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Larry Talbot finds himself in an asylum, recovering from an operation performed by the kindly Dr. Mannering. Inspector Owen finds him there, too, wanting to question him about a recent spate of murders. Talbot escapes and finds Maleva, the old gypsy woman who knows his secret: when the moon is full, he changes to a werewolf. She travels with him to locate the one man who can help him to die - Dr. Frankenstein. The brilliant doctor proves to be dead himself, but they do find Frankenstein's daughter. Talbot begs her for her father's papers containing the secrets of life and death. She doesn't have them, so he goes to the ruins of the Frankenstein castle to find them himself. There he finds the Monster, whom he chips out of a block of ice. Dr. Mannering catches up with him only to become tempted to monomania while using Frankenstein's old equipment. Written by
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man may not be the most interesting film that Universal studios made in their horror golden era, but it's worth noting for the fact that it was the first of their films to merge the studio's popular horror characters into one film. There's no Dracula here, and it's actually the least famous of the three major players, the Wolfman, that takes the centre stage. Naturally, Lon Chaney Jr. has returned to play the doomed unfortunate with the curse, and as ever; his performance is good, but not to the same extent that it was in the original Wolfman film. The film was released during the Second World War, and must have been intended as something fun to take people's mind off more important issues; and it at least succeeds on that front. The plot is rather silly, and sees Lawrence Talbot (a.k.a. The Wolfman) being awakened by grave robbers. He doesn't like the fact that he's immortal and feels the need to kill people, so he sets out to find Dr Frankenstein for help. However, the doctor is dead; and Talbot finds only a relative of Frankenstein's, and the Monster...
It has to be said that there's a bit too much going on in this film, and the hour runtime isn't enough to cover it all. Aside from the main plot revolving around the Wolfman and his discovery of Frankenstein's Monster, we've also got threads involving Frankenstein's relatives, a gypsy woman, Talbot's own personal battle and the common angry/frightened villagers theme that Universal horror does so well. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman is never boring, but if the plot line could have been streamlined; the film would have worked better. The film features the only performance from Bela Lugosi as the Monster. Lugosi was, apparently, offered the role of the Monster in James Whale's original film; and I'm glad he didn't take it, as he doesn't bring the same feel to the role as Karloff ended up doing. Series regular Lionel Atwill also makes an appearance, and I was pleased to see Dennis Hoey in the film; an actor most recognised for his performances as the inept Inspector Lestrade in Universal's Sherlock Holmes films. Overall, I have to say that I preferred the later films, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula; but this one is still worth seeing.
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