Now this one is a complete curio: the only attempt at television from Hammer in the 1950s (the company would be much more successful with "Journey to the Unkwnown" one decade later). The 26-minute pilot episode from a proposed series called "Tales of Frankenstein", in partnership with Columbia, did not go any further than this episode. In a way, this is too bad since this short film is much less bad than both the commentary or Michael Carreras's interview would let you believe. To be sure, the Black and White is much more reminiscent of the old Universal horror pictures than the modern Hammer gothic horrors, but it has its merits: Anton Diffring as the mad Baron to start with, a really good actor who would star in Hammer's "The Man who could cheat death" in 1959 and the beautiful Helen Westcott, who does not shame Hazel Court or Valerie Gaunt. The make-up of the monster, very Karloff-like, is also successful and I must also say that Curt Siodmak (as director and writer of the story) does not deserve the flack he has been given over the years...Overall, it is a proper pilot, and I guess his burial has much more to do with the willingness of Hammer to have more of the series filmed in England, than with the quality of the product itself. The rest of the DVD consists in a huge magnitude of film trailers featuring the mad baron and his monsters in any sort of guise, some short interviews (Cushing, Carreras) and two radio career interviews of Karloff (very successful) and Glenn Strange (somewhat boring, it seems everyone is slightly drunk after lunch when this is taped). In other words, a DVD for Hammer completists only but that goes some way to restore the reputation of this "lost" pilot.
this is a curious package,the main event only lasts 25mins and the rest of the disc mainly consists of trailers and short interviews which lasts about 90mins.There is also two longer audio interviews with boris karloff and glenn strange ,who both played the monster in movies.The main tales of frankenstein was a sort of mixture between universal and hammer styles and was intended as a pilot for a series,which of course was not picked up.I am a fan of both styles of horror and have many dvds of both but i was disappointed with this effort but it may be to others liking.It is a nice dvd to have if you are a collector but as i say the dvd is mainly trailers.The main feature also has a commentary.
This interesting DVD gives us a collection of trailers for various Frankenstein movies (some of them good, some of them bad and, yes, some of them just downright ugly) as well as interviews (some of which are very brief) with Peter Cushing, who has played The Baron, Glenn Strange, who has played The Creature, Boris Karloff, who has played The Creature AND The Baron, and Hammer producer and director Michael Carreras.
The star attraction here though is the pilot episode of a proposed, then aborted, television series called (you've guessed it) Tales Of Frankenstein which was actually a collaboration between Universal and Hammer Studios. Ironically, just a couple of years earlier, Universal were planning possible legal action against Hammer if The Curse Of Frankenstein copied certain elements from Universal's 1931 film version of Frankenstein!
This pilot episode features a de-mobbed (he usually played Nazi officers) Anton Diffring as the obsessed Baron who likes to rob graves and then stick together all the various body parts he has collected. It's a pity really that plans for further episodes were scapped because the pilot isn't all that bad and does contain one or two atmospheric scenes and it would have been interesting to see some more episodes.
It goes without saying that this DVD will appeal to Frankenstein fans and Universal/Hammer horror completists but I think The Baron did not really know what he was doing because when he put together his first creature he put its nuts in its neck!