Day 13 – Son of Frankenstein (1939)

SOF posterDay 13: Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Cast:      Bela Lugosi as Ygor
Basil Rathbone as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
Boris Karloff as The Monster
Lionel Atwill as Krogh

Suggested by the story written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Screenplay by Willis Cooper
Directed by Rowland V. Lee (Tower of London)

Plot: The saga of the Frankenstein Monster, started in Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) continues here though many years later. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, the son of the Monster’s creator, returns to his family castle with his wife Elsa and son Peter. Wolf wants to restore his father’s reputation but the villagers want no part of it. When Wolf discovers that the criminal Ygor has the body of the Monster in the ruins of his father’s laboratory, he starts down the path of madness to bring life back to the Monster. However, as a trail of murders occur and lead to all things Frankenstein, could history be repeating itself?SOF 2

Personal Thoughts: Lugosi returns to Universal in the supporting role of Ygor that, at times, surpasses Karloff’s portrayal of the Monster. He gives us one of his best and most memorable roles. Thankfully, director Rowland Lee fought hard enough for Lugosi to have the lines he did and to receive the salary he earned. The stellar cast makes this one a classic and Lugosi blends in so well whenever he is on screen, whether in the court room or in the castle remains. Speaking of which, the expansive sets really make this film beautiful to look at. While we see Ygor “killed” at the end, it was Lugosi’s performance that played a big part in Ygor ultimately returning some three years later. Highly recommended!

Trivia:

  • This is the longest of the Universal Frankenstein films, clocking in at 99 minutes.
  • Planned to be filmed in Technicolor but reverted to black and white as production began. Home footage of Karloff as the Monster in color still exists.
  • The Monster loses the ability to speak that he developed in the previous movie (and will regain again in the next).
  • Last time Karloff played the Monster in a feature film.
  • Jack Pierce once again did the incredible make-up work of the Monster.
  • This film revitalized Universal’s horror film genre.

SOF 1Availability:

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