Best Movies of All Time + Wolf Man



You can watch the trailer here

Sometimes the best way to start a Monday is to polish off a classic film. If you can find one in the horror genre, then you're definitely set. I've had a copy of The Wolf Man sitting on my desk for the past few days, and I finally got around to watching the George Waggner-helmed feature.

In 2010, you'd probably be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't know the basic story of The Wolf Man, especially after the release of that horrendous 2010 remake; however, it's my duty to give it to you regardless. Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) returns home after receiving news of his brother's death. As he begins to re-assimilate to living in his father's castle, he decides to explore the town, whereupon he meets Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers). The two and a friend visit a gypsy one night to have their fortunes told; the gypsy, however, turns out to be a werewolf who kills their friend and attacks and injures Lawrence before he finally kills the creature. A cloud of doubt surrounds Lawrence and Gwen's story as Lawrence becomes the lead suspect in the murder of the gypsy and then of a gravedigger, and he must find out just what's going on - a path that ultimately leads him to the knowledge that he, himself, is a werewolf.

The story is actually rather good, and it has a few twists and turns here and there that will keep you captivated throughout. I know when a screenplay is good because I start to nitpick at the little things in the film that don't make sense. I'll chalk it up to the fact that the movie was made seventy years ago, but there are a few moments of discontinuity. They're not, however, anything that strays from the story, so don't be worried about that.

The acting is very good all around. Chaney Jr. followed in his father's footsteps to become the go-to guy for creature features like this one (Chaney Sr., as you may know, played the titular roles in films such as 1923's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 1925's The Phantom of the Opera). Chaney Jr. does well and is convincing as a conflicted man. Evelyn Ankers also plays her part to the best of her ability. However, it is Claude Rains as Sir John Talbot that steals the scene whenever he graces the screen. The four-time Oscar nominee is definitely an effective force behind The Wolf Man.

I couldn't possibly review this film without mentioning the makeup and special effects departments. By today's standards, it's nothing, but back in 1941, the shots they managed were probably incredible and revolutionary. And I can't say enough about the appearance of the wolf man himself. I'm not gonna lie - I'd probably be more terrified if I saw this one coming at me than if I saw the remake's take.

All in all, it's a solid film that stands up to the tests of time. Sure, it's not "scary" by today's standards, but nowadays, it's rare to find a quality horror film at all. And, without films like this one, the horror genre of today would be drastically different. So, take a chance and give a classic a chance; you won't be disappointed.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B
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1941, classic, Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, George Waggner, horror, Lon Chaney Jr, movie review, and more:

Relevant to: THE WOLF MAN + Wolf Man