No description available for this title. — Item Type: DVD Movie — Item Rating: NR — Street Date: 07/24/07 — Wide Screen: no — Director Cut: no — Special Edition: no — Language: ENGLISH — Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no — Dubbed: no — ... more »Full Frame: yes
Two unrelated films: one interesting, the other forgettable
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 06/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Despite Universal's claim on the DVD that this is a "Wolf Man Double Feature," neither of these films have any connection to the series of movies starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the werewolf-cursed Larry Talbot. The two films also have no connection to each other, but Universal apparently couldn't pass up the similarity of their titles to create this double-feature DVD. The films couldn't be farther apart. "WereWolf of London" was released in 1935, near the peak of Universal's first horror cycle that includes "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," "The Invisible Man," and "The Bride of Frankenstein" (also 1935). "She-Wolf of London" made it to theaters in 1946, just as Universal's horror films were about to die completely, and is more a traditional, bland murder mystery than horror film."WereWolf of London" is probably the least talked about original horror film from Universal's classic era. It has some excellent points, such as Jack Pierce's clever makeup, interesting visual effects, and some well-done sequences, but overall it's a sluggish film. Stage actor Henry Hull plays scientist Dr. Wilfred Glendon, who gets a werewolf bite while he is searching for a bizarre rare plant in Tibet (which looks strangely like Southern California). He starts transforming at night and tries to kill the thing he loves most, in this case his wife (played by seventeen-year-old British actress Valeria Hobson, who played Elizabeth in "The Bride of Frankenstein" that same year). The blooms of the rare plant are the only thing that can stop the transformation, but a mysterious Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland, most famous for playing Dr. Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan, even though he's Swedish) tries to steal the flower buds for his own purposes. Hull hams up his part too much, and the continuous 'comedy' involving drunk old British ladies gets annoying very quickly. Oland and Hobson, however, are quite good in their roles. Originally Bela Lugosi was attached to play Dr. Yogami, but Oland brings a subtlety to the part that is genuinely creepy -- especially since everyone else goes over the top. The werewolf makeup is subdued because Hull didn't want his features too obscured, but makeup wizard Jack Pierce did a nice job at giving Hull wolfish features. This is, however, an incredibly polite werewolf: he never forgets to put on a hat, coat, and scarf before he goes on one of his rampages!"She-Wolf of London," is dull, dull, dull...and not much of a horror film at all. Supposedly taking place in London at the turn of the century (or so the title card tells us), the design looks fairly modern and many of the actors have not the slightest trace of an English accent ("WereWolf of London" got that right at least). The ending is also a terrible cheat that defeats the whole point of watching the movie in the first place. The story follows heiress Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart, of TV's "Lassie" and "Lost in Space"), who wished to marry Barry Lanfield (Don Porter), but believes she is the victim of a family curse that turns her into a murdering werewolf at night. When corpses start piling up, Phyllis thinks she is responsible. There are no makeup effects, scares, action, or even attempts at comedy in this film; it trudges along like a boring parlor drama. Even at 61 minutes, it takes too long to get through. The only interesting aspect of this film is it gives viewers a chance to see a true B-programmer from the 1940s. Few of these movies ever make it DVD, and I'm surprised this one did.Werewolf fans and Universal horror buffs will want to see this disc. Casual viewers might find some entertainment in "WereWolf of London," but probably won't make it through "She-Wolf of London"...but even Universal horror nuts will find this film slow going."
Two overlooked but impressive Universal werewolf films
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These two films could not be more different, and both are unmistakably distinct from the Universal werewolf films starring Lon Chaney, Jr., as the afflicted Larry Talbot, yet I think they both work marvelously. Many fans don't care for them, especially She-Wolf in London, but I find both films equally compelling. They differ significantly from the storyline running through Chaney's later Wolf Man films, but these two films have a great deal of their own to offer fans. Often overlooked and unduly dismissed by some reviewers and horror fans, these are two classic werewolf films. Werewolf of London (1935) is actually Universal's first werewolf film - The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Jr., would come six years later. In Werewolf of London, botanist Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) sees his troubles begin in - of all places - Tibet, where he travels in search of the "Marifasa Lupina," a special flower that blooms only in moonlight. He gets his flower, but he also gets a nasty bite from a werewolf in the process. Back home in London, the flower takes on new meaning when a certain Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) pays him a visit and expresses his own interest in the plant. Glendon doesn't believe Yogami's wild tales about werewolves - not until, that is, he turns into one that very night.This isn't your ordinary werewolf. After his transformation, Glendon goes looking for a bloom of the flower (which, while not a cure for his affliction, would prevent him from killing those he loves the most) and then, before heading out into the streets, stops to put on his coat, hat, and scarf. The actual transformations, several of which are shown in the film, are rather impressive for such an early film. He's not overly hairy, but there is a definite look of evil intelligence in his eyes. Of course, you have to have a leading lady in this type of film, and that role is filled quite well by the lovely Valerie Hobson. Warner Oland gives a memorable performance as Yogami, but I must lavish special attention on three older ladies. Spring Byington is quite a hoot as Glendon's rich lush of an aunt, but Ethel Griffies and Zeffie Tilbury absolutely steal the show as Mrs. Whack and Mrs. Moncaster. These two ladies deliver a comic tour de force as inebriated best friends who take a great interest in Glendon when he comes asking to rent a room from one of them. Back in the old days, movie studios (or more likely, censors) didn't think audiences could withstand all of the frights and chills of a harmless monster movie like this without a few stiff doses of comedy thrown in to the mix - oftentimes, such comic relief failed miserably, but here it is spot on. Despite the fact that Glendon is as unsympathetic a character as you can find (the antithesis of Lon Chaney, Jr.'s Larry Talbot), I have to give this movie five stars. The plot has a level of complexity to it that adds to its impact, the makeup and special effects are quite impressive, and the film has that unidentifiable something that a good horror movie must have in order to succeed. Werewolf of London isn't as entertaining as Universal's Wolf Man films of the 1940s, but it is definitely worth watching. She-Wolf of London (1946) rekindles the old traditional horror spirit by recasting the werewolf legend in a framework of psychology and suspense. Most of the comments I read about this movie tend to give the whole idea of the film away, and that's a shame. I went into the movie with no preconceptions, and while I was able to figure out what was going on about halfway through, the film kept me guessing until the very end as to the exact details of the story.Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) should be a happy young lady; she is well off financially and engaged to be married to the man she loves. Unfortunately, though, the "Allenby curse" casts a shadow on her future and supposedly led to the early deaths of her parents. A series of vicious murders in a nearby park points to a big dog or, as one Scotland Yard detective hypothesizes, a werewolf as the culprit. Phyllis awakens one morning to find her shoes muddied and her hands bloodied; when she then hears, at breakfast, that a child was killed during the night, she is sure that the Allenby curse has finally struck her and made her into a she-wolf. She tries to hide herself away in her house, but her fiancée can only stay away so long before he demands the explanation he deserves. The story does a masterful job of building suspense and keeping the ultimate truth about the chronicled events a mystery.Many fans find this film rather boring, but I thought it was a wonderfully crafted and very enjoyable film. By 1946, audiences had already seen Henry Hull and Lon Chaney, Jr., transform into werewolves on several occasions, and it was nice to break away from that mold momentarily. You don't have to show the audience the actual horrors on the screen in order to make an effective horror movie; without a bunch of special effects to fall back on, such a film requires a tight and efficient script, convincing performances by the players, and the manufacture of an increasingly suspenseful atmosphere. She-Wolf of London fits the bill perfectly."
WEREWOLF OF LONDON....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 11/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like this more than the 1941 Chaney classic. Although that one has it's merits like better transformation scenes, "Werewolf of London" has a charm not found in "The Wolf Man". Perhaps it's because it was the first film to tackle a werewolf story and attempt to explain the werewolf mystique in literate terms. It's a fun film regardless. Henry Hull is a botanist bitten by a strange creature while on expedition in Tibet. Back in London, he is warned by a strange fellow scientist that he's doomed. A moonflower is the key to each man's problems and Hull is cultivating it in his laboratory. The other scientist (Warner Oland of Charlie Chan fame) desperately wants it as he is the creature who bit Hull in Tibet. He suffers the curse of the werewolf and now Hull will suffer too. The moonflower is the antidote/cure. Soon Hull is becoming a wolf-man and stalking London under the full moon. Hull's wife (Valerie Hobson) is perplexed by his personality changes and seeks solace with an old boyfriend. But she, too, will be threatened as the werewolf always seeks to kill the thing it loves best. Spring Byington is wonderful as dizzy socialite "Miss Ettie Coombes" a friend of Hobson's who sees the creature and believes it's the devil come to claim her for her "sins". Two boarding house crones also add vignettes when Hull tries to hide out from the moon. One, Ethel Griffies, was years later the bird specialist in the diner scene in Hitchcock's "The Birds"!!! The "Werewolf of London" shows it's age but is still a cornerstone in horror films and a delightful forerunner of things to come. This is a classic."
Need more special features!
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 08/25/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Two of the lesser Universal chillers, that nonetheless look great on DVD. As expected, these Double Features don't have much in the way of extras. All we get are the trailers for the two films. She-Wolf of London is a complete misfire, lacking any real suspense and peopled with unsympathetic characters. Werewolf of London comes out slightly more enjoyable, and [SPOILER ALERT!] at least it actually does have a werewolf in it! The first 8 Universal single-movie releases all had entertaing and thorough documentaries, which included some info on all the sequels coming out now. But I wish they would have tried to get commentary tracks from film historians David Skal or Tom Weaver, as they did with Dracula, The Wolfman, The Creature, etc. If you're a Universal collector, there's no question you'll be adding these to your collection. Just don't expect the quality (in features or the films themselves) of the other "Classic Monster" discs."
"She-Wolf of London"
Rob Robinson | Maryville, Tn. | 03/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I received the Universal "Wolf-Man Double Feature" DVD yesterday, containing "Werewolf of London" and "She-Wolf of London," in order to complete my UNIVERSAL MONSTERS DVD collection.
I'm probably going out on a limb with my opinion, but here goes! You must understand, I'm of the age where I remember with nostalgia, SHOCK THEATRE, which ran on TV in the late 50s and early 60s. This is where I was exposed to and became a lifelong fan of Universal Horror Films, including such non-monster films such as this, Rondo Hatten's "Creeper series, ect. Somehow I missed catching SHE-WOLF OF LONDON! And after numerous negative professional and fan reviews, I admit I wasn't expecting very much. But to my delight, I found the film to be quite entertaining! Let me explain.
SHE-WOLF OF LONDON is typical of the type of Universal B-Movie chiller-filler, which occupied half of a double feature in the 1940s. It wasn't meant to be compared to classic horror such as "Bride" or "Dracula." Its short running time and low budget was calculated, by the studio to deliver just enough entertainment to get by. Anything more on the part of the viewer would just lead to disappointment.
Sure it's short. And Bogie & Becall had nothing to fear from June and Don Porter, but for the type of picture Universal produced here, its okey fare and undeserving of the unfair comparisons to THE WOLF-MAN.
Also on the plus side, is the unmistakable atmosphere created by the studio's mastercraftsmen, such as the gothic art direction, lighting and photography, the music scoring and the spooky script.
Admittedly, the story's resolution disappoints (no werewolf), and the mixed nationality of the cast betrays the early 1900's British setting, but c'mon, do you dare compare elegant French dining with today's special at Burger King? And how many times have you eaten a "Whopper" since you dined French?! So, if you accept SHE-WOLF OF LONDON as what is was meant, you shouldn't be disappointed. I, for one, applaud Universal for coupling it with WEREWOLF OF LONDON, if only because of its relatively restricted showings. If however, you view it thinking of it as a vintage horror masterpiece, of if you haven't been exposed to the missing elements of the excellent bonus materials contained in the first Universal Classic Monsters series, "then now is the time to...well, you've been warned."
Also, hopefully someone can tell me if I have a defective DVD, although I'm afraid I don't. In SHE-WOLF OF LONDON's cast info, the film credits of June Lockhart, Dennis Hoey and others are conspicously missing. Hoey had credits in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, as well as many SHERLOCK HOLMES features, and June Lockhart's credits continue to this day with the LASSIE TV series and subsequent TV movies, in addition to the LOST IN SPACE TV program and recent big screen effort. June also appeared in "feature" small and bit parts, including "Sgt. York.""