“There’s a curse in this village: the curse of Frankenstein!”
The best friend (Bela Lugosi) of Frankenstein’s Monster (Lon Chaney) resurrects him and brings him to Frankenstein’s son, Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke), who agrees to replace the Monster’s brain.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bela Lugosi Films
- Horror Films
- Lionel Atwill Films
- Lon Chaney, Jr. Films
This fourth entry in Universal’s Frankenstein series is, unfortunately, a disappointment. While each of the first three films — Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1942) — were unique in their ability to milk new life out of Mary Shelley’s fabled tale about the monstrous effects of man-made life, this film seems merely like a formulaic attempt to extend the popular franchise. The essential plot device — focusing on the brilliant idea to finally replace the Monster’s brain with a non-criminal one — seems like a no-brainer (sorry), and one wonders why this was never attempted before.
Regardless, it’s difficult to care very much about the ultimate outcome, given that Chaney is unable to imbue the Monster with any of the depth or pathos Karloff brought to this most pitiable creature.
Meanwhile, the surrounding subplots — a lame, undeveloped romance between Ludwig’s daughter (Evelyn Ankers) and Ralph Bellamy:
… and the vaguely power-hungry desires by Ludwig’s colleague (Lionel Atwill) to interfere in the brain transplantation —
… fail to engage us on any level. Lugosi gives his all once again in the critical role of Ygor:
… but doesn’t bring anything new to the character. Feel free to skip this one.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Effectively spooky cinematography
No; this one is only must-see if you’re a true fan of Universal’s Frankenstein franchise.