The Wolf Man (1941)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Release Date - Dec 12, 1941 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

The Wolf Man may no longer have the ability to frighten even the faint of heart but it remains a literate and quite adult fairy tale of love, lust and redemption, and with the story of the return of the prodigal son thrown in for good measure. And while George Waggner may not have been the most visually exciting of directors, the powers-at-be at Universal made the good choice of filming nearly the entire story on an eerily fog-bound sound stage, thus creating a strangely enticing and claustrophobic realm for their lycanthrope to roam. The sets compliment The Wolf Man's cast of characters, who may pretend to be British, or foreigners living in Britain, but are really the same villagers and bureaucrats that earlier occupied the mittel-European forests and mountains of Dracula and Frankenstein. While Universal far from overextended themselves with production values, the studio cast no less than six present or former leading men, an odd situation that goes a long way in explaining why leading lady Evelyn Ankers was forced to accept seventh billing. Lon Chaney, meanwhile, creates his one truly memorable horror character in Larry Talbot by adding a great dose of his Lennie of Of Mice and Men (1939) to Jack Pierce's standard Universal creature makeup.