Friday, January 6, 2017

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Director: Rowland V. Lee

Writer: Wyllis Cooper

Composer: Frank Skinner

Starring: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson, Donnie Dunagan, Emma Dunn, Edgar Norton, Perry Ivins, Lawrence Grant, Lionel Belmore

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The black shadows of the past bred this half-man . . . half-demon! . . . creating a new and terrible juggernaut of destruction!

Plot: One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably.

The great Frankenstein series continues with this third Universal entry and it's fun.  The cast is great, really.  Lugosi has moments of genius.  There's one scene early in where he's just staring at the Baron (Rathbone) and his look is layered with curiosity, amusement and contempt.  It's brilliant.  Sure, Lugosi is playing the deformed Ygor and you could make the case that he's over the top but he's also the most interesting and sinister character in the show.  Fans of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) will get a kick out of Inspector Krogh with his wooden arm and darts marksmanship.  Frankenstein's castle is very sparse with decor.  The walls are barren and there's very little furniture.  At first this was a turnoff as the picture could've used something more elaborate and appealing for the eyes but then I started thinking about it and it suddenly made sense why they made this choice.  The elder, now dead, Frankenstein probably ran through his fortune over the years as he wasn't actively working in the public sector, instead spending all of his money on maintaining the castle and his experiments so by the time his son got the joint, it was pretty bare and bleak.  It also gives the place a more stark, shadow-filled, angular look akin to the German expressionist pictures of that decade.  If I could add one thing to this film it would be adding a couple of more locations for shooting to mix it up a bit.  It's still a fine film and a good part of the Universal franchise.  So far, of the original Universal monster franchises, Frankenstein is consistently the best of the lot.  

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