Baron Frankenstein is once again working with illegal medical experiments. Together with a young doctor, Karl and his fiancée Anna, they kidnap the mentally sick Dr. Brandt, to perform the ... See full summary »
A dead and frozen Baron Frankenstein is re-animated by his colleague Dr. Hertz proving to him that the soul does not leave the body on the instant of death. His lab assistant, young Hans, ... See full summary »
Wolf von Frankenstein returns to the Baronial manor from the United States with his wife Elsa and son Peter. He not made welcome by the locals who are still terrified of his father's works and the monster he created. The local Burgomaster gives him a sealed briefcase left by his father and inside, Wolf finds his father's scientific notes. At the manor house he meets his father's assistant Igor who has a surprise for him: the monster his father created is still alive, though in some sort of coma. Wolf's initial attempts to re-animate the creature seem to fail but when Peter says he saw a giant in the woods, it appears he's met success. When people are mysteriously killed in the village there is little doubt that the monster is responsible. Written by
Due to the lack of a prepared script, much of the picture was written just moments before the actors were to shoot their scenes. This was how director Rowland V. Lee was able to keep Bela Lugosi working throughout filming, and built up the role of Ygor, which never appeared in the original Wyllis Cooper screenplay. Lugosi was forever grateful to Lee for allowing him to create what turned out to be one of his very best characterizations. After many delays, shooting finally started November 9, 1938, finishing January 5, 1939, just days before its prescribed release date of January 13. Boris Karloff's daughter, Sara Karloff was born on his 51st birthday, November 23, 1938. See more »
When Wolf von Frankenstein is arguing with Krogh in the castle lobby (73 minutes), he removes his hat and throws it at the high-backed chair to the left of the fireplace. It lands on the floor in front of and to the left of the chair. Later in the scene, the hat switches to the right of and behind the chair. Later still, in the same location, the hat has now flipped upside down. Frankenstein's coat, which was thrown on the floor to the left of the chair also shifts position (to the seat of the chair, in this case). See more »
Usually the third film in a series shows signs of decline either in quality or inventiveness. Even the third 'Godfather' was significantly less than its predecessors. Universal's 'Frankenstein' series that began in the early 1930's was no exception and showed some wear by the end of the decade when 'Son of Frankenstein' was released. Under the sensitive direction of James Whale, the original 'Frankenstein' was a classic, and, in the first sequel, 'Bride of Frankenstein,' Whale even managed to better it. However, while Whale was not involved with 'Son,' the third installment turned out to be a surprisingly good movie even if it failed to match the two preceding films. Perhaps the major reason for the success of 'Son' was the casting of Basil Rathbone as Wolf Frankenstein, the original Baron's son. Rathbone is a fine strong actor, and his characterization certainly exceeds Colin Clive's somewhat colorless portrayal of his father in the preceding films. Rathbone holds the viewer's attention throughout as he becomes immersed in the legacy of his father and fails to comprehend the consequences of what he is doing. Boris Karloff returns for a third time as the monster. Although he does a fine job, there is less opportunity for the actor to show the range of emotion in this film that he displayed in 'Bride.' Another aspect of 'Son' that raises it above the ordinary is the set and lighting design, which owes a debt to German expressionism. The sets have bold diagonals in their construction, and the cameraman has lit them to cast equally bold shadows against bare walls and create abstract patterns that often recall 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.' The lighting and design of one particular section of a cave under the Frankenstein laboratory could have been blown up and framed as an expressionist photograph. Although it does not reach the heights of the Whale films, 'Son of Frankenstein' is a worthy successor and an engrossing film in its own right.
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