Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Werewolf of London


Dir: Stuart Walker (Great Expecations (1934), The False Madonna)
Cast: Henry Hull, Warnar Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews, Lawrence Grant
USA, 1935

Seen: April 18, 2010

Reason to Watch & Review: For The Wolfathon *

My first reaction to Werewolf of London was relief that it was awesome. After last weeks The Wolf Man (1941) I was getting a little worried about this howlalicious marathon, but now I'm feeling right back on track. After relief came surprize, as it's an American film! I initially assumed it was UK considering the whole 'London' in the title, but now that I think about it that is only thing (other than accents) that reads non-American. Foiled again.

As a first time viewing it reminded me of a few things - one of which is that I love films of the 30's! There is a lovely joie de vivre in them, a lightness in tone even when placed in a monster movie. Another thing that could be tied to the time is that the women in the film rock. None are them are overly prominate in the film, but they are all strong and very forward, often in a comedic element but lovely nonetheless. The protagonist of the film is botanist Dr. Glendon (played by Harry Hull), whom we follow in his journeys in science and their interesting effects on his world. This added a classic crazy scientist element to the film, even though the botanist isn't all that crazy it still gives it that great old school horror feel, which makes up for it not being all that scary. The effects were quite well done, and that was surprizing considering it's 6 years before The Wolf Man (1941), although similar techniques seemed to be used they are executed much better hear. Even the use of blocking is incorporated much smoother here.

I didn't find it played with themes too much, focusing much more on the story and journey of the characters. If anything, it does touch on the horror or remorse, a theme I think we'll find common in werewolf films. Considering this is the earliest film on werewolves I've found I'm very interested to see it's influence on the other werewolf films as we go along.

Shannon's Overall View:
I really enjoyed it
I'll buy it
I'd recommend it to fans of classic horror

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

* The Wolfathon is a marathon exploring werewolf films in anticipation of the 2010 release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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