Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Wolf Man (1941)

Directed by George Waggner.
1941. Not Rated 70 minutes.
Lon Chaney
Evelyn Ankers
Claude Rains
Ralph Bellamy
Warren Williams
Patrick Knowles
Bela Lugosi
Maria Ouspenskaya

After his brother’s death, Larry Talbot (Chaney) comes home to help run the family business. While out with the ladies one night, he’s bitten by a wolf that has attacked one of the girls and believes that he has been transformed into a werewolf. This is a movie much less about thrills and chills than about psychological examination. Is he really a werewolf? Or is he just imagining things? The former couldn’t possibly be true, could it? Then again, how possible is the latter?

Lon Chaney is excellent as the bewildered man. It has become his signature role. Surprisingly, Maria Ouspenskaya betters him as an old gypsy woman, giving the movie much of it’s foreboding mood. By today’s standards it’s never visually stimulating enough but unlike the original [i]King Kong[/i] which came out almost a decade earlier, it never really tries. Like I said, this is more about a man questioning his own sanity than about the monster terrorizing us.

MY SCORE: 8/10

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