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The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  13 March 1942 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,497 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 48 critic

When Ygor brings the monster to Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein for care, Ludwig gets the idea of replacing the monster's current criminal brain, with a normal brain.

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(screenplay) (as W. Scott Darling) , (original story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Monster (as Lon Chaney)
...
Ludwig Frankenstein (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
...
...
...
Evelyn Ankers ...
Janet Ann Gallow ...
Barton Yarborough ...
Doris Lloyd ...
Leyland Hodgson ...
Olaf Hytten ...
Holmes Herbert ...
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Storyline

Ygor resurrects Frankenstein's monster and brings him to the original doctor's son, Ludwig, for help. Ludwig, obsessed with the idea of restoring the monster to full power, is unaware that his various associates all have different ideas about whose brain is to be transplanted into the monster's skull. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Stark Terror! Added Thrills! in a Spine-Tingling Experience ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 March 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El fantasma de Frankenstein  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first draft of the script was written by Eric Taylor was considered too depressing. The original Taylor treatment brought Wolf von Frankenstein back into play, as well as Ygor, plus a misshapen hunchback, Theodor. Ygor's plan was to create a vengeful mob of society's rejects, ala Freaks (1932), led by himself, with the Monster as brute force. A rewrite was ordered and given to veteran writer Scott Darling who retained the fundamental scenario but made significant changes. See more »

Goofs

The first time we see the close-up for the wall plaque for "Dr. Frankenstein - Diseases of the Mind" outside his "mansion", it is hardly in such a place. If you look close to the left of the sign you'll see a ladder, wires on the ground, palm trees and a station wagon type of car. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein: Does he understand?
Ygor: Oh yes.
Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein: Is he willing
Ygor: Can't you see? He is the first time happy in his life
See more »

Connections

Follows Bride of Frankenstein (1935) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The George Lazenby of Frankenstein
6 May 2004 | by (Calgary, Canada) – See all my reviews

No one envied George Lazenby when he became the first actor to play James Bond after Sean Connery bowed out of the role. I can only imagine that Lon Chaney Jr. must have felt the same sort of pressure when he was signed to take over the role of Frankenstein's Monster from the great Boris Karloff.

Ghost of Frankenstein is, for some reason, one of the more obscure of the Frankenstein series -- I guess in the same way Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service is considered one of the lesser known Bond films. Coming on the heels of the Karloff trilogy, it does have a second-hand feel to it that doesn't allow the film to reach the heights of its predecessors.

This is unfortunate because the movie isn't that bad, actually. In terms of inter-film continuity it probably has the strongest ties with the previous film, Son of Frankenstein, thanks to the continuing presence of Ygor (who, for reasons never explained, survived being shot in Son of Frankenstein). Ygor continues to act as Svengali/Pied Piper to The Monster, and Bela Lugosi turns in a performance that in my opinion rivals if not surpasses Dracula. Anyone who thinks Lugosi was a one-note ham actor capable of only variations on Dracula should check out this film and Son of Frankenstein for a revelation.

As the Monster, Lon Chaney isn't bad. Being considerably stockier than Karloff, he somehow appears smaller (blame the sulfur pit, perhaps?). Chaney also chooses to play the role completely mute, a departure from Karloff's growling portrayal. There are several moments where he manages to evoke the types of emotion Karloff was capable of showing under the flat-top -- including a rather puzzling moment where the Monster recognizes Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein, the son of the original Dr. Frankenstein (maybe there's some backstory that we are unaware of?).

Cedric Hardwicke as Ludwig Frankenstein tries hard but is unable to produce the same sort of near-madness that his predecessors Colin Clive and Basil Rathbone exhibited, while Lionel Atwill (playing a different role than the policeman from Son of Frankenstein) has a fairly thankless and somewhat confusingly written role to play in the eventual fate of The Monster.

Universal was not known for its inter-film continuity, and although Ghost manages to tie in quite successfully with Son (if not the earlier films) there are still a few jarring continuity gaffes, the most notable being the use of a different actor for the scene when the original Dr. Frankenstein pays a ghostly visit to his son (hence the source of the title in case you're wondering) -- even though Colin Clive, the original (but by the time this film was made, sadly deceased) actor is clearly shown in a flashback sequence.

Ghost of Frankenstein is far from being the best of Universal's Frankenstein series, but as a middle-of-the-pack entry, it's quite worthwhile. And for serious fans of The Monster who feel that the later "team-up" entries in the series are abominations (that is to say Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein), then this film is pretty much the end of the Frankenstein Monster story.


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