Werewolf of London
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

While in Tibet looking for a specimen of the Mariphasa lupina lumina, an obscure phosphorescent plant that only grows in the mountains of Tibet and blooms in moonlight, botanist Dr Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is attacked by some kind of animal. He returns to London to try to cultivate his plant, but he soon starts to notice strange things happening to his body as he works under his artificial moonlamp. Fellow botanist Dr Yogami (Warner Oland) suggests that he may have been bitten by a werewolf. Only by getting the nocturnal plant to bloom can Dr Glendon fight his condition, but there appears to be a rival who also wants the flower.

Werewolf of London was based on a story idea by associate producer Robert Harris and adapted for the movie by screenwriter John Colton. The movie has been twice novelized, once as a 1977 paperback novel by Carl Dreadstone and again in 1985 as part of Crestwood House's Movie Monsters series by Carl Green.

No, there was one other werewolf movie prior to Werewolf of London. The Werewolf, an 18 minute short, was released in 1913. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in a fire in 1924, and any copies are also presumed lost.

The villagers are speaking Cantonese (Chinese). Dr Glendon is just muttering gibberish.

No, Mariphasa lupina lumina is a fictional plant made up for the movie. It can often be found on lists of fictional plants along with other fictional plants like the Triffids from the movie The Day of the Triffids (1962), the Ents from Lord of the Rings, Audrey Jr from The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), and Yggdrasil, a tree from Norse mythology.

The first night that Wilfred turns into a werewolf, he attempts to kill his wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson), who is attending a party thrown by her Aunt Ettie Coombes (Spring Byington), but Ettie sees him and screams, driving him away. So, Glendon kills a random woman in Goose Lane. The next night, while Lisa is out riding with her childhood sweetheart Paul Ames (Lester Matthews), Wilfred goes after the girlfriend of a guard at the London Zoo. On the third night, he tries to lock himself in room at the Monk's Rest on the Faldon estate where Lisa was brought up. Unfortunately, Lisa and Paul also choose this night to visit her childhood home. When Wilfred sees Lisa and Paul together, he pulls free one of the bars on the window and jumps down at her. Lisa's screams bring Paul running. Paul drives Wilfred away.

He would have, except that Dr Yogami, the werewolf that turned Wilfred, broke into the laboratory and stole the only two flowers that were in bloom. There is a third flower, but it has stubbornly refused to bloom.

On the night that Paul fought off the werewolf from killing Lisa, he recognized him as Wilfred Glendon, but no one at Scotland Yard will take him seriously until a chambermaid at the Bennington Hotel is found murdered in the same manner as the other murders. When they learn that the room had been rented by Dr Yogami and Paul notices the two Mariphasa flowers in the wastebasket, they start to believe. Making phone calls all over London, they cannot locate either Wilfred or Yogami. That's because Wilfred has hidden out under this laboratory and is waiting anxiously for the third flower to bloom. As it finally opens and Wilfred is just about to snip it off and apply the juice to his hands, Yogami sneaks in the lab and uses the flower on himself. Wilfred turns into a werewolf and kills Yogami. Wilfred then runs outside and climbs up to the window of the bedroom in which Lisa is locked with her Aunt Ettie. Ettie and Lisa run downstairs just as Paul arrives. Wilfred attacks Paul first, knocking him out. He then goes after Lisa just as Scotland Yard arrives. Sir Thomas Forsythe (Lawrence Grant), Paul's uncle and an Inspector at Scotland Yard, shoots Wilfred. As he lay dying, Wilfred thanks the inspector for the bullet and apologizes to Lisa for not making her happier. Wilfred changes back into himself, and the inspector agrees to say in his report that he accidentally shot Wilfred while he was trying to protect his wife. The final scene is of an airplane flying through the sky.

It was established early on in the movie that Paul Ames is an accomplished pilot and runs a flying school in California, where he will be returning after visiting with Lisa, his childhood sweetheart. The ending is an indication that he is on his way back. Whether or not Lisa is with him is left up to the viewer's imagination.

The same Universal Studios makeup artist, Jack P. Pierce, designed the makeup for both Wilfred Glendon, the werewolf in this movie, and for Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), the wolf man in The Wolf Man (1941), although Hull chose to wear a less hairy version because he disliked the time it took to cover his face in all that wolf hair. They both became werewolves when they were bitten by another werewolf, Glendon by Dr Yogami and Talbot by the gypsy Bela (Bela Lugosi). This werewolf strain, however, seems to have some differences from the one Larry Talbot contracted. For example, Talbot couldn't escape from becoming a werewolf on the nights of the full moon, but in Werewolf of London, the juice from the Mariphasa lupina lumina is an antidote against "lycanthrophobia" (werewolfery) if it is taken on the nights of the full moon. Talbot's affliction was permanent (and lasted through six more sequels), whereas the werewolf legend in this movie says that the use of the Wolf Flower, although it is not a cure, can prevent the affliction from becoming permanent. Another difference is that, In The Wolf Man, Talbot chose his victims indiscriminately, however, werewolves in London instinctively seek to kill the ones they love best. Finally, Wilfred Glendon is killed by a bullet, whereas Larry Talbot requires a silver bullet shot by someone who loves him.

The movie was shot in California at Universal Studies, with the opening scenes (supposedly Tibet) shot at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce, California. Photos of some of the characteristic rock formations can be viewed here.

Not very. Werewolves have been part of folklore for centuries, but much of what we think of as "traditional werewolf lore" is an invention of Hollywood. This movie invented the idea that lycanthropy could be passed via a bite or scratch, and that one changed involuntarily into a wolf/man hybrid upon the full moon. In real folklore, one became a werewolf by being cursed or making a pact with the devil, one changed into a wolf, and could change at any time.


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