Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

Wolf Man, The: Complete Legacy Collection (Blu-ray) (1941)

Wolf Man, The: Complete Legacy Collection (Blu-ray) (1941)

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Released 17-May-2017

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Overall Package

     In the 1930s and 1940s Universal hit the jackpot with their horror films which put monster icons such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, the Mummy and the Wolf Man into the film mainstream.

     The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection includes the 7 werewolf themed films Universal made between 1935 and 1948, including the original The Wolf Man which made a star of Lon Chaney Jr. None of the sequels can match this classic film but some of them are decent and, of course, continue to star Lon Chaney Jr, the only time in the Universal monster cannon that one actor played the character in all sequels. There are also a couple of curiosities of interest to fans, including the first werewolf film made in sound, and a very funny Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. All the films have been restored and look fabulous in HD making this Blu-ray collection excellent value for fans of Universal horror.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

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

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

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

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 Frankenstein’s castle and falls into the basement. There, in the morning, Larry awakes and finds Frankenstein’s 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 Larry’s 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 Frankenstein’s apparatus but rather than setting it to kill both Larry and the Monster he tries to repeat Frankenstein’s 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 Frankenstein’s 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
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

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
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

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 film’s 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 1941’s 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 Universal’s 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray)

House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1944
Running Time 70:25
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Erle C. Kenton
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Boris Karloff
Lon Chaney Jr.
John Carradine
Anne Gwynne
Peter Coe
Lionel Atwill
George Zucco
Elena Verdugo
Sig Ruman
William Edmunds
Charles F. Miller
Philip Van Zandt
Julius Tannen
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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Scientist Dr Gustav Niemann (Boris Karloff), caught while trying to replicate Dr Frankenstein’s experiment, has been in prison for fifteen years. With the hunchbacked Daniel (J. Carrol Naish) he escapes in a storm, intending to get revenge on those who testified against him. They come across the wagon of Professor Lampini (George Zucco), who travels to fairs with various curiosities and horrors including, he states, the skeleton of Dracula which still has the wooden stake through its heart. Niemann has Daniel kill Lampini and he assumes his identity.

     They travel to the village where Hussman (Sig Ruman), one of the men who testified against him, is Burgomaster. Hussman is now a grandfather, and his grandson Carl (Peter Coe) and Carl’s wife Rita (Anne Gwynne) are visiting the village on their honeymoon. They all visit the display of curiosities and later Niemann removes the stake from the skeleton and Count Dracula (John Carradine) is reformed. Niemann sends Dracula to kill Hussman; Dracula succeeds but he diverges from the plan and abducts Rita in his carriage. Chased by Carl and the police, Dracula crashes and dies when he is exposed to the rising sun.

     Niemann and Daniel move on to their next destination, the village where Frankenstein’s castle is in ruins, having been destroyed, as we saw, in the end of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. Niemann is hoping to find Frankenstein’s experiment records and promises Daniel that if they succeed he will be able to operate on Daniel to fix his deformity. There are gypsies in the village and Daniel is besotted by a gypsy girl, Ilonka (Elena Verdugo), he sees dancing. Daniel later sees Ilonka being beaten; he rescues her and takes her with them as they move on to camp beneath the ruins of Frankenstein’s castle.

     Niemann and Daniel enter the ruins and in the lower reaches of the castle they discover, frozen in ice, Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr) and the Monster (Glenn Strange). They build a fire and thaw out the two bodies; Talbot, who only wanted to die so that he would not kill again as the werewolf, is distraught, but when Niemann tells Talbot that he may be able to operate on his brain to cure him, Talbot helps him to find Frankenstein’s records. The Monster, however, has degenerated significantly and is comatose. The next step for Niemann is to take them all to his old laboratory, restore his apparatus, and operate on Daniel, the Monster and Talbot.

     On that journey complications arise when Ilonka becomes attracted to Talbot, causing Daniel to become jealous. They arrive at Niemann’s old house and laboratory and discover the equipment is not badly in need of repair. However, it is not ready for Niemann to operate on Talbot; indeed, he prefers to concentrate on reviving the Monster but as it is the full moon Talbot transforms into The Wolf Man and kills a man in the village. Ilonka becomes aware of Talbot’s lycanthropy, but is in love and determined to help. Everything happens at once the next night, another night of the full moon; Talbot turns into the Wolf Man, Niemann revives the Monster, Daniel’s resentment boils over and the villagers arrive at the gates of the castle with flaming torches.

     Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man was the first film which paired two of Universal’s classic monsters, but obviously the more the better and so the trailer for House of Frankenstein promises five monsters, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mad Doctor and the Hunchback, and five times the horror. Like many films which bring together different franchises, such as in more recent times the Marvel Universe, House of Frankenstein is uneven, episodic, short changes on monster action and ends up, monster-wise, as two separate stories because Dracula dies well before The Wolf Man and the Monster appear. Nor do the Wolf Man and the Monster fight; indeed the Monster has very little to do, and no dialogue. However, what makes the film work as well as it does is the exceptional cast.

     The incomparable Boris Karloff, who was the first to bring to life two of the great Universal monsters, appearing as both Imhotep in The Mummy and as the Monster in Frankenstein, needs no introduction. Nor does Lon Chaney Jr in his third film as The Wolf Man, probably the most sympathetic of Universal’s monsters. Dracula, this time, is played by John Carradine, father of Keith and David; he has an astounding (and record) 351 credits listed on the IMDb and with his tall, cadaverous features and deep voice is a decent Dracula, although in truth he does not get much screen time. J. Carrol Naish was nominated twice for Oscars, the second for Sahara (1943), a war film which starred Humphrey Bogart. He has 224 credits listed on the IMDb, more frequently in westerns or adventure films than horror although, with some irony, his last film role was as Dr Frankenstein in Dracula vs. Dr Frankenstein (1971).

     The two earlier films featuring The Wolf Man were both written by Curt Siodmak who gave the character of Talbot some depth and pathos, as a distressed man who only wants to die because of the curse upon him. Siodmak provided the story for House of Frankenstein but it was written by Edward T. Lowe, an experienced screenwriter with credits going back to 1912 who had written The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Sr! He does what he can, but in trying to fit too many monsters into the film’s short running time character and sympathy is lost. However director Erle C. Kenton, who himself had 143 credits on the IMDb, including The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) in which Lon Chaney Jr played the Monster, keeps things moving along nicely, helped by an impressive Hans J. Salter score and the atmospheric black and white photography of cinematographer George Robinson, who had 185 credits including a spate of these Universal horror films including Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943).

     House of Frankenstein is the third film in which Lon Chaney Jr plays the Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man character but whereas the first two, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, concentrated upon his character in House of Frankenstein he is a bit player, although not as short-changed as the Monster or Dracula. Chaney is still very good as a conflicted and sympathetic character but the film really belongs to Boris Karloff and J. Carrol Naish, and there is nothing wrong with that for fans of Universal horror.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     House of Frankenstein is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     It this film really 70 years old? House of Frankenstein 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 the scenes in the rain or in the ruins of the castle, are very good.

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

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

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 where Niemann is experimenting on the monsters is loud and sounds great and provides a good audio experience for a mono track. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. The excellent score is by Hans J Salter.

     I did not notice any hiss or distortion.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:40)

     On start-up you are required first to select Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man , House of Frankenstein 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 film’s 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 House of Frankenstein starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. The film does not appear to be available anywhere as a stand-alone Blu-ray but is part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     House of Frankenstein is the first of the ensemble Universal monster films, advertising (breathlessly) in its trailer five monsters, all in one film. With such a group, and a running time of a scant 70 minutes, it is inevitable that many of the monsters will get short-changed and indeed, monster against monster action is limited. However, a great cast, atmospheric black and white visuals and a good score result in a film that is good fun and one that will please fans.

     The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. A trailer is the only extra, although you get three Wolf Man films on the same Blu-ray.

     House of Frankenstein is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein 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) by themselves on a Blu-ray, 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)
Thursday, September 14, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945)

House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1945
Running Time 67:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Erle C. Kenton
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Lon Chaney Jr
John Carradine
Onslow Stevens
Martha O’Driscoll
Jane Adams
Glenn Strange

Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J Salter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English
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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     As The House of Dracula opens Baron Latos / Count Dracula (John Carradine) arrives at the castle where scientist Dr Edlemann (Onslow Stevens) is conducting his experiments aided by his humpbacked assistant Nina (Jane Adams). Ostensibly Dracula is seeking a cure for his curse of vampirism / immortality; Edlemann accepts the challenge, believing that blood transfusions may help, unaware that the real reason for Dracula’s arrival is because Dracula wants to possess Edlemann’s attractive assistant Miliza Morelle (Martha O’Driscoll). Shortly afterwards Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) also arrives at the castle, also seeking a cure, or at least a way to die, from his curse of lycanthropy.

     With the full moon due, Talbot turns himself in to the local police to avoid killing anyone; Dr Edlemenn and the local police are at first sceptical that Larry can turn into a werewolf but when the transformation takes place before their eyes, Edlemann agrees to try to cure Larry. The next night Larry, in distress and afraid of what he might do, throws himself off a cliff into the sea. Edlemann, believing that Larry may have been washed into one of the caves at the bottom of the cliff, has himself lowered down the cliff face and indeed finds Larry. But the discoveries do not end there; in the cave they find, encased in mud, the skeleton of Dr Niemann (from The House of Frankenstein) and Frankenstein’s Monster , which is comatose but still alive and is taken to the basement of Edlemann’s castle.

     Then things happen all at once. Dracula makes a play on Miliza, the blood transfusions between Dracula and Dr Edlemann start to turn Edlemann into a vampire, and a crazed scientist. Edlemann performs an operation which may cure Talbot, but also tries to revive the Monster. With the village mob at the castle gates, baying for blood, monsters fight and it all comes to a fiery end.

     The trailer for House of Frankenstein promised five monsters, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mad Doctor and the Hunchback, and the trailer for House of Dracula, made the year after with the same screenwriter, Edward T. Lowe, and same director , Erle C. Kenton, also promised Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mad Doctor and the Hunchback. However, while Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine and Glenn Strange return as The Wolf Man / Larry Talbot, Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster respectively, Boris Karloff’s mad doctor Niemann has been replaced by mad doctor Edlemann (Onslow Stevens) and the murderous Hunchback (J. Carrol Naish) is now a rather pleasant, and not at all monstrous, woman hunchback played by Jane Adams so the advertising seems somewhat disingenuous. In the plus column, however, is that John Carradine has far more screen time this time round, as does Lon Chaney Jr, although the Monster again still has little to do and no dialogue; instead poor Glenn Strange was encased in hours in cold liquid mud, and the story is that Lon Chaney Jr passed him a bottle of whiskey between takes to keep warm! Indeed, in House of Dracula The Wolf Man is a hero, not a monster, and ends up cured, a happy result amid all the mayhem at the climax of the film.

     House of Dracula takes place some years after the events of House of Frankenstein, with some of the same characters but continuity is not high on the list of priorities. At the climax of House of Frankenstein Dr Niemann and the Monster are swallowed by quicksand and disappear; in House of Dracula Dr Edlemann finds the skeleton of Dr Niemann and the body of the Monster encased in mud, which does explain how the Monster is still around, but both Dracula and The Wolf Man died in House of Frankenstein, one by exposure to sunlight, the other by being shot with a silver bullet, but both just turn up in House of Dracula without comment or explanation. Indeed, House of Dracula is even more of a mixed bag than House of Frankenstein, with some plotting which makes little sense, contrivances and characters who have very little to do.

     House of Dracula is the fourth film in which Lon Chaney Jr plays the Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man character. This time he has more to do than in House of Frankenstein and does it well while John Carradine is a decent Dracula. However, by now the monster mishmash was wearing a bit thin and Onslow Stevens lacks the charisma of Boris Karloff’s mad doctor. Still worth a look for fans, however.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     House of Dracula is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     It this film really 70 years old? House of Dracula looks fabulous with strong, clear detail except in a couple of external sequences such as where Talbot throws himself over the cliff. There is light grain in some sequences but otherwise this is a clean print without obvious marks or artefacts. Blacks, greyscale and shadow detail are very good.

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

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

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, the electrical crackles and buzz or the surf are crisp and provide a good audio experience for a mono track. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. The excellent score is score by Hans J Salter.

     I did not notice any hiss or distortion.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:26)

     On start-up you are required first to select Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man , House of Frankenstein 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 film’s 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 House of Dracula starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. There is not a listing for an individual Blu-ray of the film but it is included in The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) which is available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     But the time of House of Dracula the formula was wearing a bit thin and, other than Lon Chaney Jr and John Carradine, the cast list was not as strong as the earlier Wolf Man films. Nevertheless, House of Dracula is worth watching for Chaney and Carradine and the film is still a lot of fun.

     The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. A trailer is the only extra, although you get three Wolf Man films on the same Blu-ray.

     House of Dracula is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula 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) by themselves on a Blu-ray, 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)
Friday, September 15, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935)

Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1935
Running Time 75:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stuart Walker
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Henry Hull
Valeria Hobson
Lester Matthews
Walter Oland
Lawrence Grant



Case ?
RPI ? Music Karl Hajos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None 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
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Botanist Dr Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is in Tibet searching for the extremely rare Mariphasa plant, which is only found in Tibet and blooms only by moonlight. He finds the plant in a remote valley, said to be haunted, where he is attacked and bitten by a wolf like creature. Back in London, Glendon works tirelessly in his laboratory to try to get the plant to blossom, ignoring his young wife Lisa (Valeria Hobson) even during a garden party held at their palatial home to show off his collection of exotic plants that is attended by an old flame of Lisa’s Paul Ames (Lester Matthews), nephew of Scotland Yard Inspector Sir Thomas Forsyth (Lawrence Grant). Also at the party is the mysterious Dr Yogami (Walter Oland) who wants to see the Mariphasa plant; he warns Glendon that the plant is the only known antidote for lycanthropy, a condition caused when a man is bitten by a werewolf and turns into a werewolf during the full moon with an urge to kill.

     Glendon refuses to believe Yogami, but with the advent of the full moon he does turn into a werewolf and, on two successive nights, kills women, ripping out their throat. Dr Yogami goes to Scotland Yard but Sir Thomas will not believe his story that a werewolf is to blame for the murders, although Paul is not so sure. Fearful that he will kill his wife during the next night of the full moon, Glendon flees to Lisa’s family’s house in the country, only to be surprised by Lisa and Paul arriving. Paul and Glendon fight, but Glendon escapes. But that night, miles away, another woman is murdered by having her throat ripped apart, and Scotland Yard are faced with the possibility of there may be two werewolves on the loose. The next night, things come to a climax at the Glendon mansion.

     In the 1930s Universal hit the jackpot with their monster / horror pictures starting with Dracula and Frankenstein (both 1931). These were not the first horror films of course; there was a silent Frankenstein as early as 1910 and the Dracula story had been filmed as Nosferatu in 1922. A werewolf, or wolf man, seemed a reasonable addition to the list of monsters and, indeed, Universal themselves had produced The Werewolf in 1913. However, The Werewolf of London did not launch a new monster franchise and that was left until 1941’s The Wolf Man which made a star of Lon Chaney Jr and spawned four sequels / spinoffs featuring the Wolf Man character.

     There may be a number of reasons why The Werewolf of London did not take off like the The Wolf Man. At 75 minutes running time it is longer than most of the other Universal horror titles and certainly it meanders along when it could be focussing on the monster plot; there is a garden party and a soiree featuring “Toffy” English accents and silly chatter, of which Aunt Ettie (Spring Byington) is probably the most annoying, and scenes involving a couple of gin drinking “cockney” landladies, which just slow down the action. As well, Henry Hull, who had 113 credits listed on the IMDb in a career that stretched from 1917 to 1966 mostly is supporting roles, is glum and has little spark as a leading man. The best performance comes from Walter Oland who at least adds some ominousness to the proceedings. At this time Oland was a recognisable star for Fox, playing Charlie Chan in sixteen films between 1931 and 1937.

     Perhaps the biggest problem is the make-up. The master Jack Pierce had created the iconic look for Boris Karloff in both Frankenstein and The Mummy but his design for the werewolf make-up in The Werewolf of London was disliked by Henry Hull and the film’s producers, who required Pierce to tone it down so that Hull after his transformation would still appear recognisable and human. The result certainly did that, but audiences were obviously not impressed; Pierce had the last laugh, thought, as his original design was used on Lon Chaney Jr in The Wolf Man six years later, becoming the iconic wolf man look ever since!

     The Werewolf of London is perhaps a curiosity, a trial run for the more successful, and famous, werewolf monster films to come, but is worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Werewolf of London is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a film that is now over 80 years old and while it is not perfect, it still looks pretty good. Although contrast does vary, most scenes have strong detail. Grain is evident, mostly under control although it is prominent is some scenes leaving greys a bit splotchy. Blacks are generally good, as is shadow detail. There are occasional artefacts, a couple of frame jumps and a couple a vertical scratches but nothing serious.

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

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

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

     The audio is not as good. Dialogue was always easy to understand and the effects, such as they are, acceptable. However, there is frequent hiss and some crackles throughout the film and at 56:10 there is a sudden drop in volume so you need to turn the volume up for the rest of the film.

     The score was by Karl Hajos; it is melodic and strident, as was common for the time.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:37)

     On start-up you are required first to select The Werewolf of London or She-Wolf of London to watch. The selected film commences without a further menu, but you can use the pop-up menu via the remote to select top menu, chapters, subtitles and the film’s 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 The Werewolf of London starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. The film does not appear to be available anywhere as a stand-alone Blu-ray but is part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     The Werewolf of London is a bit slow, silly in places, not overly scary and the monster make-up leaves something to be desired. Still, as the first “sound” werewolf picture it is a curiosity that is worth a look for fans.

     The film looks pretty good on Blu-ray for an 80 year old film, the audio is the original mono but has some issues. A trailer is the only extra although there are two complete werewolf films on this Blu-ray.

     The Werewolf of London is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) on one Blu-ray, Werewolf of London 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)
Monday, September 18, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946)

She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1946
Running Time 61:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jean Yarbrough
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Don Porter
June Lockhart
Sara Haden
Jan Wiley
Lloyd Corrigan
Dennis Hoey
Eily Malyon


Case ?
RPI ? Music William Lava


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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     London, c. 1900. Savage murders have been committed in a London Park and Scotland Yard Detective Latham (Lloyd Corrigan) suspects that a werewolf may be the cause, although his theory is ridiculed by his superior Inspector Pierce (Dennis Hoey). Just outside the park is the stately home of the Allenbys currently occupied by four women: Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart), her aunt Martha Winthrop (Sara Haden), Martha’s daughter Carol (Jan Wiley) and their servant Hannah (Eily Malyon). Phyllis is engaged to marry barrister Barry Lanfield (Don Porter) in two weeks.

     Phyllis is aware of the Allenby curse, the story that members of the Allenby family can turn into a werewolf by night and kill innocents, and she is fearful that she is tainted. Then a child is savagely murdered in the park and Phyllis wakes up with blood on her hands and mud on her dress and shoes; she can only suspect that she is the killer although she has no memory of it. Her aunt and cousin reassure Phyllis, but she is distraught and breaks off her engagement to Barry and refuses to see him. The next night a policeman is murdered in the park and Phyllis again has mud on her dress and shoes but no memory of anything and so she fears she is going insane. When Barry is again rebuffed Carol tells him why Phyllis broke off the engagement; he refuses to accept that Phyllis is a werewolf and he sets out to prove to her that she is innocent, working with Scotland Yard to find the real killer and the explanation behind the murders.

     In the 1930s and 1940s Universal hit the jackpot with their monster / horror pictures, including 1941’s The Wolf Man which made a star of Lon Chaney Jr and spawned four sequels / spinoffs featuring the Wolf Man character. So it made sense to Universal make another werewolf picture, this time featuring a woman; the poster for She-Wolf of London advertises a film about a “Half Woman – Half Monster”. The film starred a young June Lockhart, who went on to have 171 credits listed on the IMDb, mostly in popular TV series such as Lassie, Lost in Space and Petticoat Junction, and it was directed by Jean Yarbrough, who ended with 127 credits including some horror films, including The Devil Bat (1940) with Bela Lugosi.

     Warning: there are spoilers below, so if you do not want to know skip to the technical sections.

     Some films in their title tell you exactly what you will get in the film: Snakes on a Plane (2006) is one obvious example. Thus, with a title like She-Wolf of London, coming soon after the Universal Wolf Man films, one might be forgiven for expecting a film about a she-wolf in London. In fact, there is no woman werewolf in the film and, indeed, no werewolf at all, so in this case the film’s title (and advertising) is disingenuous and does the film a disservice, resulting in disappointed audiences and some indifferent reviews. Instead, what you get in She-Wolf of London is a psychological murder mystery; is she a killer and, if not, who is preying on Phyllis’ fears and why? If one comes to it as a mystery the film has its moments of tension in the gloomy Allenby mansion and the foggy night time London Park although, despite a number of red herrings and possible suspects being introduced, the solution is not all that difficult to figure out.

     If you don’t come to She-Wolf of London expecting a Universal monster film there are some moments of tension, the dark and foggy park provides some nice atmosphere and June Lockhart does a decent job as a fearful and disturbed young woman.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     She-Wolf of London is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a decent print for a film that is now over 70 years old. The print is reasonably sharp although there is some softness in exteriors. There are occasional marks and scratches and minor aliasing although grain is well controlled. Blacks are generally good, as is shadow detail, brightness and contrast is consistent.

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

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

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

     The audio is fine. Dialogue was always easy to understand and effects, such as they are, fine, the most common being horses hooves or the howls of wolves / dogs in the distance.

     The score was by an uncredited William Lava; it is a stock score, sometimes a bit melodramatic or strident.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:22)

     On start-up you are required first to select The Werewolf of London or She-Wolf of London to watch. The selected film commences without a further menu, but you can use the pop-up menu via the remote to select top menu, play, chapters, subtitles and the film’s 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 She-Wolf of London starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. The film does not appear to be available anywhere as a stand-alone Blu-ray but is part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     She-Wolf of London has its moments as a mystery but those expecting a Universal monster film will be disappointed. The film is worth a look as a curiosity or to see a young June Lockhart in pre-Lassie TV days (for those old enough to remember)!

     The film looks and sounds pretty good on Blu-ray for a 70 year old film. A trailer is the only extra although there are two complete “werewolf” films on this Blu-ray.

     She-Wolf of London is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) on one Blu-ray, Werewolf of London (1935) and She-Wolf of London 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)
Thursday, September 21, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Blu-ray) (1943) | House of Frankenstein (1944) (Blu-ray) | House of Dracula (Blu-ray) (1945) | Werewolf of London (Blu-ray) (1935) | She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946) | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Film historian Gregory W Mank
Featurette-Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters (33:18)
Featurette-100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)
Featurette-100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1948
Running Time 82:47
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Charles Barton
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Lon Cheney Jr.
Bela Lugosi
Lenore Aubert
Jane Randolph
Glenn Strange


Case ?
RPI ? Music Frank Skinner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None 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
French
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Chick (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur (Lou Costello), who for some reason incomprehensible to Chick has the sophisticated and beautiful Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert) madly in love with him, are storemen in New York who deliver a shipment of two crates, sent from Europe, to McDougal’s House of Horror. Unknown to the pair, inside the two crates are Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange). The two monsters revive and leave; Wilbur sees them but Chick doesn’t and of course does not believe Wilbur! A few days later Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) arrives from London, seeking to locate and destroy Dracula and the Monster; he finds Chick and Wilbur and tries to enlist their help although he is hampered because it is the time of the full moon and he cannot help transforming into a werewolf. Attractive insurance investigator Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph) is also trying the find the missing contents of the crates; thinking that Wilbur may know she also expresses her love for him. So now Wilbur has two attractive women competing for his affection.

     In reality, Sandra is in league with Dracula. She intends to lure Wilbur to the castle on the lake and there operate to remove his brain and graft it into the Monster’s body for, as Dracula notes, he wants in the Monster a simple and pliable brain that is easily controlled, and Wilbur fits the prescription perfectly! On a night of the full moon Talbot, Wilbur, Chick and Joan arrive at the castle for a night of monster mayhem.

     It was the fate of many of the famous Universal monsters, including Frankenstein, Dracula, the Invisible Man and the Wolf Man, to go from objects of fear to objects of fun when they were paired with Universal’s ace comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The first, wildly successful, crossover was this film, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, in 1948.

     Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was the second highest grossing film that year for Universal, it still has an 88% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes and, of course, it spawned a number of Abbott and Costello Meet . . . films. The film does not feature any of the more usual Abbott and Costello verbal routines but most other things are in place: sight gags, pratfalls, disappearing monsters, hidden passageways, revolving walls and pure confusion. The monster cast are fabulous; Lon Cheney Jr. is the Wolf Man, playing the character here for the fifth, and last time in this original series, while Glenn Strange is the Monster for the third time, after House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), and at least in this one gets to speak. Bela Lugosi will always be associated with Dracula, although, surprisingly, he only played the character twice, in the original Dracula (1931) and in this film, seventeen years later.

     Quite simply, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is still tremendous fun.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The film looks pretty good. Backgrounds can be occasionally soft but faces and close-ups are firm. There is controlled grain but otherwise this is a clean print without obvious marks or artefacts. Blacks are strong, greyscale and shadow detail are good.

     Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

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

     Dialogue was always easy to understand. The effects, including the electrical buzz to revive the monster, slaps and the music are nice and crisp. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. The music supervisor is Joseph Gershenson but there is no credit for the score as such.

     I did not notice any hiss or distortion.

     Lip synchronisation was occasionally out but nothing serious.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The film commences without a menu, but you can access the extras using the pop up menu on the remote.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters (33:18)

     Made in 2000 and hosted by David J. Skal this is an excellent featurette. Using stills, film footage and rare outtakes, plus comments by Ron Palumbo, co-author of Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, collector Bob Burns, film historian Bob Madison plus Chris Costello (daughter of Lou) and Bela G. Lugosi (son of Bela), the featurette concentrates on the making of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, including the casting, script, the director, the firing of make-up artist Jack Pierce and shenanigans on set but it also looks at the early career of Bub and Lou as well as the subsequent “meet the monster” films they made.

Theatrical Trailer (1:40)

Feature Commentary

     This is an excellent commentary by film historian Gregory W Mank. It is well researched and Mank is amusing and knowledgeable as he discusses production details, on-set antics and conflicts, anecdotes, the career of all the main cast and the director, the budget of the film, cast salaries, the cost of sets and effects and the reactions to the film.

100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)

     This extra was also included on The Wolf Man Blu-ray in the The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection. The featurette is a look at the Universal back lot where sets for films such as Psycho and Spartacus still stand as well as the sound stages and some of the films that were made there. Additional comments from some of the people who have filmed on the lot including directors Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Peter Berg, John Landis, Ron Howard and John Carpenter and actors including Dan Aykroyd and Meryl Streep.

100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)

     A quick flick through some of Universal’s characters with monsters including Dracula, non-human characters from Jaws to ET, humans bad, such as Norman Bates and Tony Montana, “good”, Spartacus to Jason Bourne, the Blues Brothers and Back to the Future. Pure promo!

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 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. There is a US Region A/B release of the film which includes the same extras as this release. However, there does not seem to be a release of the film in Australia except as part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below).

Summary

     Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, horror icons Lon Cheney Jr. and Bela Lugosi, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man (here completing his transformation to one of the good guys) conniving women, jokes and scares are a recipe for entertainment and fun that has not dimmed. Fans, or anyone who likes a laugh, will not be disappointed.

     The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. The extras are very good.

     Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), 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 by themselves on a Blu-ray, 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, October 03, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE