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On his wedding day, the Marques (Anthony Dawson) is visited by a beggar
(Richard Wordsworth), but instead of giving him food from his overflowing
tables, he humiliates the man, then throws him into jail. There, the
beggar is forgotten by everyone but the jailer's mute daughter (Yvonne
Romain), who makes friends with him. But the jailer's daughter eventually
grows up to a beautiful woman, and eventually, The Marques, who has grown
peculiar over the years, tries to rape her. When she refuses, he has her
thrown into jail, where the beggar rapes her for real (why escapes me
though, after all, she was his friend).
Eventually, the girl gets out of jail again, and pays a visit to the
Marques, pretending to want to apologize ... but actually, she just stabs
him, then runs off ...
Eventually, the girl is found, totally exhausted, by Don Alfredo
(Clifford Evans) and his maid Teresa (hHira Talfrey), who take care of her
and soon discover that she is pregnant. Eventually, she has the baby and
disappears from the picture, while Don Alfredo and Teresa raise him, named
Leon, as their own son.
A few years later: Several sheep are killed by a wolf, whom the local
watchman Pepe (Warren Mitchell) seems to be unable to find - until one day
their ways cross, and Pepe shoots the wolf in the leg. But somehow the
wolf manages to disappear completely. Only that same night, Don Alfredo
finds out that little Leon (Justin Walters) was hit by a bullet, even if
he claims he hasn't been out. And another thing, Leon starts growing body
hair every time he is in a stressful situation and it is night ... so in
case you wondered, yes, he is a werewolf. But Don Alfredo figures he can
cure the boy's predicament with love and understanding, which works nicely
for a while.
Years later: Leon is now grown up (and played by Oliver Reed) when he
decides to leave home and work at a winery. There he soon falls in love
with Cristina (Catherine Feller), but she is promised to someone else by
her father - reason enough for him to encounter emotional distress and
once again turn into a werewolf, killing both a prostitute and his best
friend José (Martin Matthews). However, the next night when he's with
Cristina he finds out her honest and true love can subdue his condition
... but by then the police has already found him out as the killer of the
prostitute and José, and he is thrown into jail.
Don Alfredo makes a desperate attempt to have the boy set free, but to
no avail, since noone seems to believe his werewolf-tale - but that night,
Leon turns into a werewolf once again, breaks the bars of his prison with
the greatest of ease and roams the city, with the terrified townsfolks
reduced to watch in horror.
Only Don Alfredo figures what to do, and so he fetches a gun loaded
with a silver bullet and shoots his son ...
Part horror and part period piece and as such divided into two seperate
parts - the very long prologue about the beggar and the mute jailer's
daughter and the actual werewolf story - this film is probably not on par
with Hammer's/Terence Fisher's earlier horror-outings like Curse
of Frankenstein or Dracula,
however taken on its own terms the film is still pretty good: Despite
falling into two seperate parts the film's story remains pretty involving
throughout (even despite some plotholes or leaps of reason), the acting is
of course first class and Terence Fisher's direction is marvelous (if
traditional) and his full use of lush colours in the context of the horror
genre to this day remains breathtaking. Watch it !