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The Ghost Of Frankenstein [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill
  • Directors: Erle C. Kenton
  • Producers: George Waggner
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • 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: 5 May 2008
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016586VS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,192 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Sequel to 'Son of Frankenstein' (1939). Wicked shepherd Ygor (Bela Lugosi) seeks out Dr Ludwig Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke), son of the original Baron, in an attempt to revive the infamous monster (Lon Chaney Jr, inheriting the role from Boris Karloff). Ludwig initially refuses, seeing the creature as an instrument of evil, but changes his mind when he sees the opportunity to transplant the noble mind of the recently deceased Dr Kettering into the monster's body. Ygor, however, has other plans, and plots with Victor's unscrupulous colleague Dr Bohmer to substitute his own brain for Kettering's. Followed by 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' (1943).

From Amazon.co.uk

The monster lives! Again! Picking up where Son of Frankenstein left off, Bela Lugosi's gnarled Ygor survives yet another rampage by angry, torch-carrying villagers and frees the monster (The Wolf Man himself, Lon Chaney Jr., taking over from Boris Karloff) from his sulfur grave. The latest cinematic Frankenstein scion, brain surgeon Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke), wants to dissect the creature, but the ghost of his father convinces him to save it by giving it a new, "good" brain. Ygor has his own devious plan and enlists Ludwig's shady assistant (Lionel Atwill) in a brain-switching scheme.

Ably directed by the pedestrian Erle C. Kenton, The Ghost of Frankenstein gives up the gothic mood and moral quandaries of the original films for the busy, action-packed plots that defined Universal horror films of the 1940s. The human characters are all rather dull (except for Lugosi's animated, eye-rolling performance), and Chaney has none of Karloff's pathos or subtlety under the make-up, but the film opens with a spectacular bang as the villagers dynamite the castle, and skips from one inspired scene to another. The monster rejuvenates himself during an electrical storm with a jolt of lightning, mutely undergoes a courtroom cross-examination (by a ridiculously intent Ralph Bellamy), and finally goes on a blind rampage in the fiery climax. Frankenstein's monster returns (this time with Lugosi as the creature) in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Following on from the "Son of Frankenstein" this black and white epic has all the humour and cheesy horror you would expect from the classic film era. With Lon Chaney Jr. as the monster and Bela Lugosi as the good doctor's twisted assistant, Ygor, you have two of the heavyweights from the genre giving typical over the top performances. Okay the old script isn't fantastic by todays special effect laiden standards but that doesn't matter, I loved it when the creature goes on the rampage at a straight-legged 1mph - so runaway... you know you'll be safe!
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After discovering the weakened Monster (Lon Chaney) encased in the sulphur into which he plunged at the end of 1939's Son of Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi's Ygor (shot dead in the previous film but now unaccountably alive and well again) sets off to find a second son of the original Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke), this one a pioneering brain surgeon in a nearby town...
A film I dislike more for what it's not than what it is, The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) marks the point at which Universal's Frankenstein series, and the studio's horror cycle overall, started to dip irreversibly in quality. Unlike the three previous, Boris Karloff-starring epics in the Frankenstein saga, this fourth effort, a B-movie through-and-through, has a production line feel from start to finish; Karloff had long before decided that all potential in the character of the Monster had been played out, and you can't really disagree with him when you sit through this programmer, which is seemingly assembled from various plot aspects of the earlier films and lacks a single truly original or striking feature.
The performances here range from adequate to rubbish. Promoted as Universal's new horror star following the success of The Wolf Man the previous year, the limited Chaney replaces Karloff in the part of the Monster and gives a performance that lacks any of his forerunner's skill, and whilst Lugosi encores as the broken-necked Ygor, it is to much less effect (he actually looks like he's had a wash and blow-dry).
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This is the 4th entry in the Univeral series on the creature, and easily the worst of the bunch.

The biggest problem is Lon Chaney, a great horror actor who hated inheriting the role that Karloff made famous - and it shows. Throughout the movie he scowls and shuffles, showing none of the sympathetic traits of the monster from the first three films.

Bela Lugosi returns as the broken-necked Ygor, but Ygor just seems like a silly Wino in this movie. For lovers of the genre only.
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Of course the problem with the Frankenstein sequels, of the Universal Studios kind, was that they had to follow the genre firework that was Frankenstein (1931) and the monolithic titan that followed that one in 1935, The Bride of Frankenstein. These are tough acts to follow; still are actually!

Son of Frankenstein (1939) managed very well, it had Basil Rathbone in it and Bela Lugosi giving great horror oomph as Ygor. Boris Karloff bowed out as the monster after that one, leaving an iconic legacy and an insistence that the monster didn't speak. The result of Karloff's (ahem) request has proved divisive amongst Frankenstein fans, does it need a voice for personality, or is it better off as a lumbering rage machine only? Point being that in this one, he gets a voice, courtesy of Lon Chaney Junior's stint in the role, and it's not exactly a success.

Ghost of Frankenstein represents the start of the decline of the franchise, a noticeable drop in quality across the board. It's like Universal caught the cash cow disease and decided that quantity and not quality was what mattered. They would eventually team up the bolted necked one with Abbott and Costello, with fun results, but the horror aspects began to wane here in 1942. Lugosi is on hand for some more Ygor mischief, Cedric Hardwicke and Lionel Atwill as scientists with opposite ideals are reassuring presences, while Evelyn Ankers is sexy and costumed with a great eye for detail.

At just 67 minutes in length the film thankfully doesn't have time to be boring, though action is in short supply, so hooray for castle destruction and fire unbound! While Woody Bredell and Milton R. Krasner, via their photographic lenses ensure Gothic atmosphere is consistently ripe. Right, it's time for Universal Monster Tag Teams next... 5/10
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Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and I have been going through a same process of upgrading to DVD for the last few years. This has given me the excuse to revisit many films that I have not seen for some time.

The film is on of the later (1942) Frankenstein movies from Universal and sadly does not have the same magic as the original trilogy. I first watched it in the early 1950's when staying with a chum during a mid-term break. His father had a tiny private movie theatre in one of the attics and we spent hours watching old 8mm and 16mm movies during a wet spring including old horror films which were still classified as X Rated in the cinemas and well out of the reach of 12 year old boys, that week started my love of old movies and firmly established me as a dedicated collector.

Sir Cedric Hardwicke stars as the younger son of Baron Frankenstein a doctor who owns a asylum for the mentally disturbed, where he is visited by Ygor, assistant to both his father and brother and the newly revived monster. Bela Lugosi is a malevolent Ygor and Lionel Atwill as the evil Dr.Bohmer. Boris Karloff had refused to perform the part of the monster for a fourth time and was replaced by Lon Chaney Jr who had to be threatened with being 'laid off' if he did not take on the role and his lack of enthusiasm is evident in his performance. Very much a lesser jewel in Universal horror crown but never-the-less well worth watching and an essential part of the collection if you are an enthusiast.
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