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Werewolf of London

USA 1935
produced by
Universal
directed by Stuart Walker
starring Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews, Lawrence Grant, Spring Byington, Clark Williams, J.M.Kerrigan, Charlotte Granville, Ethel Griffies, Zeffie Tilbury, Jeanne Bartlett
special effects by John P. Fulton

Universal Horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

... for a second opinion by Dale Pierce, Click Here !

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In Tibet, botanist Dr Glendon (Henry Hull) finds one of the rarest plants imaginable, the Marifasa, a plant that only blooms at moonlight - but the price he has to pay for it is high as immediately after finding the Marifasa he is attacked by a wolflike creature ...

Weeks later in London, Glendon locks himself away in his lab for days on end & tries to create artificial moonlight to bring the flower to bloom - & his wife, lovely Lisa (Valerie Hobson), feels understandably neglected, which leads her to spend more & more time with her childhood love Paul Ames (Lester Matthews).

At a social gathering Lisa has arranged at their mansion, Glendon meets Oriental Dr Yogami (Warner Oland), a sinister character who claims the Marifasa is the only cure of lycanthropy (medical term for the sickness that turns humans into werewolves) ...

Some time later, when Glendon's hand is exposed to his moonlight lamp, he notices it grows all hairy - as if he would be turning into a wolf ... & yes the next full moon, he really turns into a werewolf & starts killing people.

Soon he realizes it's much too dangerous to stay with the woman he loves & he distances himself from her, both by closing her out of his life & by moving away from home. But at the first cheap motel he stays he can't supress his lethal instincts & kills some people ... so he decides to spend the next night at his & Lisa's country estate all locked up - but to little avail, since as a wolf he has superhuman strength & breaks out of his self imposed prison, and Lisa has picked exactly that day to come to the country estate with Paul. Werewolf Glendon would have even killed Lisa hadn't it been for Paul ...

But Paul also seems to have recoginzed the werewolf as Glendon & reports it to the police ... but since another werewolf murder happened at thew same time 150 miles away from the country estate, the police refuses to believe Paul.

& the victim of this murder was ... Dr Yogami's housekeeper, as Yogami proves to be a werewolf as well, the one who has bitten & infected Glendon in the first place.

& Yogami comes to Glendon's lab just when Glendon has - with the help of his moonlight lamp - finally caused the Marifasa to bloom, & he could now heal himself - woulnd't it be for Yogami trying to steal the plant.

Yogami & Glendon get into a fight & Glendon starts turning into a werewolf & kills Yogami, then even attacks his own wife Lisa, when the police has finally caught up with Yogami - whom they think to be the only werewolf - & shoot Glendon ...

 

Universal's first foray into the werewolf movie genre proves to have an at times interesting script, that as a whole is too convoluted though to convince, especially since some of the concepts of it (e.g. the moonlight lamp) are downright silly & only distract from the main narrative. A direction that doesn't necessarily get too involved with its subject matter doesn't help too much either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

... and a second opinion by Dale Pierce ...

 

Henry Hull plays a botanist on an expedition to Tibet finds a rare flower which among other things, has the power to cure werewolfism. As he attempts to take the plant, a werewolf leaps out from behind the rocks and tries to stop him, bites him and gets fended off by a knife blow.

Back in London, the scientist studies the plant and forgets his injuries, only to discover, surprise, surprise, that he has become a werewolf himself. Adding to his problems is a visit from a stranger, in fact an old acquaintance, the werewolf (played by Oland at his most sinister) who attacked him in Tibet and caused all the trouble to begin with. He of course, wants the plant and its healing powers, which said infected botonist has not yet completely harnessed.

Well, the Oland-wolf ends up dead and the Hull-wolf continues to terrorize London until he is shot by police. Interestingly enough there are two things here, not utilized in future wolfman type movies. First, Hull's werewolf is capable of speech, even blurting out "Thanks for the bullet" to the officer who killed him. Secondly, regular bullets, rather than silver ones, do the trick here.

There are some interesting special effects and scenes in this 1935 vehicle. One of the transformation scenes shows the scientist turning from man to wolf as he passes between rows of test tubes, with each row showing him in sequence, turning hairier and uglier. Likewise, in a bit of black humor, the werewolf is seen growling at or perhaps communicating with a real wolf in a cage in a zoo.

Hull lived to be a very old individual. In his last years of life, Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine sought to boost his morale by running an article, Henry Hull Would Like To hear From You and forwarding fan letters to him, to prove he was not forgotten. He was clearly remembered and the amount of mail was supposedly staggering. He died a happy man.

Hull had many other roles over the years, including Hitchcock's Lifeboat, but it is for this piece he is best recalled. Some maintain this is the first movie to ever depict a werewolf on the screen, which may or may not be true. It might be, as the famous Chaney piece, The Wolfman, did not come out until 1941, again if memory serves me right.

 

review © by Dale Pierce

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD