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The Wolf Man Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

"Even a man who is pure at heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms/And the moon is full and bright." Upon first hearing these words, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) dismisses them as childish folderol. After all, this is the 20th Century; how can a human being turn into a werewolf? Talbot soon learns how when he attempts to rescue Jenny Williams (Fay Helm) from a nocturnal attack by a wolf. Collapsing, Talbot discovers upon reviving that Jenny is dead-and, lying by her side, is not the body of a beast, but of a gypsy named Bela (Bela Lugosi). The son of fortune teller Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya), Bela was a lycanthrope, or "wolf man." And now that he has been bitten by Bela, Talbot is cursed to suffer the torments of the damned whenever the moon is full. Arguably the best of the "original" Universal horrors (original in the sense that it was not based on an existing literary property, a la Frankenstein, Dracula and The Invisible Man), The Wolf Man boasts one of the most stellar casts ever to grace a "B" picture: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy, Warren William, Patric Knowles, Maria Ouspenskaya and Bela Lugosi. The man-to-wolf transformation sequences -- one of which took a full 24 hours to film -- are thoroughly convincing, thanks to the cosmetic genius of Jack P. Pierce (Chaney had wanted to emulate his father by developing his own werewolf makeup, but existing union rules would not permit this). Alas, after this powerhouse opening volley, the Wolf Man character was relegated to a series of cheap sequels, teaming him with other Universal shock stars: Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945). The final ignominy was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1945), in which Lawrence Talbot (Chaney again), having been cured of lycanthropy in House of Dracula, reverts to his werewolf status -- and has to endure the one-liners of Lou Costello to boot! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:December 12, 1941

Cast

Lon Chaney, Jr.
as Wolfman/Larry Talbot
Claude Rains
as Sir John Talbot
Warren William
as Dr. Lloyd
Evelyn Ankers
as Gwen Conliffe
Ralph Bellamy
as Capt. Paul Montford
Bela Lugosi
as Bela
Patric Knowles
as Frank Andrews
Maria Ouspenskaya
as Maleva
J.M. Kerrigan
as Charles Conliffe
Fay Helm
as Jenny Williams
Forrester Harvey
as Victor Twiddle
Ottola Nesmith
as Mrs. Bally
Harry Stubbs
as Reverend Norman
Tom Stevenson
as Richardson, the Graveyard Digger
Martha Vickers
Eric Wilton
as Chauffeur
Harry Cording
as Wykes
Caroline Cooke
as Woman
Jessie Arnold
as Gypsy Woman
Doris Lloyd
as Mrs. Williams
Kurt Katch
as Gypsy with Bear
Connie Leon
as Mrs. Wykes
Gibson Gowland
as Villager
Olaf Hytten
as Villager
Leyland Hodgson
as Kendall

Crew

George Waggner
Director
George Waggner
Producer
Curt Siodmak
Screenwriter
Joseph A. Valentine
Cinematographer
Hans Salter
Composer (Music Score)
Charles Previn
Composer (Music Score)
Charles Previn
Musical Direction/Supervision
Frank Skinner
Composer (Music Score)
Ted Kent
Editor
Jack Otterson
Art Director
George Waggner
Associate Producer
Vera West
Costume Designer
Jack P. Pierce
Makeup
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