Universal Classic Horror Movie #4 – Werewolf of London
Okay, with the long weekend and my road trip over, it's time to get back to my Universal monster-movie viewing. I had assumed that this movie was a sequel to The Wolfman, but no, upon closer examination, I discovered it was actually made six years earlier, in 1935. At first, I wondered why another werewolf movie had taken so long to make, but after watching this version, all became clear. No one was in any hurry to resurrect this character. By the end of the film, I certainly wanted this guy dead and audiences obviously felt the same. But let’s begin at the beginning. Botanist Dr. Wilfred Glendon returns to London with a rare flower he sought and discovered in Tibet. He also returns with the bite of a werewolf, which causes him to change into one himself during a full moon. Only a substance from his new flower can provide an antidote. So off he goes to his basement laboratory to work on the antidote, but the disease and his research puts a strain on his relationship with his wife, who is still blatantly interested in her old boyfriend. It says a lot about the cold, aloof character of Glendon that it had me hoping she'd leave him for the old boyfriend. His research does not go well at first and he realizes he will not have an antidote in time to prevent his transformation. Once transformed, he does what any werewolf would do: puts on his hat and cape and takes to the streets of London in search of a victim. He also takes time out to rent a room in which to transform secretly and the two old landladies at the boarding house provide an odd, almost slapstick, diversion from the main story. Anyway, back in the lab, his research is complicated by the arrival of a fellow werewolf from Tibet, who also wants, and eventually gets, the flower in question. Transforming once more, Glendon quickly disposes of his nemesis and eventually goes in search of his wife (the essential fainting female character – no movie is complete without one). Just in time, of course, our heroes arrive, shooting the werewolf and treating us to a rather dramatic death scene. And so ends my classic werewolf movie viewing for this Halloween season. I think I’ll stick with Lon Chaney as my future werewolf of choice.