The Wolf Man (1941)


Executive Produced, Written & Directed by: Michael Dougherty


Lon Chaney Jr. .... The Wolf Man / Larry Talbot
Claude Rains .... Sir John Talbot
Warren William .... Dr. Lloyd
Patric Knowles .... Frank Andrews
Maria Ouspenskaya .... Meleva
Evelyn Ankers .... Gwen Conliffe

Special Appearance:

Bela Lugosi .... Bela

Release Date:
Theatrical: December 12, 1941




A man named Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) returns to his ancestral home from America upon the death of his brother where he meets a beautiful young lady named Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers) who sells him a cane that wards off werewolfs in which they go for a stroll in the woods where he is attacked by what looks like a wolf and kills this beast while Gwen got his fortune told by a gypsy named Bela (Bela Lugosi) who gets paranoid after he reads her palm shortly before this incident.
After Larry is checked by the local Dr. Lloyd (Warren William) he has no scratches or injuries which seems to be odd but later on discovers that he is transforming into a werewolf himself wrecking havoc to locals at night in the deep dark woods in which he fears for others that he will do deadly harm during the next full moon in which he goes to the aid of a surviving gypsy Meleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) on what to do but it is news that he does not want to hear.


There's a nice beginning with the main character Larry Talbott wooing Gwen Conliffe who works at an antique store as well as introducing him a cane that wards off werewoves in which has a nice one liner on him asking what a werewolf is since back in the days this wasn't a common horror story at all. It worked out well with the audience back then becoming mysterious as to what one is while watching this flick.
There's also good moments with them together in the woods with fog around them which looks peaceful which at the same time it gives you that feel soon something bad will happen.
The story certainly looks twisted when Gwen has her palm read by a fortune teller and he acts paranoid in which this really draws your attention making you wonder if he is going to be behind the madness on the werewolf incident. There's a real effective scene between the fortune teller and Bela the gypsy reading her palm in which there's great shots on the two of them with Bela acting freaky and the fortune teller getting spooked by all of this. Next, we spot a great shot on the fortune teller running through the woods scared out of her mind as well as Larry trying to look for her.
There's a shot on Larry being attacked by a wolf in which today's standards looks quite phony to watch but back then it would seem horrifying. It's kinda laughable when you spot it today though. A good camera shot on him losing conciousness and falling to the ground.
The writing looked mysteriously well done later on after a funeral service happens in which we spot a gypsy woman named Meleva saying her last words in which this looked creepy to watch on what is happening here making it a good drawing card to suspecting that Larry could be a werewolf now. It still stands out in today's standards making it look effective and it was quite original and inspired other similar ideas for future mysterious horror films.
The suspense packs a punch when Larry checks himself out with neat old fashioned effects on hair suddenly growing on him which looked fun to watch and would look spooky during this time period spotting all of this making this moment a one of the kind werewolf flick. The excitement gets even better whne he is a werewolf running in the woods but what is cheesy nowadays is he still has his clothes on but this was before the rules have changed since legit films at that time wouldn't accept brief nudity since in future werewolf films you see their clothes torn off before the full hair starts to grow all over their body.
There's a good shot on Larry as a full werewolf running in the darkness of the woods and a distant shot on bit part actor a grave digger and then a nice ferocious shot on the werewolf attacking him.
There's also cool shots on some muddy footsteps in Larry's bedroom on wolf type feet with him sleeping in bed back to himself again as this was also well put in.
Nice effective one liners with Meleva telling Larry about who he is now in which this will also be influential for many future horor films to come involving other werewolf films and even vampire one's too but this was tthe original one liner part so it was very original on how this was put together.
There's a good discussion between Larry towards Gwen when he tells her she isn't safe around him and she tries to comfort him and make him feel at ease which looked very natural.
There's a nice shot on Larry walking into a cathedral during a funeral with many of the people looking at him in fright.
Also it was impressive when we spot Larry losing his mind and going crazy forcing his father to tie him up in a chair before he turns again since it adds good flavor to the story with a level headed person suddenly losing his mind with all that's going on here. This which was powerfully done between a father and son conversation.
Close to the very end it is touching when Larry is a werewolf nearly attacking his loved one which is of course Gwen when she tries to talk to him and make him remember on who he is which looked extremely clever on how this scene was put together.
There's many great scene's with Larry spotting pentagrams on him or a moment on Gwen too which looked very dark and eerie with this happening really drawing to your mind that something deadly will occur later on.
Bottom line is that apparently the second werewolf flick after Werewolf of London that still exists which started the other werewolf craze too. This wasn't your typical werewolf film that when a full moon is revealed from the clouds you start to turn into one as that idea came much later. This was a total classic and you couldn't have anything better than this showing mist in the forestry area in which you see this type of formula in other old fashioned horror flicks. It's a shame not many use this in today's films.
It may not look scary today but you can tell with what they had back then it would terrify anyone who was scared of monster movies back then.

The acting was very well done for it's time as Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man / Larry Talbot) really brought it on as someone who is romantic and charming showing a good calmness during the beginning of the film and then once he realises that he's a werewolf breaks all of that by losing his sanity and acting intense with fear as well as looking very terrifying once he is a werewolf showing a terrific versitality to his part of the story. He reacts well while being attacked by acting anxious against the werewolf before him. Great energetic reactions on him suddenly waking up in which he really got into this with his frightened attitude.
Claude Rains
(Sir John Talbot) was very powerful with his speaking in the film and does well portraying someone very serious with his actions in the film. He looked a bit too young though to play the role he portrayed but yet he brought a great character on set of the film.
Maria Ouspenskaya
(Meleva) does a fantastic job as an elderly gypsy woman and really got into her role suitable for the horror plot to it since she acted very eccentric and creepy too. She looked great for the part as she looked like a typical gypsy woman. She had a nice cold speaking voice too.
Evelyn Ankers
(Gwen Conliffe) played the perfect nice girl role which is suitable for a horror film who was storngly willed and very straight forward but showing a great romantic attitude. She had the healthy girl next door looks which is a bonus. Also does a nice job screaming when she is attacked.
Bela Lugosi
(Bela) basically had a small role in this film but he was the perfect drawing card to the story showing a perfect evil look as a gypsy who is a werewolf in which he often plays these types of roles in horror flicks. He had a great sharpness to his speaking and the part he played was almost like a tribute to the roles he plays in other shows. Does good showing intense expressions and acting freaky.

There's many good old fashioned orchestral music like the violin music weeping at times as well as trombone music too. Here and there we listen to some quivering sounds which really made a horror flick during it's time sound extremely effective too and can still sound wonderfully as of today which was composed by Charles Previn, Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner.

Maleva: The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Your suffering is over, Bela my son. Now you will find peace.

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.
Larry Talbot: Ah, don't hand me that. You're just wasting your time.
Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn't he?
Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Larry Talbot: Don't try to make me believe that I killed a man when I know that I killed a wolf!
Doctor Lloyd: [patronizing Larry] Yes, yes. We're all a little bit confused.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.
Larry Talbot: Well, there's no crime in that is there?
Maleva: The wolf was Bela.
Larry Talbot: You think I don't know the difference between a wolf and a man?
Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife...
[looks down at Larry's walking stick]
Maleva: ...or a stick with a silver handle.
Larry Talbot: You're insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!

Larry Talbot: You wouldn't wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?
Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you're not. You know you're not.
Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can't tell who'll be next.

Sir John Talbot: You can't run away.
Larry Talbot: That's it! That's what she said.
Sir John Talbot: Who?
Larry Talbot: The gypsy woman.
Sir John Talbot: Gypsy woman? Now we're getting down to it. She's been filling your mind with this gibberish. This talk of werewolves and pentagrams. You're not a child Larry, you're a grown man and you believe in the superstitions of a Gypsy woman!