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Son of Frankenstein [DVD] [1939]

Boris Karloff , Basil Rathbone , Rowland V. Lee    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
  • Directors: Rowland V. Lee
  • Writers: Mary Shelley, Wyllis Cooper
  • Producers: Rowland V. Lee
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jan 2013
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016586UY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,194 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Basil Rathbone comes to Transylvania to inherit his father's estate in this second sequel to Frankenstein. The townspeople are suspicious, but young Frankenstein has no interest in reviving his father's work--until he discovers the monster hidden away in the castle, inert but very much intact and watched over by Ygor (Bela Lugosi), a sinister, snaggletoothed peasant with a broken neck. Convinced to revive the creature and vindicate his father's name, Frankenstein toils away in the lab not realising that Ygor plans to use the monster to revenge himself on the jury that sentenced him to hang. Boris Karloff makes his final appearance as the Monster, now little more than a mute, lumbering robot under the hypnotic control of Ygor. Rathbone is a dignified, suave scientist and a marvelous match to Lugosi's mad Ygor, a richly malevolent performance that dominates the film.

Lionel Atwill makes a marvelous addition to the Frankenstein gallery as the wooden-armed constable, a legacy of the monster's rampage 25 years before. (Mel Brooks's loving lampoon Young Frankenstein, a veritable remake of this film, features the constable and his lumber limb in a major role.) Universal abandoned horror films in 1936, but the success of this sequel single-handedly revived the genre. Though lacking the gothic splendor and macabre humor of James Whale's originals, Rowland V. Lee's handsome production remains an intelligent, well-made classic of the genre and Universal's last great horror film. Lugosi returns as Ygor in The Ghost of Frankenstein.--Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Classic horror featuring Boris Karloff in his final appearance as Frankenstein's Monster. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) is the son of Dr Victor Frankenstein, the Monster's creator. When Wolf moves his family to an estate in a small village, the people in the community become very hostile towards him. With the help of a demented blacksmith, Ygor (Bela Lugosi), Wolf finds the Monster's carcass and decides to bring it back to life, believing this to be the perfect way to restore his family's honour.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My personal favourite of all the Universal horror movies, 1939's Son of Frankenstein was the last of the classic trio starring Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster, and marked the high point of the Universal horror cycle; with an all-star cast and a satisfying, fast-moving storyline, this lavish A-picture still stands up well today.
After fleshing out the character in Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Karloff now returns the Monster to the status of a mute brute and a more obviously straightforward villain, though his friendship with Bela Lugosi's broken-necked Ygor is still quite touching; and speaking of Lugosi, he gives the performance of his life here, losing the oily hair and hammy gestures of his melodramatic Count Dracula to play a toothy, grotesque grave-robber with real relish. Basil Rathbone's wired paranoia makes him a worthy successor to Colin Clive as the scientist, and Lionel Atwill enjoys his greatest role (famously spoofed in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein) as the one-armed Inspector Krogh.
With its grand, expressionistic sets and doom-laden atmosphere, Son of Frankenstein is for me the definitive horror film of the period, using the era's most famous stars to great effect in a production worthy of their talents. Unlike James Whale's two Frankenstein films, there are no duff notes in the performances, with the one possible exception of Donnie Dunagan, the small boy who plays Frankenstein's son. He drops a couple of lines and his comic timing is terrible, however, as he is visibly about four years old this is easily forgiven.
After this movie Karloff decided that he had done all he could with the Monster, and it was time to leave the part behind; however, Universal had no intention of giving up on such a profitable formula and continued to churn out more ever-more contrived sequels with a variety of stiffs replacing him in the role.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Karloff 2 Mar 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While this film never received the critical acclaim of "Bride of" I have always rated it better. It may not have the imagery, symbolism or black humour of the former but as a horror film it succeeds far better.
Rathbone gives gravitas to the role of Wolf the titular son striking a subtle balance of mania and scientific knowledge. Lugosi is brilliant as Ygor, yes it is his finest role surpassing the vampire count. Atwill's police inspector may represent law and order but the underlying menace of his performance reminds us constantly of the many villians which Lionel played.
Karloff is superb despite his lack of script. Once again he evokes fear and also sympathy by a wonderfully balanced performance.
This is universal horror at its' best, chilling, believable performances. Gloomy, foggy and futuristic sets, and a rattling plot which never loses pace.
All in all wonderfully represenative of the genre as a whole but a film capable of standing on its' own merits as you don't need to have seen the prequels to enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the prodigal son of Frankenstein 23 Oct 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The opening scene when Wolf (Rathbone) arrives in Frankenstein, the village named after his infamous father, is quite atmospheric, as the train negotioates a petrified, gnarled landscape. And Lugosi's performance as Ygor is inspired though predictably hammy. Lionel Atwill delivers a memorable and believable performance as Inpector Krogh (lampooned affectionately in Young Frankenstein). But that's about all to commend this film. I love Rathbone in his Sherlock Holmes role, but I'm afraid I think his performance here is well over the top. Some scenes make me cringe in fact.He later castigated this film as a 'penny dreadful' but I'm afraid he's more than a few quid dreadful here.
Karloff's monster is now reduced to a speechless dummy wearing a grubby fleece, denuded of any emotional expression. He does, however give the film its only moment of pathos, in the scene where he discovers Ygor's body. My last complaint is 'little' Donnie Dunagan, who sounds like Arnold out of Diffr'ent Strokes, talking infant jive in a crummy, shrill American accent. Talk about anachronism or miscasting.
The 'expressionist' set is certainly striking but scarcely believable. My final point is to speculate- how much better would this film have been if Peter Lorre, the original choice to play Wolf, had played the part instead of Rathbone?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In it's day, Son of Frankenstein must have been an epic film. Running at 1hr 40 mins in length- compare this with most Universal horrors of that time, that would just scrape over the hour running time. And this the third installment does not disappoint.

Basil Rathbone plays Frankensteins son, and Boris Karloff returns as the monster. I feel the stand out performance though is Bela Lugosi who steals the show as the slightly mad Ygor.

Much credit should also go to Lionel Atwill- and the sets of the house set the horror standard for decades to come.
I would go as far as to say that this released in 1939 is groundbreaking stuff.

A true horror classic that features some wonderful almost scenes of dry humour.
An essential purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I agree with Lazydrake. 20 Feb 2013
By Dodwell
Not a bad entry in the series but, if it had never been made, it wouldn't have been missed - if that makes sense (?)
For me, the biggest annoyance in the whole debacle, is Donnie Dunnigan and his lines, such as "Ahm king of the mount-un".

Pretty dire all round.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
While Son of Frankenstein was the last `A film' for a Universal Horror it's sadly worse than a lot of their B movie films about Mary Shelley's crazed scientist. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST of the sequels!!
As a third installment goes this is brilliant.Basil Rathbone as the son of Frankenstein,angry villagers,hunch backs,great atmosphere and a well round good budgeted continuation of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Malcolm McDonald
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but no classic
This was the third in the Universal Frankenstein films and the last appearance of Boris Karloff as the Monster. Read more
Published 5 months ago by FJY
4.0 out of 5 stars Son of Frankenstein
A castle bathed in shadows situated over a sulphur pit, a laboratory in ruins, an increasingly demented scientist forever in his father's shadow, a one-armed police inspector, a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by P.D.Nash
4.0 out of 5 stars Karloff, Lugosi, Rathbone, Atwill team-up frenzy!
Despite the title this film really belongs to Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill. Lugosi as Ygor dominates proceedings - a wonderful star turn in all but billing. Read more
Published 12 months ago by stuart gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Viewing
This was a great film, the best of the frankenstein collection, although its a very old film it wa very gripping
Published 15 months ago by Mrs Gillian Cotton
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Brilliance Of The Universal Monster Movies!
What can I say about "The Son Of Frankenstein", what superlative can I use that has not already been recalled? Not many. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Sharon Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars Thickly sliced ham
For me, this is one of the most entertaining horror films of all time. It has an almost frenzied and farcical movement to it that is mainly
due to Basil Rathbone's near... Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by keith
4.0 out of 5 stars Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
Son Of Frankenstein, directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Basil Rathbone as Baron Frankenstein, Boris Karloff as The Monster {his last turn as the creature}, Lionel Atwill as... Read more
Published on 23 May 2011 by Spike Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant stuff
For me this is the best of the three 'proper',i.e. Karloff Frankenstein films. It has stood the test of time and even has a good story line. Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2011 by paulus
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