The Wolf Man

( 7 )

Overview

"Even a man who is pure at heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms/And the moon is full and bright." Upon first hearing these words, Larry Talbot Lon Chaney dismisses them as childish folderol. After all, this is the 20th Century; how can a human being turn into a werewolf? Talbot soon learns how when he attempts to rescue Jenny Williams Fay Helm from a nocturnal attack by a wolf. Collapsing, Talbot discovers upon reviving that Jenny is dead-and, lying by her side, is not the body of a beast, but of a gypsy ...
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Overview

"Even a man who is pure at heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms/And the moon is full and bright." Upon first hearing these words, Larry Talbot Lon Chaney dismisses them as childish folderol. After all, this is the 20th Century; how can a human being turn into a werewolf? Talbot soon learns how when he attempts to rescue Jenny Williams Fay Helm from a nocturnal attack by a wolf. Collapsing, Talbot discovers upon reviving that Jenny is dead-and, lying by her side, is not the body of a beast, but of a gypsy named Bela Bela Lugosi. The son of fortune teller Maleva Maria Ouspenskaya, Bela was a lycanthrope, or "wolf man." And now that he has been bitten by Bela, Talbot is cursed to suffer the torments of the damned whenever the moon is full. Arguably the best of the "original" Universal horrors original in the sense that it was not based on an existing literary property, a la Frankenstein, Dracula and The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man boasts one of the most stellar casts ever to grace a "B" picture: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy, Warren William, Patric Knowles, Maria Ouspenskaya and Bela Lugosi. The man-to-wolf transformation sequences -- one of which took a full 24 hours to film -- are thoroughly convincing, thanks to the cosmetic genius of Jack P. Pierce Chaney had wanted to emulate his father by developing his own werewolf makeup, but existing union rules would not permit this. Alas, after this powerhouse opening volley, the Wolf Man character was relegated to a series of cheap sequels, teaming him with other Universal shock stars: Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman 1943, House of Frankenstein 1944 and House of Dracula 1945. The final ignominy was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1945, in which Lawrence Talbot Chaney again, having been cured of lycanthropy in House of Dracula, reverts to his werewolf status -- and has to endure the one-liners of Lou Costello to boot!
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Special Features

Monster by moonlight; The Wolf Man: From ancient curse to modern myth; Pure in Heart: The life and legacy of Lon Chaney Jr.; He Who Made Monsters: The life and art of Jack Pierce; The Wolf Man archives; Feature Commentary by film historian Tom Weaver; Trailer gallery; 100 years of Universal: The Lot
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
The Wolf Man may no longer have the ability to frighten even the faint of heart but it remains a literate and quite adult fairy tale of love, lust and redemption, and with the story of the return of the prodigal son thrown in for good measure. And while George Waggner may not have been the most visually exciting of directors, the powers-at-be at Universal made the good choice of filming nearly the entire story on an eerily fog-bound sound stage, thus creating a strangely enticing and claustrophobic realm for their lycanthrope to roam. The sets compliment The Wolf Man's cast of characters, who may pretend to be British, or foreigners living in Britain, but are really the same villagers and bureaucrats that earlier occupied the mittel-European forests and mountains of Dracula and Frankenstein. While Universal far from overextended themselves with production values, the studio cast no less than six present or former leading men, an odd situation that goes a long way in explaining why leading lady Evelyn Ankers was forced to accept seventh billing. Lon Chaney, meanwhile, creates his one truly memorable horror character in Larry Talbot by adding a great dose of his Lennie of Of Mice and Men (1939) to Jack Pierce's standard Universal creature makeup.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/17/2013
  • UPC: 025192178252
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:10:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 21,272

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman/Larry Talbot
Claude Rains Sir John Talbot
Warren William Dr. Lloyd
Evelyn Ankers Gwen Conliffe
Ralph Bellamy Capt. Paul Montford
Bela Lugosi Bela
Patric Knowles Frank Andrews
Maria Ouspenskaya Maleva
J.M. Kerrigan Charles Conliffe
Fay Helm Jenny Williams
Forrester Harvey Victor Twiddle
Ottola Nesmith Mrs. Bally
Harry Stubbs Reverend Norman
Tom Stevenson Richardson, the Graveyard Digger
Eddie Polo Churchgoer
Ernie Stanton Phillips
Martha Vickers
Eric Wilton Chauffeur
Harry Cording Wykes
Margaret Fealy Woman
Caroline Cooke Woman
Jessie Arnold Gypsy Woman
Doris Lloyd Mrs. Williams
Kurt Katch Gypsy with Bear
Connie Leon Mrs. Wykes
Gibson Gowland Villager
Olaf Hytten Villager
Leyland Hodgson Kendall
Technical Credits
George Waggner Director, Associate Producer, Producer
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Vernon Keays Asst. Director
Ted Kent Editor
Jack Otterson Art Director
Jack P. Pierce Makeup
Charles Previn Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Hans Salter Score Composer
Curt Siodmak Screenwriter
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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