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The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 13 March 1942 (USA)
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 one.

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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 / Ghost of Henry Frankenstein (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
... Erik Ernst
... Doctor Theodore Bohmer
... Ygor
... Elsa Frankenstein
Janet Ann Gallow ... Cloestine Hussman
Barton Yarborough ... Dr. Kettering
... Martha
... Chief Constable
Olaf Hytten ... Hussman
... Magistrate
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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:

You can't keep a good monster down! 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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dwight Frye appears as 2 different characters. First as one of the villagers who destroys the Frankenstein castle at the beginning of the film. Later in flashbacks to the original Frankenstein (1931) where he played Fritz, the hunchbacked assistant to the original Dr. Frankenstein. See more »

Goofs

When Elsa is reading Dr. Frankenstein's notes, we see flashbacks of the monster being created, superimposed on the screen over the notes. When Elsa gets to the part of the notes that reads, "And now to find a brain", the flashbacks have shown the monster charged with electricity and brought to life and although in proper history, the brain was put in first the flashbacks are meant to be Elsa imagining the creation of the monster. Having never known about the monster she would not have known that the brain was first. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Villager: There's a curse upon this village, the curse of Frankenstein.
Crowd: Aye.
Older Villager: Aye, it is true. The whole countryside shuns the village. Our fields are barren, the inn is empty.
Village Mother of Hungry Children: My little ones cry in their sleep. They are hungry. There is no bread.
Older Villager: It's the curse, the curse of Frankenstein.
Mayor: This is nonsense, folks. You talk as though these were the Dark Ages. You know as well as I do that the monster died in the sulfur pit under Frankenstein's tower. And that Ygor, his familiar, was riddled ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The George Lazenby of Frankenstein
6 May 2004 | by 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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