Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943)

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Released 17-May-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 73:17
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roy William Neill
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Lon Chaney Jr
Patic Knowles
Maria Ouspenskaya
Ilona Massey
Lionel Atwill
Bela Lugosi
Rex Evans


Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J Salter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† Four years after the events of The Wolf Man two grave robbers break into the mausoleum of the Talbot family at the time of a full moon and inadvertently release Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) from his coffin. Larry is later found passed out on the street with a head wound (the wound delivered by his father with a silver headed cane which caused his death in The Wolf Man) and taken to Queens Hospital in Cardiff where he is treated by Dr Frank Mannering (Patic Knowles). But as it is the time of the full moon Larry transforms into a werewolf and kills a policeman before returning to the hospital. Larry knows what he is and only wants to die; he tries to tell Dr Mannering and the police but they think he is at best deluded, at worse insane. So Larry escapes from the hospital and travels to the continent to find Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya), the gypsy woman who will understand and believe him, and possibly help him to die. When Larry finds Maleva she tells him that she cannot help him to die but promises to take him to someone who may be able to help; Baron Frankenstein.

†††† They journey to the village of Vasaria (from the costumes it looks to be in the German Alps) where Dr Frankenstein has his castle. However, from the innkeeper Vazec (Rex Evans) they learn that the Baron is dead and his castle on the hill burnt and in ruins. Unfortunately, it is again the time of the full moon and Talbot again transforms into a werewolf and kills a village girl. Hunted by the villagers he is chased into the ruins of Frankensteinís castle and falls into the basement. There, in the morning, Larry awakes and finds Frankensteinís Monster (Bela Lugosi) entombed in the ice. Larry frees the Monster, thinking that the Monster will know where Frankenstein kept his diary recording his experiments, but unfortunately they cannot find the diary in the ruins. However, Larry does learn that Frankenstein had a daughter, Elsa (Ilona Massey), who may have the diary and he contrives to meet her.

†††† Elsa does not have the diary either, but both Elsa and Larry are invited by the Mayor (Lionel Atwill) to attend the village festival that night. During the festival Dr Mannering arrives; he has followed Larryís trail of murders across the continent and wants to take him back to England. However the festivities are interrupted when the Monster lurches into the village; Larry and the Monster escape together to the castle ruins. Mannering and Elsa persuade the Mayor that they can kill the Monster and with Maleva are allowed to go to the castle ruins. There Mannering repairs Frankensteinís apparatus but rather than setting it to kill both Larry and the Monster he tries to repeat Frankensteinís experiment. Meanwhile Vazec has his own plan to cause the deaths of the Monsters leading to an explosive climax.

†††† Universal monsters did not stay dead for long; indeed Universal produced a succession of sequels and spin-offs to their classic monsters throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Some were excellent, such as The Bride of Frankenstein (1936), but many were lesser productions, cashing in on the earlier hits. In the case of The Wolf Man there were four additional Universal films, the first being Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, released two years after the original. While some sequels bear no connection with the original, such as The Mummy sequels, this is not the case with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man which, while different in tone and scope to the first film, is connected to the original and is an interesting, strong and good film in its own right.

†††† Some of the reason Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a decent sequel is that it retains a number of the same cast and crew as the first film. While Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man has a different director in Roy William Neill, he was a seasoned professional who started his career in 1917 and ended with 110 credits in the IMDb. However, the director of the first film George Waggner is the producer of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man while Curt Siodmak is the screenwriter for both films. Of course, the greatest continuity is again having Lon Chaney Jr in the title role while Maria Ouspenskaya also returns as Maleva and Patic Knowles is again in the cast, albeit in a different role.

†††† The biggest change between The Wolf Man and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is the scale and tone of the films. The Wolf Man was essentially an atmospheric psychological horror film, a small film that used only a handful of sets; most of the action occurs in a dark, misty forest with the climax involving only father and son. In contrast Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is far broader in scope; the sets, including the village and castle ruins, are far more elaborate, there are more extras in the crowd scenes and the film climaxes in an extended electrical experiment that culminates in a fight between the two monsters as the walls of the ruined castle crash down around them, a climax on a scale far beyond that of the first film.

†††† Indeed, there is not much that is subtle or mysterious about Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, which is more a standard monster picture than a psychological horror film. For example, while the full moon was not shown in the first film, in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man we get a full moon twice in the first five minutes, and frequently after that, while we see the first transformation of man into werewolf just over 10 minutes into the film. And of course we get a monster fight; indeed Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is the first Universal horror film in which more than one of the classic monsters appear, something which became almost standard afterwards.

†††† Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a better than average sequel. Indeed it is a strong film in its own right which does not attempt to redo or duplicate the original film, instead seeking its own tone while retaining enough of the first film, including its star, to be a recognisable Wolf Man film. The order of the names in the title is misleading on two counts; the Wolf Man is the focal point of the story so should be first and Frankenstein does not actually appear while Frankensteinís Monster does appear, but not until half way through the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† It this film really over 70 years old? Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, hardly a high profile title, looks fabulous with strong, clear detail. There is light grain in some sequences but otherwise this is a very clean print without obvious marks or artefacts. Blacks, greyscale and shadow detail, such as in the ruins of the castle, are very good.

†††† English for the hearing impaired, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

†††† The only audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (mono).

†††† Dialogue was always easy to understand. The effects, such as the hostile crowd, were crisp, the electrical crackles and buzz as Manning is experimenting on the monsters is loud and sounds great and the rushing water and collapsing ruins provide a very good audio experience for a mono track. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. There is no credit for the score but it was provided by Hans J Salter.

†††† I did not notice any hiss or distortion.

†††† Lip synchronisation was generally fine. However, in the original preview prints Lugosi had dialogue as the Monster which was subsequently cut; he now has no dialogue in the film but occasionally his lips still move!

Audio Ratings Summary
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Extras

Trailer (1:37)

†††† On start-up you are required first to select Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man , House of Frankenstein (1944) or House of Dracula to watch. The selected film commences without a further menu, but you can use the pop-up menu via the remote to select pause, chapters, subtitles and the filmís unrestored trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† This Blu-ray release of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. A stand-alone DVD is listed on Amazon, plus DVDs of the film pared with other Wolf Man films, but not a Blu-ray. The same The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) is available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man was the first sequel / spinoff from 1941ís The Wolf Man. It is a better than usual sequel, increasing the scope and mayhem over the first film while star Lon Chaney Jr and screenwriter Curt Siodmak return. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is also the first Universal horror film in which two of the classic monsters appear.

†††† The film looks very good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. A trailer is the only extra although there are three complete Wolf Man films on this Blu-ray.

†††† Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is included in Universalís 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man , House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) on one Blu-ray, Werewolf of London (1935) and She-Wolf of London (1946) on another and The Wolf Man (1941) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) on separate Blu-rays, a collection that is great value for fans of Universal horror.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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