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31 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Werewolves of London again

Author: oyason from United States
21 August 2003

WEREWOLF OF LONDON is a gem. I became familiar with the old Universal classics watching them on an old GE black and white when they were broadcast on "Lights Out" in El Paso, Texas thirty-odd years back. And this was one of the few that I found seriously frightening as a boy.

The initial transformation scene in this film is done as well as any special effect was in those days. First, the viewer becomes aware of its approach through the reaction of a housecat to the afflicted Doctor as he reaches out to stroke his pet. He crosses over into another room, the camera pans back, and the transformation occurs as he passes behind a number of columns. It's damn eerie. And I believe it holds up after all this time, but it doesn't matter to me if I'm alone with this sentiment.

Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Spring Byington end up carrying the weight that Henry Hull couldn't as a central player, plus there are a couple of marvelous character actors playing some very funny dipsomaniac landladies. It all balances out. You gotta see this one.

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20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Horror Classic

7/10
Author: (bsmith5552@rogers.com) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
31 October 2001

"Werewolf of London" almost never gets mentioned when one talks of the classic Universal horror flicks of the 30s and 40s. Yet it is as good or better than most of them.

The story involves a biologist (Henry Hull) who is in Tibet searching for a rare flower. While there he is attacked by a werewolf and unknowingly becomes infected himself. The rare flower it turns out, has the power to suppress the transformation into a werewolf. A mysterious scientist from Tibet (Warner Oland) appears and takes an unusual interest in the plant. Well, as in all werewolf movies, you know what happens when the moon is full.

Perhaps the film doesn't get the recognition it deserves because of the absence of one of Universal's major horror stars (Karloff or Lugosi). Lon Chaney Jr. would not arrive on the scene (in horror movies) until 1941.

Veteran character actor Hull is very good as the tormented Dr. Glendon. He plays him more in the manner of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde than an out and out monster. The murders are committed off screen so we have to rely on Hull to convey the evil of the werewolf through his performance. Warner Oland, who was starring in the Charlie Chan series at the time, has little to do as Dr. Yogami. The fetching Valerie Hobson stands out as Hull's wife and Spring Byington does her usual talkative busybody as Aunt Ettie. The weak link in the cast is Lester Matthews as the token hero Captain Ames. He plays him as a silly-ass stuffed shirt rather than the dashing fellow he is supposed to be.

Having said all of that, "Werewolf of London" is one of the better horror films of its time and unfortunately remains one of the most underrated of the genre.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Draw Blood!

Author: Shield-3 from Kansas City, MO, USA
19 September 2001

Listen to the Warren Zevon jokes fly…

The secret to telling stories in any media, be it books, plays, TV or movies, is to make the audience care about the characters. The hero of `Werewolf of London,' Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull), manages to earn our sympathy: he's a botanist obsessed with his studies to the point where he neglects his beautiful young wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson). His ordered life disintegrates when he is attacked by a werewolf in Tibet; he realizes he is doomed to the lycanthrope's savage curse at the same time his wife begins flirting with an old flame, Paul (Lester Matthews). The logical foundation of Glendon's life flies apart, and he came face-to-face with his brutal animal nature.

`Werewolf of London,' like most of the classic Universal horror pictures, is heavy on atmosphere, lots of shadows and fog. The transformation sequences and the makeup are good, although not as proficient as `The Wolf Man' six years later. The Werewolf of London struck me as a more sinister creature than the Wolf Man in his deliberateness. The Werewolf would even wear a sort of disguise as he stalked the streets of London, using his intelligence, whereas the Wolf Man was a more savage, animalistic force that attacked anyone nearby. It makes you wonder who would win a fight between the two…

And, as is usual for the old Universal horror films, the acting is very good. Henry Hull moves from stuffy academic to tortured soul, and brings us along for the ride (reminiscent of Basil Rathbone's deterioration in `Son of Frankenstein.') Valerie Hobson is luminous as always, and Warner Oland is quietly menacing as Dr. Yogami, who has an inside knowledge of `werewolfery.'

`Werewolf of London' will probably always be in the shadow of its successor, and rightfully so. There's nothing wrong with `Werewolf,' but there also isn't anything here that `Wolf Man' doesn't do better. It's just part of the horror evolution, a lesson well learned.

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21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A minor classic.

Author: Glenn Andreiev (gandreiev@aol.com) from Huntington, NY
3 December 2001

WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935) does not satisfy as a whole, but it does have some memorable spots. The basic plot tells of a introverted botanist (Henry Hull) who is stricken with the ability to become a werewolf. The film's great moments are peppered through out. There's the beautifully photographed scene in Tibet, where moonlight is almost sun-beach bright. There's the bit in the zoo with a cockney hag fooling around with the zookeeper. Hull's perfomance is superb. We feel his anger over his failed marriage to much younger Valarie Hobson, his fear over his new affiction. It's a shame the screenwriters didn't dwell on his marriage more. The film has a humdinger of an ending, especially with the werewolf's last line.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The werewolf is neither man nor wolf, but a Satanic creature with the worst qualities of both.

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
20 October 2009

Dr. Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is in Tibet searching for the rare mariphasa plant that apparently only blooms under moonlight. Upon finding the plant his joy is obvious but it's quickly short lived as he is attacked by a half-man half-wolf type creature. He manages to fight off the creature but it does draw blood before retreating off into the mountains. Back in London, Glendon works tirelessly to get the plant to bloom under artificial light, neglecting his wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson) in the process. But that's not the only worry he has to contend with, with the arrival of the mysterious Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) comes news of lycanthrophobia and the true value of the mariphasa plant…….

The names Universal Studios and Werewolves go hand in hand {or paw in paw if you like}. Automatically images of a pained Lon Chaney Jr howling at the moon come quickly into the conscious, yet quite some years earlier Universal had already ventured into the realms of lycanthropy. Firstly they had offered up The Werewolf, a silent short film in 1913 that sadly is thought to have long been lost in a fire in 1924, and then in 1935 they released Werewolf Of London. The first mainstream werewolf picture and first to feature anthropomorphic werewolves. It can't be understated just how important Werewolf Of London is in the pantheon of Universal classic horror. It also helps that it is also happens to be a rather fine picture in its own right. Interestingly blending the werewolf legend with science fiction elements, its script is intelligent, the scenic sets impressive and director Stuart Walker keeps it taut and suspenseful.

In spite of what you may have read on some internet sites, the cast deliver the goods, particularly Henry Hull who it should be remembered is playing a vastly different type of werewolf to the one Chaney would play six years later. This is after all a wolf-man who pops on his hat and cloak and strides out into the dimly lit night. Hull also comes up trumps with the emotional aspects of Glendon. Observe the expressive acting as Glendon's cat turns against him, the hurt and then the horrific realisation of what awaits him is vividly portrayed during one heartfelt scene. Another sees Glendon proclaim "Singularly single, madame. More single than I ever realised that it was possible for a human being to be," this is fine stuff delivered with style and emotion by the well spoken Hull. The support is very tidy from Hobson, Oland, Lester Matthews and Lawrence Grant, but they are unsurped by the comic relief that comes in the form of Ethel Griffies & Zeffie Tilbury as batty bints, Whack & Moncaster. A right couple of old dears who stick their noses in where they shouldn't and enjoy knocking each other out! I kid you not. Yet perhaps surprisingly this humour sits easily within the structure of the story. Another testament to the good work done by all involved. While rounding out the treats is the make up work from pioneer supreme, Jack P Pierce {AKA Janus Piccoulas}.

This is not one for the boo jump scare brigade, or even for those after a bit of old fashioned blood letting. This is tight story telling with a good production and acting to match. Twas a pleasant surprise indeed. 8/10

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

living in the shadows...

8/10
Author: simeon_flake
22 February 2005

Universal's first 'werewolf' movie & oddly enough one of the least celebrated in the studio's library of classic horror films, due in large part to a later vehicle titled 'THE WOLF MAN' that would elevate the werewolf to classic monster status. Not that there's anything wrong with "Werewolf of London", it's a terrific picture in its own right.

Perhaps the star of this film could be the reason why this picture didn't catch on like the later wolf series with Lon Chaney. Henry Hull (as Wilfred Glendon) doesn't come across as being the most likable guy in the world, or one who can invoke much sympathy like Larry Talbot. Hull is such a cold fish that it doesn't come as a great shock when his jailbait looking wife (Valerie Hobson) runs into the arms of her former beau. But, whatever charm Hull may lack, Warner Oland makes up for in spades with his show-stealing performance as Dr. Yogami. "The werewolf is neither man nor wolf, but a Satanic creature with the worst qualities of both."

This movie also tips its hat to the horror films of James Whale, injecting liberal amounts of comic relief throughout the proceedings, with the biggest laughs coming courtesy of two old lushes, Mrs. Whack & Mrs. Moncaster, who rent a room to the afflicted Dr. Glendon and after getting a peek of him in his lunar form, vow to give up the bottle, but somehow I don't think they stuck to that resolution.

Henry Hull and his London Werewolf may linger forever in Chaney's shadow, but Hull will forever have the advantage when it comes to "best dressed" lycanthrope & no one can ever take that from him.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The Curse of the Werewolf

Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida
3 July 2001

"The Werewolf of London" (Universal, 1935), directed by Stuart Walker, adds to another roaster of Universal's collection of movie monsters of the 1930s, this time a werewolf. Six years before Lon Chaney Jr. made a lasting impression as "The Wolf Man" (1941), followed by sequels, this early rendition about a man cursed with werewolfism comes off pretty well, in spite of the absence of the usual horror names of Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi in the leads. In fact, without the usual actors of previous horror movies of that era, this one stands on its own merits.

Henry Hull (1890-1977), a character actor with decades of movie roles to his credit, seems to be quite unlikely to be chosen to perform not only in a lead performance (there were so few to his long film credit), but in the title role. Unlike Karloff or Lugosi, Hull never remained associated or type-cast with horror roles during the duration of his career, and like Claude Rains, the star of "The Invisible Man" (1933), Hull was able to perform in diversified roles, in spite that he never got any recognition worthy of receiving an Academy Award nomination. But if Hull is to be remembered at all, it should be for his performance as what is reportedly said to be as Hollywood's first werewolf.

The story opens in Tibet with middle-aged Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull), a Botanist, who discovers an extraordinary flower, but after he retrieves it, he is suddenly attacked by some strange creature, but Glendon manages to get it away, coming off with some scratches on his arm. Back in his London laboratory, Glendon works on his experiments and close study of the plant, much to the dismay of his lovely but younger wife, Lisa (Valerie Hobson). She feels somewhat neglected but later finds something to occupy her time after she reacquaints herself with one of the visiting guests, Paul Ames (Lester Matthews), an older gentleman who was once her former sweetheart of years past. While conducting his study, Glendon agrees to let Lisa spend some of her free time with Ames, which eventually causes Glendon to become a little jealous. Also seen attending Glendon's open house exhibits is a mysterious man named Doctor Yogami (Warner Oland) who takes a special interest in Glendon's rare flower find. Yogami tells Glendon the background of this flower which is known for combating werewolves. Of course Glendon thinks Yogami is crazy and refuses to believe such a tale, but then begins to have second thoughts when, during a full moon evening, Glendon, sitting in his reading room, starts to notice hairs growing on his arms, body and face (which causes his pet cat to hump its back and start hissing), finding Glendon unable to control his inner emotions as he prowls the streets of London to commit some ghastly murders. But before the story comes to a somewhat rushed climax, Glendon learns the true dark secret about Doctor Yogami.

Aside from some tense moments, the movie features "comedy relief" headed by Spring Byington as Aunt Ettie, who, in one scene, becomes nauseous after witnessing a live frog being fed to a man-eating-flower; Ethel Griffies and Zeffie Tilbury as two old drunken and very nosy English floosies who have their usual "friendly" disagreements while managing both bar and upstairs apartments; Lawrence Grant and Charlotte Granville as Mr. and Mrs. Forsythe; among others. This review shouldn't go without commenting on its fine transformation scene(s) of Hull as he changes into a werewolf little by little while walking behind some pillars, with the buildup of the underscoring to the final outlook of Hull's appearance as the werewolf, compliments of make-up expert, Jack Pierce.

"The Werewolf of London" can be found as a video movie rental, and was formerly shown on both the Sci-Fi Channel and American Movie Classics prior to 2001. No classic horror movie fan should go without seeing this almost forgotten horror gem, especially on Halloween or on a cold rainy Saturday night. Unlike other horror films from that period, this one produced no sequels. Maybe I could be thankful for that. (**1/2)

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Author: BaronBl00d (baronbl00d@aol.com) from NC
13 July 2000

Universal's first foray into lycanthropy was this version of a man that goes to Tibet in search of a rare flower. He is bitten by a werewolf. He then leaves Tibet for his home in London with said plant which flowering buds have the ability to off-set the "disease" at least for that evening against the full moon. This film is entertaining and has many good points. It has a great score and lots of wonderful scenes and sets. Many of the character actors are quite good, in particular Spring Byington and Valerie Hobson. Warner Oland steals the acting honors as an adversary to Dr. Glendon, the titular werewolf. Oland, the great Charlie Chan himself, hams it up as another werewolf in search of the flowering buds. The film has a lot of comedy in it, with several scenes between two friendly landladies creating most of the laughs. I think the picture really suffers from the script, which really does not help create werewolf folklore like The Wolfman did later for Universal. The make-up by Jack Pierce is pretty good, but actor Henry Hull is very dull in his lead role. Hull plays the beast with some passion but his role as the doctor is the epitome of boredom. Nonetheless I found the film very entertaining and recommend it.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Universal's other werewolf movie.

7/10
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands
19 October 2007

Before there was "The Wolf Man", Universal made "Werewolf of London". This movie is not as well known or as good the Lon Chaney Jr. movie but it's a rather good genre movie on its own nevertheless.

The movie starts off in a good and mysterious horror way but also in a great and entertaining way, by introducing some fun typical upper-class British characters and dialog into the movie. Unforntunately it then takes quite a while before things start to kick off. The monstrous werewolf only makes his full entrance halve way through the movie.

It's funny to see how much similar the werewolf transformation sequences in this movie look to "The Wolf Man". The make-up effects in this movie are also almost the same and created by the same person, but only as a more lighter and less hairy version, since the actor Henry Hull disliked the time-consuming makeup application. The make-up effects in this movie are nevertheless rather good and convincing. Henry Hull is definitely almost unrecognizable underneath all of the make-up.

I also must say that I liked Henry Hull better as the werewolf than as his human character. It was a hard character too sympathize for, something that Lon Chaney Jr. did succeed in by the way. A reason why "The Wolf Man" is still a better movie than this one is. Also quite weird to see Warner Oland in this movie, since at the time he almost entirely only made Charlie Chan movies and he was very popular for it at the time. It therefor is a bit weird to see him in a different role in this movie.

The movie features lots of comedy, which makes this a very pleasant movie to watch. But it also takes away the tension at times when it isn't really needed to. It sort of prevents the movie from being a true tense and mysterious horror movie at times, though the potential for it was definitely there.

The story isn't that much special and rather simplistic. The movie doesn't offer any real surprises, although the story does has its moments. Also the climax of the movie feels rather rushed and sudden. The movie should at least had been 10 minutes longer, to let it reach a better and more satisfying less sudden conclusion.

It's still a good sort of forgotten Universal werewolf movie and a more than great watch for the Universal horror/classic horror movie lovers.

7/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Werewolf Of London (1935) **1/2

6/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
16 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An interesting first outing in the werewolf stakes for Universal, but which has been unfairly maligned in the wake of the more popular THE WOLF MAN (1941). The film has a lot going for it, not the least of which are its credible, if unsympathetic, leads (Henry Hull and Warner Oland playing two antagonistic werewolves!) and subtle, but undeniably effective, use of make-up (which is actually preferable to Lon Chaney Jr.'s in the later film!). The werewolf legend is here treated in a scientific, quasi-theological way (a nod, perhaps, to the 1931 version of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE - as are the costume and general habits of Hull's werewolf, by the way) rather than the psychological approach, steeped in superstition, of the Chaney/Larry Talbot films.

The supporting cast, however, is variable: Valerie Hobson is pretty but the role is unworthy of her, especially as she is forced to share the romantic spotlight with the stiff Lester Matthews; Spring Byington as a dotty socialite, then, not to mention Zeffie Tilbury and Ethel Griffies as drunken crones, are a matter of taste in the Una O'Connor vein - but, really, their various antics don't harm the film in any serious way for me. WEREWOLF OF London rises to a good climax where Hull kills Oland and pursues Hobson with the same intent, until he is stopped by a normal(!) - as opposed to the traditional silver - bullet, for which he is actually thankful; in this, he is no worse than Chaney who is hellbent on self-destruction in each and every one of his portrayals of Larry Talbot and, as such, I can't understand the criticism directed towards this scene in some circles!

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