Saturday, October 01, 2005

Werewolves in London

Miss Maven is back and ready with our first entry in our Halloween Marathon for October!!
We are starting off with Werewolves . . . specifically, Werewolves of London.
(Courtesy of Courtlandt Hull's
We'll begin with "The Werewolf of London" (1935) with Henry Hull.
It's a mustsee and, in my humble opinion, a gottahave movie.
Yes, yes, I know.
Henry Hull ain't no Lon Chaney, father OR son.
But he was an excellent actor with a distinguished career on Broadway as well as in Hollywood. (He was even in "Once Exciting Night," by D.W. Griffith, that my dear Aunt Battie loves!!)
You do feel sympathy for his Dr. Wilfred Glendon early on in the movie when he's traveling in Tibet for the mariphasa lupina, a very rare flower.
(Courtesy of Cortlandt Hull's
Universal throws a wrench in the mood, however, when Warner Oland turns up as a werewolf. It's hard to keep from laughing as you watch him!
Things change once Dr. Glendon and Dr. Yogami get back to London.
They meet at a botanical gathering at Glendon's house where Yogami tells him about lycanthropy.
Henry Hull starts playing Glendon as a somewhat sympathetic person but you want to hit him over the head sometimes when he's sarcastic and/or rude to those around him, including his wife, Lisa (played by Valerie Hobson).
This part of Warner Oland's performance reminds me of Boris Karloff's ability to draw the audience to him because he's such a nice guy in such pain . . . you just WANT him to get hold of the flowers to let him out of his pain.
The make-up for "The Werewolf of London" was done by Universal's Jack P. Pierce, who did their other monsters from their heyday, from the Frankenstein Monster on.
Pierce wanted to make Hull more wolfish, as he eventually did with Lon Chaney, Jr., but Hull didn't want that much of his face covered.
So Henry Hull's Werewolf is better than Warner Oland's "Werewolf" but neither one is near as effective as Chaney's in "The Wolf Man."
(Just don't ask me to explain Warner Oland's make-up!)
What make this a great movie, though is the overall acting from Hobson, Spring Byington, Lester Matthews, etc., plus a great script and production values.
(You might want to check out www.preservehollywood.org that is run by Henry Hull's nephew, Cortlandt Hull. It's The Witch's Dungeon and worth the mouse-clicks!
We also have June Lockart in "She-Wolf of London." I think it's worth watching, again because of the acting--You have Dennis Hoey, Sarah Haden, Don Porter, etc., plus a script and production but . . . .
You don't ever "see" the she-wolf but it's hard not to guess who it is early on.
Plus, June Lockhart build a distinguished career in Hollywood but you just want to hit her upside the head in this movie for whining so much and tell her to get a life!
Tomorrow will be "The Wolf Man" with Lon Chaney, Jr.!
Now I'd like to take a moment and thank my Aunt Battie for taking over for the last few days.
Battie, you done a bang-up job!
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Please try Jonathan Geffner's
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