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The world of freight handlers Wilbur Grey and Chick Young is turned upside down when the remains of Frankenstein's monster and Dracula arrive from Europe to be used in a house of horrors. Dracula awakens and escapes with the weakened monster, who he plans to re-energize with a new brain. Larry Talbot (the Wolfman) arrives from London in an attempt to thwart Dracula. Dracula's reluctant aide is the beautiful Dr. Sandra Mornay. Her reluctance is dispatched by Dracula's bite. Dracula and Sandra abduct Wilbur for his brain and recharge the monster in preparation for the operation. Chick and Talbot attempt to find and free Wilbur, but when the full moon rises all hell breaks loose with the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein all running rampant. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
There are two schools of thought regarding 'Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein'. The first holds that the movie represents the nadir of the Universal Monsters cycle, with three once-great monsters reduced to playing second-fiddle to a couple of Laurel and Hardy wannabes. The alternative view, which I hold, is that this movie is a classic comedy-horror, perhaps the best example of that hybrid sub-genre until John Landis' 'An American Werewolf In London' emerged in 1981.
'A&CMF' warrants classic status because it is probably the best Universal horror film since 'The Wolf Man' (1941); certainly it has a much stronger narrative thread, not to mention a better reason for the three monsters coming together, than either 'House Of Frankenstein'(1944) or 'House Of Dracula'(1945). The problem with those two movies is that Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and The Wolf Man's coming together seemed purely coincidental, with Dracula not even encountering the other two in 'House Of Frankenstein' (which feels like two short films cobbled together, with only Boris Karloff's Dr. Neimann & J. Carroll Naish's hunchback providing a link between them) and 'House Of Dracula' only featuring a few scenes with more than one monster. 'Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein', by having The Wolf Man pursuing Dracula and the Monster, and also having Dracula plan to put Lou Costello's brain into the Frankenstein Monster (with the help of the duplicitous Dr. Mornay) provides an extremely satisfactory reason for the various characters coming together.
As for the acting, it has often been pointed out that this film works because the monster actors (Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr & Glenn Strange) play it straight, and this is very true, with Chaney's tortured soul act contrasting well with Lou Costello's one-liners (especially the famous 'you and twenty million other guys' joke). Lugosi, playing Dracula for only the second time, is wonderfully grandiose and even Glenn Strange, who is basically only required to lumber about, does what he does well, and he has a lot more to do than in the 'House of' movies. Abbott and Costello are very funny, using fewer verbal routines than normal, but doing some highly entertaining slapstick gags, and the supporting cast do very well, notably Frank Ferguson as the blustering McDougal, barely controlling his exasperation at Lou Costello's incompetence. Lenore Aubert as Dr. Sandra Mornay does well, and it's interesting to see a female mad scientist, particularly taking into account when this film was made. Charles Bradstreet and Jane Randolph have less to do in their parts, but neither of them drags the film down
All in all, 'A&CMF' is a movie that deserves a much greater reputation than it has acquired in some circles, and is probably the high point of the Abbott and Costello filmography
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