Adequate Documentary That Leaves You Wanting to See More
As a monster kid from way back, I enjoy much of the attention and adulation that these movies have garnered over the years. But what has always been a pet peeve is that some of the "lesser" films like The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Old Dark House, etc...never get the same kind of pomp as Dracula and Frankenstein. I can understand why, but films like these have had just as much a powerful if not indeed more subtle influence. Well, here David Skaal, making documentaries for the big Universal horror films for DVD release around 2000, does his tribute for James Whale's revolutionary science fiction film - a film that had breakthrough technology at the time, used the Whale style to perfection, and made Claude Rains into a star. It had four sequels - granted only the second one near the quality of this, but all were fun. It had countless imitations as recent as the horrible Hollow Man and its sequel. This documentary chronicles the production of the film fusing anecdotal history with facts. We get interviews with some second-hand observers like Jessica Rains(telling a wonderful story about how her father took her to see this film for the first time as a child, Curtis Harrington(who had met and knew James Whale), and some film historians. There are plentiful scenes too. The documentary runs 35 minutes and though I found their analysis of the first film quite good, the rest of the sequels are lucky enough to get a mention. I would have liked to have seen some more on them as they are the films least known. Skaal does a great job with these documentaries as evidenced by the wonderful ones completed for Dracula, Frankenstein, and even The Mummy, but this one falls a little short on their scale. It definitely left me wanting to see more.
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