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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The full moon rises and you can hear the howl of a wolf...
"Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms. And the autumn moon is bright."
The 1941 version of "The Wolf Man" is one of the most important Universal monster movies that is a classic even if it is not a great film. That is because pretty much the entire mythology of werewolves, from the transformation...
Published on 1 Mar 2005 by Amazon Customer

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok ish....................
this film is a really old black and white one,,,its a bit lame to be honest but worth a watch if your bored..............
Published 2 months ago by robbo


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The full moon rises and you can hear the howl of a wolf..., 1 Mar 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wolf Man [DVD] (DVD)
"Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms. And the autumn moon is bright."
The 1941 version of "The Wolf Man" is one of the most important Universal monster movies that is a classic even if it is not a great film. That is because pretty much the entire mythology of werewolves, from the transformation beneath the full moon and the silver bullets to the appearance of a pentagram that marks the next victim of the werewolf, comes from this film. Consequently, screenwriter Curt Siodmak did for werewolves what Bram Stoker did for vampires, also working to take established folklore and then add a few creative twists.
The story of "The Wolf Man" should be well-known even to those who have yet to see the film. Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.), returns to his ancestral home in Wales following the death of his older brother. One night poor Larry is bitten by a wolf during an attack and he soon learns he has inherited the curse of lycanthrope from the gypsy werewolf (Bela Lugosi). Now, whenever the full moonrise, he goes out looking for some throats to rip out. What chance does he now have with the beautiful Gwen (Evelyn Ankers), and whatever will he tell his father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Reins?).
"The Wolf Man" is Lon Chaney, Jr.'s signature role mainly because it is one of the few movie monster roles that he originated (although the part was originally intended by Boris Karloff). Chaney was the original and only Larry Talbot, which is rather surprising given how often Universal played musical actors with the guys behind the monster makeup, which, once again, is by Jack Pierce. The film is more atmospheric than bloody, with lots of mist hugging the ground in the dark forest, which reflects both the sensibilities of the time and limitations placed on the genre by the production code. You also have Ralph Bellamy and veteran character actress Maria Ouspenskaya in the supporting cast adding weight to the story and make up for the fact you never really can buy that Reins and Chaney are father and son.
Ultimately, "The Wolf Man" is a monster movie that plays like a Greek tragedy with the monster being as much of an innocent victim as any of the werewolf's prey. Universal's classic version of "Frankenstein" was changed so much from Mary Shelley's novel that it lost the most tragic aspects of that particular story, leaving "The Wolf Man" to claim that particular title. It is that tragic element that you can find in all of the better werewolf movies that have followed this one, from "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" and "An American Werewolf in London" to "The Howling" and "Wolf."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Star, 7 Jun 2010
By 
David J. Delancie (Croydon, Surrey. UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wolf Man (1941) [DVD] (DVD)
The Amazon preamble for THE WOLFMAN (1941) Misses out the lead Man's name Lon Chaney Jnr a veteran of 40 years whose career spnaned year 1931 to 1973.

The film is an excellent example of Universals skill at putting together a great Team ably supported by great Make up Artists like Bud Westmore and Jack Pierce

Lon Chaney jnr was haunted by this performance for the rest of his life playing the Wolfman in three sequels plus a number of comedy horrors like Abbot & Costello's vehicle fims.

Chaney took over the role of the Mummy from Karloff and also played the Frankenstien Monster as well as Dracula. During the 50's he played Chinghachgook opposite Fess Parker's Hawkeye in a TV series based J Finnemore Coopers The Last of the Mohicans.

Lon Chaney jnr was the eldest son of actors and make-up genius Lon Chaney (Died 1930) real Name Crieghton Chaney he was persauded to adopt his fathers name for film and stage performances. Hisd last Film was Dracula Verses Frankenstien (1971) CHaney died from cancer in 1973, he has no known grave as his body was donated to medical research.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wolfbane and silver, 24 Mar 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wolf Man (1941) [DVD] (DVD)
"Even a man who is pure in heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf/When the wolfbane blooms/And the autumn moon is bright..."

Sure, Dracula gave a face and a mythology to the vampire in the 1800s, but the werewolf didn't get similar treatment for quite some time. It was only with "The Wolfman" that the werewolf got his due, creating the template for lycanthropes everywhere -- a haunting, atmospheric story about a mildly creepy man who (through no fault of his own) turns into an unholy mixture of man and beast.

Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) returns to his ancestral Welsh home after many years away, to reconcile with his estranged dad who looks nothing like him (Claude Rains). He immediately starts acquainting himself with his old home, including being rather creepy towards a lovely woman named Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers), who is working at her dad's antique store. He even accompanies Gwen and her friend Jenny to a local gypsy camp to have their fortunes told.

But after having her fortune told, Jenny is horribly killed by a wolf; Larry beats it to death with his silver-topped cane, but not before being bitten. You can probably guess what happens next -- the wolf turns out to be the gypsy fortuneteller (Bela Lugosi), and Larry's bite mysteriously heals overnight. And after being warned by an aged gypsy woman (Maria Ouspenskaya) that he has now contracted the curse of the werewolf, Larry finds himself undergoing a terrible transformation at night... and killing.

It's a sign of how good "The Wolfman" is that its dated special effects (hello, lap dissolve!) and prosthetics don't hamper it as a story -- it's an intelligent, slowly-unfolding story about an ordinary man whose good deed backfires in a big way. It's also less "boo! Scary!" horror than psychological horror -- Larry is left wondering if the dead gypsy passed on his horrific curse, or if all the talk of werewolves has given him clinical lycanthropy. In other words -- is he cursed, or is he insane? Not a fun choice.

And George Waggner wraps the movie in suitable atmosphere -- lots of misty forests, quaint rural villages, shadowy chapels and the occasional outbursts of shrieking and offscreen violence. The beginning is a little awkward (enough canned father-son "reunion" conversations!) but kicks into gear when the characters go wandering off to see the gypsies -- and after that, it's a slow bloody build as all the scientifically impossible things come true, and Larry finds himself increasingly trapped.

And while some of the werewolf stuff (including the famous rhyme) was made up for the movie, it adds a note of mythological creepiness, as well as some lovely incantations ("The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own...").

And Lon Chaney Jr. did an excellent job bringing a sympathetic edge to the werewolf, turning convincingly from a jovial engineer/aristocrat to a man haunted by his horrific change. The one problem: he isn't very sympathetic at the beginning, since he basically stalks Gwen (looking in her window with a telescope?) and won't get lost when she tells him to. Ankers gives a good performance as a local love interest, and Ouspenskaya gives a spectacular performance as the old gypsy lady -- eerie, sympathetic to Larry's plight, and with a dry sense of humor.

Despite a slightly creepy lead character, "The Wolfman" is still an enduring classic -- it's no longer exactly scary, but it is deliciously spooky. Definitely a must-see.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of Universal's most tragic monster character, 29 May 2004
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wolf Man [DVD] (DVD)
Among the pantheon of classic Universal monsters, only Dracula and Frankenstein's monster stand taller than The Wolf Man. This 1941 classic starring Lon Chaney, Jr., is a must-see for anyone claiming any interest in horror movies. The film has exerted a huge influence on the art of bringing horror to life for over six decades now, thanks to the heralded make-up prowess of Jack Pierce, the tight and powerful script of Curt Siodmak, some impressive photography work, and wonderful performances from a truly stellar cast of actors and actresses.
There is just something different about The Wolf Man; I have a hard time viewing him as a monster Larry Talbot is a thoroughly sympathetic and tragic character. Dracula loves being a vampire, Frankenstein's monster is just an unfortunate victim of circumstance whose various body parts have already lived full lives, but Larry Talbot desperately hates the monster he has become. He's already a sympathetic character, coming home after eighteen years following the death of his older brother, trying to fit in among the folks he said goodbye to long ago. Then, when he hears a fateful howl accompanied by a scream, he races off in heroic fashion, taking on a wolf in order to try and save a woman's life, killing the doggoned creature. And what does he get for his noble, self-less act? First of all, suspicion, because instead of the wolf he described, the authorities find the body of a gypsy fortune teller (played by Bela Lugosi, who gets all of seven lines in the film) clubbed to death by Talbot's cane. Then, tragically, he finds himself inflicted with the curse of the werewolf, thanks to the bite he suffered in the struggle. Chaney's performance also adds to his tragic status. He had a style of acting all his own; at times, I watch him and think the guy just couldn't act his way out of a dark room with a flashlight, but his strange and slightly awkward manner, tempered by a sort of gentle slowness ends up leaving me mesmerized. In most horror movies, I'm always ready to bring the monster on and get the party started, but I never look forwarding to watching Talbot turn into the werewolf.
I think everyone is pretty well acquainted with the story here. Man gets bitten by werewolf, man turns into werewolf, man suffers a tragic fate. The Wolf Man, though, succeeds in becoming much more than just the simple tale of a hairy monster. The inimitable Claude Rains lends the film character and class as Talbot's father. The lovely Evelyn Ankers makes a great leading lady in the form of Gwen Conliffe. Lugosi is of course terrific as the gypsy Bela, but the role is a minor one indeed. Maria Ouspenskaya is masterful as the gypsy woman Maleva who tries to warn Talbot and help him deal with the curse that suddenly consumes his life. Siodmak really provided a tight plot; there would be a number of sequels, but The Wolf Man is a completely self-contained movie of great power and meaning.
There are a number of really interesting things about this movie. For instance, we never actually see Talbot's transformation from man to wolf - we see the legs change, but that is it. There is a scene toward the end where we witness the transformation from wolf to man, but you won't see any time-lapse treatment of the change from man to monster. Of much more interest to me is the fact that you don't hear a single reference to the moon in the entire film. Apparently, the transformation happens nightly to Talbot; there is nothing to indicate that a full moon plays any part at all. Thus, some of the core Wolf Man assumptions do not trace themselves back to the original movie.
The commentary by film historian Tom Weaver, included on the DVD, is just superb. It's one of the most engaging commentaries I've heard. This guy is loaded to the gills with facts and trivia, and he barely pauses over the course of the film's 70 minutes, delivering one gem after another. He also asks some of the questions I ask when I watch the movie, and I love that. This isn't a commentary by some stuffy "expert." Weaver is indeed an expert, but at the same time he is one of us, a true fan of classic horror movies.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The overlooked genre classic, 12 Aug 2001
Lon Chaney Jr. gives a career best performance as the tragic Lawrence Talbot. Claude Raines and Bela Lugosi provide sterling Support in this brooding tale. The mood of the film grows gradually darker as Talbot's scepticism gives way to the realisation that he is cursed as a werewolf and that his next victim will be the woman he loves. Featuring ground-breaking make-up and wonderfully brooding sets this is an often overlooked classic that easily ranks alongside 'Dracula, and 'Frankenstein' as Universals best.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite 'Must Buy'!, 4 April 2003
By 
Karl (England, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wolf Man [DVD] (DVD)
Considering that "The Wolf Man" was made long before the days of the "Making of" trend, Universal have produced an excellent set of DVDs in their "Classic Monsters" collection that mean that even if you already have these films on tape it's well worth replacing them with the DVD versions.
As a previous reviewer remarked, although "The Werewolf of London" came out a few years before "The Wolf Man", it is the later film which has become THE classic, not least because of the innovativeness of the film's writer, Curt Siodmak, who made up a great deal of what is now taken to be age old werewolf mythology.
So the film itself is great, and has been well detailed by previous reviewers. What makes this such an attractive package is the extras, and I don't mean the people standing around in the background not saying anything.
There's a full length documentary "Monster by Moonlight" that places this film in context with other films of its kind - through to "Abbott & Costello Meet the Wolf Man" - and with the golden age of Universal horror films in general.
And there's "The Wolf Man Archives" - a host of original stills and adverts - PLUS the theatrical trailer.
Not enough? Then how about the heart of the "extras" - the full length "Feature Commentary" by Tom Weaver.
This is a solid gold narrative covering production details, backgrounds on the story and the actors, lost out-takes - just a wealth of information that makes the film even more interesting to watch than it was before.
No matter how many times you've seen the film in the past, no matter if you already have the video, if this is the kind of film you like, you'll enjoy this DVD package even more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly Atmospheric!!, 1 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Wolf Man [DVD] (DVD)
I love this film. The story line, the atmosphere and of course Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney portrays this tortured man perfectly. Somehow, I thought he had starred in a lot more of these films. I seem to remember watching him in quite a few films of this type when I was younger but I guess my memory has deceived me. I have just seen a trailer for the Wolfman remake which will be released in February 2010. Rick Baker is creating the werewolf. He also worked on 'An American Werewolf in London'. The trailer looks pretty good. It will be interesting to see what they do with the story and how the main character is portrayed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Wolf Man [DVD] (DVD)
My son loves horror movies great that we were able to show him some classics from the early days. Thank you
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Blu-Ray version, 7 Mar 2014
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sebquest (Cumbria, England.) - See all my reviews
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Wonderful film and it's transferred very well to Blu-ray. It is nice to see a classic available in this format.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wolf man, 12 Feb 2014
By 
T. Cosens (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wolf Man (1941) [DVD] (DVD)
The original and still best incarnation of the man bitten by a wolf and cursed. The transformation from man to beast is well realised and the setting is suitably spooky.

Lon Chaney is great and embodies both man and best perfectly. His suave human form brutally gives why to his beast form is style and provides some very tense moments.

Not my favourite of the monster movies but certianly a strong addition. Well worth a watch.
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The Wolf Man [DVD]
The Wolf Man [DVD] by George Waggner (DVD - 2002)
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