Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Robert Arthur for Universal
directed by Charles Barton
starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney jr, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lénore Aubert, Jane Rudolph, Frank Ferguson, Charles Bradstreet, Howard Negley, Clarence Straight, Paul Stader, Vincent Price (voice)
screenplay by Robert Lees, Frederic I.Rinaldo, John Grant, music by Frank Skinner, animation sequence directed by Walter Lantz
Abbott & Costello, Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Frankenstein, Universal's Dracula, Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
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McDougal (Frank Ferguson) runs a house of horrors, and as its main
attractions he has bought DRacula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein's monster
(Glenn Strange). However, both the vampire and the monster are not really
dead, and they soon escape the house of horrors ... and only Larry Talbot
(Lon Chaney jr), who has the habit of turning into a werewolf every full
moon (and for some reason it's full moon every night in this film), knows
about it and knows they have to be stopped.
Actually it turns out that Dracula has the plan of giving the
Frankenstein monster a new brain (god knows why) with the help of Doctor
Sandra Mornay (Lénore Aubert) - which is where baggage carriers Chick
(Bud Abbott) and Wilbur (Lou Costello) are thrown into the story because
Doc Sandra thinks that dim-witted Wilbur has the perfect brain for such an
operation. Much to and fro and typical Abbott & Costello comedy
follows until in the end, Chick and Wilbur and defeat the monsters and Doc
Sandra too with the help of the Wolf Man - who perishes in the proceedings
-, lovely home office investigator Joan (Jane Randolph) and Doc Sandra's
assistant Stevens (Charles Bradstreet) - who has grown quite suspicous of
Doc Sandra and whom officer Joan eventually becomes attached to.
Vincent Price (or rather his voice) has an amusing cameo as the
Invisible Man at the end of the movie.
After the direction Universal's all-star monster movies were
taking, it was only a question of time before the series would take a turn
towards all-out comedy, as it did with Abbott & Costello Meet
Frankenstein. Of course, the film is not the comical triumph it could
have been, the rather lame comedy of Abbott & Costello,
which mainly relies on tired slapstick routines and old jokes that are
often even repeated more than once in this film alone sees to that - but
somehow it is refreshing to see Universal's established horror
personnel (Lon Chaney jr, Bela Lugosi - returning to Dracula after 17
years - and Glenn Strange) playing their roles straight in a comedy such
as this, plus the authentic Universal horror sets and low-key
lighting are doing wonders to make the film more enjoyable than it
actually is (which, come to think of it, doesn't really make sense).
So if you like old-fashioned horror Universal-style and can
overlook the tired shenanigans of Abbott & Costello -
which is hard some times - you will probably enjoy this film.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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