Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Wolf Man tries to warn a dimwitted porter that Dracula wants his brain for Frankenstein monster's body.The Wolf Man tries to warn a dimwitted porter that Dracula wants his brain for Frankenstein monster's body.The Wolf Man tries to warn a dimwitted porter that Dracula wants his brain for Frankenstein monster's body.
'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
- Nov 16, 2004