Tag Archives: Frankenstein

Movies I Want To See

I am a sucker for horrible films, especially those from the 1950s. Here are a few that I want to see.

Teenage Frankenstein

This is from AIP and features Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane in the first season of the Adventures Of Superman.

MothraMothra is another of the Japanese giant monsters who on various occassions fought against and then teamed up with Godzilla.

Reform School Girl

Another AIP film.

The Hotrod Gang Meets The Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow

The ultimate 1950s drive-in film featuring teenagers, hot-rods and ghosts. From AIP.


Bride Of Frankenstein

Directed by James Whale
Produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Written by Screenplay: William Hurlbut
Adaptation: William Hurlbut & John L. Balderston
Novel: Mary Shelley
Starring Boris Karloff
Colin Clive
Valerie Hobson
Ernest Thesiger
Elsa Lanchester
Una O’Connor
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography John J. Mescall
Editing by Ted Kent
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) April 22, 1935 (LA)
May 10, 1935 (NY)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I am really trying to catch up with all of the posts. I have fallen a little behind so I am only doing a shorthanded version of the posts and will re-edit them when I get a chance.

in Bride of Frankenstein

Image via Wikipedia

Bride Of Frankenstein was the sequel to the original 1931 monster movie and the one that most people think is the superior film. This is the film where the monster befriends the blind man who teaches him to speak and the film is all the better for it as Karloff is able to make the audience empathise with the misunderstood monster. The monster has a childlike quality which just shows how skillful Karloff’s portrayal is. You are at the same time empathetic to the monster as well as repulsed by him. There is an innocence as if he only murders because he has been shunned by society yet he does seem to know to an extent what he is doing.

The film has quite a bit more camp humour than Frankenstein, something that director James Whale also added to The Invisible Man movie. Examples of this include Ernest Thesiger’s portrayal of Dr. Pretorious and especially Una O’ Connor as Minni. She comes across equally as being funny and annoying.


Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein

Directed by Charles Barton
Produced by Robert Arthur
Written by Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo & John Grant
Starring
Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Lon Chaney, Jr.
Bela Lugosi
Glenn Strange
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Editing by Frank Gross
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date 15 June 1948 (US)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was one of my favourite films as a kid. It was a film that I found to be both scary and funny in equal parts. I really loved this movie so much that I just had to order it from Amazon because I could not find it for sale anywhere in Australia, and I desperately wanted to see it again. I just wanted to know if the film held up as well now as it did back when I was a kid.

I popped the DVD disc into my Sony DVD player the other day and found that the film really lived up to my expectations. Whilst I no longer find the film as scary as I did as an eight year old there were still a few heart pounding moments, especially the scene when Lou is unknowingly being stalked by the Wolfman in the hotel room. (See picture below) Also, like most seventy year old comedy films, the humour has dated quite a bit, but there are still a few chuckles to be had, especially the look of fright on the Frankenstein Monster’s face when he first lays his eyes on Costello. It’s funny to see the Monster being so afraid as someone as harmless as Lou.

It is probably true that this film was probably the beginning of the downward spiral in A&C’s popularity even though they did have a few box office hits after this film. Their popularity really waned as Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis became the #1 Hollywood comedy team, and A&C started to go back to the same ideas again and again (ie; going back to the team ups with Universal’s monster icons). They really weren’t known for their innovation, especially as they really only liked to use gags and routines that they had honed to perfection by performing them thousands of times on the vaudeville circuit. Still A&C Meet Frankenstein is a classic and a movie that I recommend for anyone who likes both classic comedy and classic monster movies.


The Wolfman


Directed by George WaggnerProduced by George Waggner
Written by Curt Siodmak
Starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
Claude Rains
Warren William
Ralph Bellamy
Patric Knowles
Bela Lugosi
Maria Ouspenskaya
Evelyn Ankers
Cinematography Joseph Valentine, ASC
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) December 12, 1941
Running time 70 min
Language English

“Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.”

Since the new Wolfman movie comes out next month I thought it would be good to have a new look at the original. As a kid this movie really scared me and has since given me a lifelong fear of werewolves. The Wolfman is one of the classic Universal horror movies from the 1930s and 40s which also includes Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein and the Invisible Man, but by the time that The Wolfman came along Universal were just about coming to the end of their monster movie cycle, and the films of the 1940s did not have the budgets or quality of their predecessors. That does not mean that it’s a bad film.

This movie is from 1941 and stars Lon Chaney Jr. as the  unfortunate Lawrence Talbot, the man who is cursed when he is bitten by a werewolf. Having just watched this film yesterday I would say that it is not so much as horror movie, as there are really no instances of tension, fear or horror, however it does work as a great psychological study of a man who is tormented by the things he will do when the moon is full and he changes into a dreaded werewolf. This is of course Chaney’s signature role and what he is best known for today, although his performance here does echo his earlier role as Lenny in the 1939 Academy Award nominated version of Of Mice And Men, for which Chaney won much critical acclaim.

The screenplay was written by Curt Siodmak, a German Jew who fled the Nazi atrocities of the 1930s for America. He is the person responsible for much of the traditions that are today associated with the werewolf legend, such as the transformation at the full moon, the werewolves’ victim being marked by a pentagram and that the only way to kill a werewolf is with silver. According to the excellent documentary that accompanied the DVD, Siodmak wrote The Wolfman as an allegory to the genocide occurring in Europe at the time and how even the nicest of men could become beasts if the conditions were right.

Then there is the performance of Lon Chaney Jr., as Larry Talbot, the man who must carry the terrible curse of the werewolf. His acting seems quite over the top and hammy here but it does add to the fun of the film. The Wolfman became Chaney’s signature role and makes this movie a lot of fun to watch. Jack Pierce’s make up work is great and the transformation scenes are very good considering this film is almost 70 years old. It is an enjoyable film and I only hope the remake is half as much fun.

* Buy The Wolfman from Amazon* (Note this is a region 1 DVD and requires a region free DVD player to be played outside North America)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.