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Do you expect us to believe this childish rubbish, sir?,
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This review is from: Frankenstein Created Woman [DVD]  (DVD)
A decade on from their groundbreaking The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and its masterful sequel The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing renewed their collaboration on Hammer's greatest horror franchise with the macabre Frankenstein Created Woman, a reasonable return to form for the series after the decidedly weaker Cushing / Freddie Francis effort The Evil of Frankenstein (1964). Now reduced to penury after his repeated hounding and exile in previous films, Baron Victor Frankenstein lives quietly in a little European village, arousing the suspicion of the locals, but curiously, not their persecution. When his young assistant is executed for a crime he didn't commit, the boy's crippled girlfriend drowns herself with grief, at which point Victor decides to transplant not the brain, but the soul of his assistant into the girl's reconstructed body...
Frankenstein Created Woman is now regarded by many critics as one of the best Hammer films, though in all honesty it has always left me rather cold. Presumably supposed to follow on from the previous Francis-directed entry in terms of continuity, it has Cushing's Baron on more confident and sardonic form than it that film, a complex, cold-hearted, yet curiously sympathetic outcast; however, he is still considerably more flaky and detached than he was in Fisher's first two movies (and a far cry from the bad-to-the-bone bastard he'd become in 1969's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed). Though fresh ideas (soul rather than brain transplants, and obviously the female 'creation') help to shake up the by-now-familiar plot, the film is curiously devoid of action, save the three climactic murders, and it leaves the viewer feeling as though the potential in its premise has largely gone to waste. It is also obviously one of Hammer's more modestly-budgeted chillers, with the settings mainly limited to just Frankenstein's workshop, a solitary inn, and a handful of exteriors, though the movie is aided by its performances; Cushing is typically fine, whilst Thorley Walters gives a more serious and muted turn than usual, and the gorgeous Susan Denberg, despite being dubbed, makes a strong female lead (a rarity for a Hammer film from this period). Once again though, it seems that Hammer films are suffering in the struggle for release as respectable DVDs; not only is this latest Studio Canal release just as free of extras as the previous Warner effort, it seems those who designed the sleeve can't even get the name of the film right; it's Frankenstein Created WOMAN, not WOMEN.