Day 20: The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Cast: Bela Lugosi as Ygor
Lon Chaney Jr. as The Monster
Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein
Ralph Bellamy as Erik Ernst
Lionel Atwill as Dr. Theodore Bohmer
Evelyn Ankers as Elsa Frankenstein
Story by Eric Taylor
Screenplay by W. Scott Darling
Directed by Erle C. Kenton (Island of Lost Souls)
Plot: In the fourth film of the Frankenstein series, Ygor has survived and, courtesy of some overzealous villagers with dynamite, the Monster is resurrected. After being captured for doing a good deed, the Monster is brought to Ludwig, another son of Frankenstein. Ludwig decides to replace his brain in an effort to restore the family name and honor. However, one of Ludwig’s associates and Ygor have their own evil plans.
Personal Thoughts: This is a good follow-up to Son of Frankenstein (1939) despite the lack of explanation how Ygor survived and why the villagers are all distraught again. Lugosi slips back into the role of Ygor seamlessly. It’s nice to see Lugosi working for Universal again during a time that he was relegated to low budget flicks at such studios as Monogram. As a fun side trip, stop the movie once the Monster regains his energy from the lightning and read the novella Fit for a Frankenstein. Authors Paul McComas and Greg Starrett have fun with the explanation of how the Monster gets a new suit.
- The Frankenstein series is now relegated to “B” movie status with reduced budgets.
- Scenes from Frankenstein (1931) are used in a flashback sequence with Chaney’s Monster replacing the image of Boris Karloff.
- Sir Cedric Hardwicke portrays the ghost of his father.
- The Monster regains the ability to speak, this time in the voice of Lugosi. His subsequent blindness explains why he walks with outstretched arms, a now typical way of depicting the Monster.
- Last time the Monster appears in a Universal film as a solo star.