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Legend of the Werewolf (1975)

A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral "wolf boy", who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous... See full summary »



(as John Elder)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Professor Paul
Zoo Keeper
Maestro Pamponi
Stefan Gryff ...
Max Gerard
Lynn Dalby ...
Chou-Chou (as Renée Houston)
Marjorie Yates ...
Madame Tellier
Mark Weavers ...
Young Etoile
Zoe (as Hilary Labow)
Elaine Baillie ...


A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral "wolf boy", who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous, overprotective crush on a prostitute, leading him to attack her client, incurring a pursuit by a determined police surgeon. Written by Brian J. Wright <bjwright@acs.ucalgary.ca>

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A Tyburn Tale of Terror




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Release Date:

27 March 1978 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Plague of the Werewolves  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


David Rintoul receives an "introducing" credit. See more »


At c. 23 minutes the freshly opened champagne has negligible fizz when it is poured. See more »


Prof. Paul: He's all right; he won't harm you, but you musn't reject him!
See more »


Referenced in The Howling (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF (Freddie Francis, 1975) **
2 December 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This was among my earliest recollections of watching a horror film, which occurred in the early 80s via a local TV broadcast (when my family still had a black-and-white set); therefore, I was very much looking forward to re-acquainting myself with it - though, as it doesn't seem to have much of a reputation, it's proved virtually impossible to find until now!

Anyway, I'm glad to say that I liked it quite a bit still: in essence, it's a revamping of Hammer Films' CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) - by the same writer, John Elder (aka Anthony Hinds), no less - but made this time for the short-lived Tyburn company. The script, in fact, returns the story to its original Paris setting - CURSE having been inspired by Guy Endore's "The Werewolf Of Paris" - and again pits our hirsute hero in the midst of a complicated romantic attachment (a prostitute rather than a merchant's daughter) whose development (the girl is unwilling to give up her profession at first) could or could not control his affliction; still, this element isn't quite as well integrated into the narrative here as it was in the Hammer version - and the decision to allow the lycanthrope to speak briefly, WEREWOLF OF London (1935)-style, was perhaps a mistake. Of course, the film features several other Hammer alumni - director Francis, composer Harry Robinson and, from the cast, Peter Cushing and Michael Ripper (in a cameo as a tramp and one of the werewolf's victims).

The visibly reduced budget allows for little real period atmosphere - despite traveling show, zoo and brothel - but the film is pacy and enjoyable enough to overcome such limitations; still, the werewolf scenes aren't exactly inspired - resorting mainly to either red-tinted POV shots (which, obviously, didn't register during my first viewing of the film) or close-ups of its bare and bloodied fangs - and, while I've always been partial to the silver-haired make-up myself, it's only seen in full at the very end (much like CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, actually)!

David Rintoul offers no real challenge to Lon Chaney Jr.'s definitive werewolf - or Oliver Reed from CURSE, for that matter; in fact, the most notable cast members are the three top-billed veterans: Hugh Griffith is the owner of the traveling show who raises the wolf-boy (though he disappears from the narrative after the first 20 minutes or so) and Ron Moody plays the eccentric zoo-keeper who employs Rintoul (and whose grounds are used as recreation area by the prostitutes, which is how the young man meets his beloved!), but the film truly belongs to Cushing as the unflappable police surgeon - I've rarely seen him so relaxed (particularly during this latter phase of his career) and he's clearly enjoying every minute of it...though his character gradually turns sleuth and, ultimately, bent on 'treating' Rintoul rather than capturing him (but such radical ideas are not shared by his convention-bound colleagues).

The film also generates some tension during Rintoul's confrontation scenes with his girl's madame (at one point, he even breaks into the brothel through a window to assault a client), as well as the climax set in the Paris sewers (which had allowed the werewolf to move about without being seen).

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