The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

   

Directed by: Terence Fisher

Produced & Written by: Anthony Hinds
Guy Endore (novel)

Starring:

Clifford Evans .... Alfredo
Oliver Reed .... Leon
Catherine Feller .... Cristina
Hira Talfrey .... Teresa
Justin Walters .... Young Leon
Warren Mitchell .... Pepe Valiente
Ann Blake .... Rosa Valiente
John Gabriel .... The Priest
Peter Sallis .... Don Enrique
Ewen Solon .... Don Fernando

Special Appearances:

Richard Wordsworth .... The Beggar
Yvonne Romain .... Servant Girl
Francis DeWolff .... Bearded Customer

Release Dates: Theatrical: May 1, 1961 (UK); June 7, 1961 (USA)

 

 

 

Rating:

 

A mute servant girl (Yvonne Romain) is raped by a beggar (Richard Wordsworth) and then dies shortly after as she runs away and gives birth to a baby on Christmas day during a full moon and dies afterwards in which is taken in care of a kindly village of caretakers run by Alfredo (Clifford Evans) but they realise their animals are mysteriously slaughtered and realised the boy Leon (Justin Walters) is a werwolf.
When he becomes older he works in a wine cellar and falls in love with the owners daughter Cristina (Catherine Feller) but has a hard time coping that when a full moon arises once again he will wreck havoc in that town killing innocent victims.

 

The beginning of the story looked fairly slow as we have a narration on what's going on as I never really liked narrations while trying to watch the story which focuses on a Beggar wandering around the area as well as him going into a pub or being hassled by others.
Plus there's a banquet taking place hosted by the nasty owner
Marques Siniestro in which there's a nasty powertrip on how he treats one of his servants as this looked strongly done. Then we have the Beggar coming in and this jerk forcing him to dance to get something to eat and things like that which was a look on a bully preying on the weak.
There's moments on this Beggar in the prison dungeon as we see hair all over him which leaves a mysterious clue wondering if he's a werewolf or not. Plus we spot the Servant Girl feeding him and he goes ravenous while eating this stuff which leaves more clues wondering if he's an animal at night or not.
Plus more nasty moments with Marques forcing her to be put in the cell with him as there's a dark moment on him ready to attack her as you get the impression that he's about to rape her. Then he dies later as you get more of a feeling he was a werewolf. But however with all of this coming together looked very stale and not getting to the point at all.

An effective moment when she takes revenge on this asshole by killing him as well as later on being rescued by a kind fellow whom is the main character Alfredo along with his assistant Teresa treating her well in which there's a nice turnaround for how poorly she was treated through the years which was well put into the story.
More mysterious moments when she dies after giving birth to her newborn as well as Alfredo baptising the baby with the holy water trembling and thundercrashing along with a reflection on a demon statue in the cathedral as this was a nice touch to a horror story but yet we still are waiting for the excitment to happen which doesn't get to anything just yet.
A bit more goes on later on with the watchman Pepe Valiente realising that some animals are being killed which is a sign of a werewolf invasion as this was necessary to have. The moments still seem a bit bland though.
Effective moments when young Leon is sweating and feeling ill as well as Alfredo seeing hair on this boy's arm as we all know he's a werewolf by when we spot this as well as moments on him putting bars on his windows to protect others from harm at night as well as later on looking effective when this child goes wild grabbing at the bars revealing fangs as the story rolls more since this moment happens.
The story improves more when Leon is now a young adult and leaving town to pursue a living in another village as well as some nice uplifting moments when he has discussions with his business partner Jose with him goofing around or acting bubbly with him as this all was put together marvellously and my favourite part of the story.
A nice touching part of the story is when Leon falls in love with a local there Cristina and convinces her to marry him but told him her father arranged her marriage to someone else as well as the two of them agreeing that they love one another which looked fairly romantic as well as drawing you in wondering if they will be together in which these moments looked perfectly dramatic.
Great moment with Jose partying with some women and acting happily hammered in which this made me want to join in on the fun as this looked enjoyable to watch too.
Meanwhile a great moment with Leon acting nervous when he spots a full moon and a woman trying to talk to him but he acts quiet as well as him getting on top of her and suddenly biting her with this broad pushing him off and later on turning around and spotting he's not on his bed and a werewolf hand grabbing at her which looked spooky but fails to make you jump like it was intended to have probably worked well back in the days though.
Another great strong moment when Cristina tries to approach Leon and he shouts towards her to go away and tries to get away from her which makes you watch in terror wondering if he will turn and attack her when she insists to come up to him. This always works well in a werewolf flick too.
Another great moment when both the Priest and Alfredo confess to Leon what they have to do to protect others from when he turns as the situations looked strongly intense and drawn in which offers nice timing to a werewolf film.
Things become more entertaining when Leon is locked away with a cell mate and we see a good shot of his hands turning hairy with good close up shots on his big eyes staring at this as well as him acting excitied the the cell mate tries to approach him and his head is turned as this often does the trick greatly that when he shows his face he's not the same person at all.
The action goes wild with the villagers try to find him with torches as well as good shots on him up on roofs of the buildings and a nice look on his werewolf face. Plus a good moment on him at the top of a cathedral with bells ringing and him being bothered by this along with one of the villagers pointing a shotgun at him which draws you in closely wondering if he will pull the trigger.
Bottom line is that this film was quite rough and not enough entertainment in the horror aspect to it like most werewolf films. A Hammer Studio take on Universal's 1941 classic The Wolf Man. Some fun touches in the story with a bit more horror violence for a film during it's time but pretty bland stuff regardless. The story drags alot too as you wonder as to where it will go.

The acting is very well performed in which Clifford Evans (Alfredo) did a marvellous job portraying a kind hearted and serious fellow who shows a good clear speaking with his lines as well as doing well by being understanding within everything that he does. Tries to reason with situations which looked powerful and really studied his part incredibly well. Had the perfect good guy looks for his part as well as coming across perfect in a fatherly manner.
Oliver Reed (Leon) lived to portray a brawny clean cut guy next door by day and werewolf by night. Does well with his seriousness as well as coming across as believeably intelligent by what he does. Also adds a nice and caring situation during the romantic moments too. Shows a great intensity when a full moon strikes as well as coming across as convincingly stressed and scared. Does well with his aggressions too and forceful actions making him convincingly powerful. This person had it all and was a great choice for this part.
Catherine Feller (Cristina) shows a nice innocent type of appeal to her role as well as being soft spoken. Plus shows nice emotions during a near romantic moment on wanting to marry the man she loves as she draws this in good and dramatic. Does well with her emotional attitude stressing a situation as well as doing a good job by being upset too.
Hira Talfrey (Teresa) does a fantastic job as a caretaker in which she shows off a believeably warm attitude as well as showing a good natured and mellow behavior. Seemed to work hard on what she did during each scene of the story that we spot her in. Also knew on how to act believeably sympathetic as well as showing some upsetting emotions too. She was one of the best characters in this film.
Justin Walters (Young Leon) was a piece of energy into his role as the younger version of this role and had the right looks resembling to the older version. Seemed to do well acting unhappy about certain stuff as well as doing a good job by being disturbed about his so called nightmares along with acting convincing while feeling sick too. He was great by acting menacing near the end of his performance while trying to open up some bars in a window with a full thrust of anger.
Warren Mitchell (Pepe Valiente) drew in well as a watchman for the local area in which he shows off a nice focus into tracking down a wolf or discussing on some animals killed and showing a good concerned attitude as well as doing a nice job with his firmness as well as having the right rugged looks and appeal for this role.
John Gabriel (The Priest) shows a perfect open minded attitude as well as being believeable by acting understanding in which he portrayed this part inside out. Had the nice middle aged looks too for this role and knew on how to act like someone patient and kind hearted. He stood out very well in his supporting role.
Peter Sallis (Don Enrique) was very sharp in his role as a somewhat controlling and stubborn one showing a perfect sternness into what he was talking about and comes across on not someone to cross at all. He had the right looks for the role too which did well in his favor and had a good seriousness into his part of the film.
Here's some reviews on some of the smaller cast worth mentioning:
Richard Wordsworth (The Beggar) showed off a nice hype to his role as a panhandler wandering the area as he has the perfect starving type of wild man looks and shows off some nice energy into what he was talking about. He for sure made his role look truly mysterious into the story and stood out very well. Also does a nice job acting raveneous when he's eating something or attacking someone else in another situation knowing on how to be vicious this way.
Yvonne Romain (Servant Girl) knew on how to act timid as well as having a mellow behavior. Plus does a great job acting vengeful by stabbing someone. Plus does a nice job when trying to point out that she can't speak in which she really showed some nice effort into her part of the film.
Martin Matthews (Jose) wasn't a name actor but had to mention him regardless as he was another favourite character of mine as he shows a great happy go lucky attitude and made his part believeably likeable as well as showing off a charming attitude by portraying a womaniser and enjoying life along with having a good time. Had the great looks and appeal for this role as he was a perfect choice.
Anthony Dawson
(Marques Siniestro) was another no name actor but yet he stood out greatly as someone arrogant who likes to push others around and be a bully as he was believeable by doing all of this. He also does a nice job with his evil and aggressive attitude towards others making you hope that he will get his in the end.
Francis DeWolff (Bearded Customer) had a brief role and was uncredited but his part wasn't a bit part and had some lines in it as he was clear with his speaking along with doing a good job on what he was talking about as a regualar at a bar there in which he had the perfect appeal for this.

A slaughtered goat is revealed
A woman is lying there with bloody claw marks
Werewolf is bloodily shot

The music was wonderful for the time era in which is of course classical music and well concentrated too all put together byBenjamin Frankel in which there's alot of violin music and drum booming sounds with string plucking here and there as well as powerful trombone music having the right timings for the terrors that come into the plotlines or for the touching moments too in a film like always from this era. Many good drum rollings during the opening credits which was an attention grabber too.