most famous films etched into the film-tin shaped base-stone.
James Whale Facts
|Birthday||July 22, 1896|
|Birthplace||Dudley, England, United Kingdom|
|Date of death||May 29, 1957 (age 60)|
|Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection|
|Wives Under Suspicion|
|Sinners in Paradise|
|Universal Monsters: The Essential Collection|
|Universal Classic Monsters Collection|
|The Invisible Man: Complete Legacy Collection|
|The Invisible Man|
|The Bride of Frankenstein|