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Classic Horror with the great Bela Lugosi,
This review is from: Bela Lugosi Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)After giving us all their famous monsters from the golden age of cinema in the so-called “Legacy Collections” Universal studios thinks of one of the greatest horror stars of the early thirties and presents “Bela Lugosi, The Franchise Collection” where they praise him as “ an master of evil”, an actor, “whose range knew no boundaries” and whose “legend will live on forever”.
This is kind of funny because Lugosi, who was a star after “Dracula” became more and more a supporting actor, sometimes almost a bit player for the major studios, he worked very often for independent filmmakers in little horror flicks. (leading to the (in) famous collaboration with Edward D. Wood Jr.) and in the end he had to take every role he was offered. See for yourselves; he has five (!!) lines in “The Wolf man” with Lon Chaney, he was already 61 years old when Universal decided that he should put on the heavy costume of the Frankenstein monster in “Frankenstein meets the Wolf man” and when “Abbot and Costello meets Frankenstein” was shot in 1948 he was not originally considered to play Dracula because the studio thought he was already dead (!!)
Nevertheless Universal gives us now a collection of these five films (four of them absolutely amazing and one is not really a Lugosifilm.)
MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)
THE BLACK CAT (1934)
THE RAVEN (1935)
THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)
BLACK FRIDAY (1940)
Lugosi is (next to the guy in the ape costume) the main attraction in the dark and moody “Murders …”, which is a very well photographed and extremely entertaining version of the short story by Edgar Allen Poe.
In all the other films he is teamed up with Boris Karloff, which is of course great. But with the years passing by you can see Belas roles become smaller and smaller. The two are equal rivals in “The raven” and “The black cat” (although Karloff always got the more colourful and fatter role), in the amazing “The invisible ray” Lugosi already plays second fiddle to the flamboyant main character Dr. Rukh played by Karloff and in “Black Sunday”(which is actually a nice little thriller) he is totally miscast as the bad gangster boss and has already very little screen time.
This DVD is well worth the money. The first four films are just adorable, good old spook stories with thunderstorms, chilling music, great sets and cool characters.
Check out this scene from my favourite movie on this disc “The black Cat”; Bela Lugosi as an Hungarian doctor, seeking revenge on the man who betrayed him and his unit during the first world war and therefore was responsible for his spending 15 years in a Russian prison camp plays chess with his nemesis in form of the evil Boris Karloff, playing an Austrian architect and Satanist who celebrates black masses in his great art deco house deep in the Carpathian mountains, for the life of a young woman. Wow!
Great DVD for lovers of Universals classical horror films and of course a must have for fans of the great Bela Lugosi whose “legend will live on forever …”