The Wolf Man/Werewolf Of London [DVD]
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Double bill of werewolf horror. In 'The Wolf Man' (1941), Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) returns from college in America to his father's (Claude Rains) mansion in Wales. After meeting Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers) in the local village, he escorts her to the local fair. She tells him the local legend of the werewolf, but he laughs it off - even when gypsy fortune teller Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) and her son Bela (Bela Lugosi) also tell him to beware. Later in the evening Gwen's friend Jenny is attacked by a wild wolf. Larry rescues her, but is bitten in the process. Sure enough, when the next full moon comes round, Larry finds himself transformed into the wolfman - a murderous creature that can only be destroyed by silver. In 'Werewolf of London' (1935), Dr Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is attacked on a dark night by a strange animal while abroad on a botanical expedition. On his return to London, he realises that he himself has become a werewolf, turning into a crazed beast at every full moon. His only hope of a cure is a rare flower that can only be found in Asia.
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The Wolf Man seems a superior film from the start. Its set in some never never land-a world populated by English lords, travelling carnivals, gypsies and...Bela Lugosi. The acting is good as well as the film reproduction. Both films are just over an
hour long-so theres no fat.
I won't spoil the rest of the story, suffice to say that the overall feel of this film has much more in common with Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, than it does with the later Wolf Man films. Hull doesn't play the character for sympathy as Lon Chaney does, but rather he's seen wrestling with the inner demons that drive him to murder. Highly recommended.
The other film of the package is of course the Wolf Man. Lon Chaney, to my mind, never really convinces as an actor. He plays the role a bit on the hammy side for my tastes. Although there's no denying that the look of the film is fabulous. Lots of dark twisted forests with mist licking round the feet, or paws, of the characters as they flee for their lives.
Anyone with a love for gothic horror will love to own these two films.
Fangtastic!! (hoho, how could I resist!!)
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