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The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Approved | | Horror | 7 June 1961 (USA)
In 18th Century Spain, an adopted boy becomes a werewolf and terrorizes the inhabitants of his town.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as John Elder), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Alfredo
... Leon
... Servant Girl
... Cristina
... The Marques Siniestro
Josephine Llewellyn ... The Marquesa
Richard Wordsworth ... The Beggar
Hira Talfrey ... Teresa
Justin Walters ... Young Leon
John Gabriel ... The Priest
... Pepe Valiente
... Rosa Valiente
... Dominique
... Old Soak
... Don Fernando
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Storyline

In Spain, Leon is born on Christmas day to a mute servant girl who was raped by a beggar. His mother dies giving birth and he is looked after by Don Alfredo. As a child Leon becomes a werewolf after having been taken hunting. As a young man, he works in a wine cellar and falls in love with the owner's daughter Cristina. One full moon, he again turns into a werewolf and terrifies the town. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He fought the hideous curse of his evil birth, but his ravished victims were proof that the cravings of his beast-blood demanded he kill... Kill... KILL! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 June 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Curse of Siniestro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Makeup-artist Roy Ashton based his makeup for this film on Jack P. Pierce's makeup for The Wolf Man (1941). See more »

Goofs

When Leon is taken to the bawdy bar or nightclub, a modern (twentieth-century) roulette wheel is seen with gamblers surrounding it. Since the story takes place in the early to mid-eighteenth century, it would have been impossible for the roulette wheel to be there. Even earlier iterations of the roulette wheel only existed in Europe during the very late eighteenth century. Complicating issues further, roulette was outlawed in Spain throughout much of the twentieth century; and, roulette wheels were extraordinarily expensive. It would have been exceptional for a small village to have access to a roulette wheel even as late as the early-twentieth century. Suffice it to say that the roulette wheel and table's presence in the film is highly ahistorical. See more »

Connections

Referenced in An American Werewolf in London (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A superb addition to the cinematic annals of lycanthrope
19 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

A modest werewolf "epic" that never feels formulaic in the hands of director Terence Fisher and writer Anthony Hinds. The film is one of Hammer's most accomplished and deals with the subject of lycanthrope with some imagination. Young Leon (Justin Walters), the consequence of a rape, is born with what appears to be a dormant werewolf gene that is awakened when he tastes the warm, "sweet" blood of a bird. Unable to resist his true nature, he starts killing livestock in a small rural community. His juvenile rampage doesn't last long because the local priest (John Gabriel) identifies his condition and encourages his adopted parents to shower him with love and affection, convinced that it is love that will keep the boy's desires at bay. Clearly, the priest's faith in love is not misplaced, because, ten year's later, the adult Leon (nicely played by Oliver Reed), who has just left home, is only a wolf with the women. He falls hard for the daughter of his employer, but when he is deprived of her love, his lycanthrope surfaces and the killings begin again, only this time he leaves the livestock alone.

The film is a character drama in werewolf clothing, and, though it references genre classics such as "The Wolfman", "The Werewolf of London", and even "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in its climax, it is still very much its own animal. There is a welcome depth to the performances and Reed's acceptance of his condition and desire to be destroyed gives the piece a fine sense of tragedy.

Unlke the genre films of today, which make this feel like something made on another planet, "The Curse of the Werewolf" really takes its time to establish a solid foundation for its horror and is a refreshing product of far less cynical times in which human warmth was seen as essential, not "uncool".

The last shot, in my opinion, is flawed. When the dead werewolf is flipped onto his side by his adopted father, he is not shown, in death, as having returned to his former state as represented by Oliver Reed.

A fine achievement.


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