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Son of Frankenstein Details


The most elaborate--and longest--of Universal's series, Son of Frankenstein represents Boris Karloff's last appearance in the role of the Monster. The title character is played by Basil Rathbone, who with wife Josephine Hutchinson and son Donnie Donegan returns to the Old Country to take over his late father's estate. Rathbone receives a cool reception from the local villagers, who remember all too well the havoc wreaked by his father's monstrous creation. Though he assures his neighbors that he has no intention of following in his father's footsteps, Rathbone is hounded by suspicious town constable Lionel Atwill, whose stiff artificial arm is an unfortunate legacy of an earlier confrontation with Karloff. Also hanging around Frankenstein Castle is crazed shepherd Bela Lugosi), whose neck was broken in an unsuccessful hanging attempt. Lugosi wishes to exact revenge on the city fathers who'd tried to execute him, and to that end persuades Rathbone to revive the hideous Karloff. At first resistant, Rathbone becomes as obsessed as his father with the notion of creating artificial life. Now the fun begins, directed with Germanic intensity by Rowland V. Lee. Though Mel Brooks's Mel Brooks has rendered Son of Frankenstein virtually impossible to take seriously, the film remains an excellent marriage of the slick, sanitized production values of the "New Universal" and the Gothic zeitgeist of the earlier epics. Best line: Lugosi, looking over the dormant body of The Monster, explains raspily that "He does...things...for me." Hans J. Salter's intense musical score for Son of Frankenstein would continue to resurface in Universal's Mel Brooks B pictures of the 1940s. Watch for Ward Bond in a bit part as a police officer...and see if you can spot Dwight Frye, whose supporting part was excised from the final release print, among the villagers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:January 13, 1939


Basil Rathbone
as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
Boris Karloff
as The Monster
Bela Lugosi
as Ygor
Lionel Atwill
as Inspector Krogh
Josephine Hutchinson
as Elsa von Frankenstein
Donnie Dunagan
as Peter von Frankenstein
Emma Dunn
as Amelia
Edgar Norton
as Thomas Benson
Perry Ivins
as Fritz
Lawrence Grant
as Burgomaster
Lionel Belmore
as Emil Lang
Michael Mark
as Ewald Neumuller
Gustav von Seyffertitz
as Burgher
Clarence H. Wilson
as Dr. Berger
Eddie Parker
Edward Cassidy
as Dr. Berger
Carole Cook
as Frau Neumuller
Harry Cording
as Gendarme
Bud Wolfe
Dwight Frye
as Villager
Ward Bond
as Gendarme
Tom Ricketts
as Burgher


Rowland V. Lee
Rowland V. Lee
George Robinson
Lionel Newman
Musical Direction/Supervision
Frank Skinner
Composer (Music Score)
Charles Previn
Musical Direction/Supervision
Ted Kent
Jack Otterson
Art Director
Vera West
Costume Designer
John P. Fulton
Special Effects
Fred Frank
First Assistant Director
Jack P. Pierce