on May 28, 2004
I was just wandering through amazon and came upon this section and was just delighted to find "A&C meet Frankenstein" getting such nice compliments.
I would like to let you all know that my father Robert Lees and his writing partner and an old family friend, Freddy Rinaldo, wrote this film.
Freddy is no longer with us but my father is still, all of 92 years old, and is thrilled that after all these years you all like the film.
A little addenda:
You all must remember that A&C were essentially radio comedians,
and it was from his training in radio that Costello had the bad habit of coming unglued if he didn't consistantly get laughs from the crew for each gag each take, no matter how many takes were involved in getting a scene right.. For him the crew was a live audience, so if he didn't take the house down, he would put in another piece of business and reinvent the scene on the spot until he did - and he was very inventive! I don't know how successfull they were, but they tried to take him aside and explain how important it was to actually follow the script!! Dad said that Lugosi enjoyed this aspect of Costello very much although I'm not so sure whether the director did, or the writers either for that matter.
Both Dad and Fred respected the "horror/terror" genre in literature very much noting to me when I was younger how complex and interesting the form had become in the hands of writers like Dunsynane Tolstoy Lovecraft Saki,or Poe to name a few.
Tolstoy wrote some strange and luminous things in this old form, once a short story about a Vampyre.
But in those days and by the time Universal Studios got through exploiting it all, "The Wolfman meets Dracula, meets Frankenstein,meets the Mummy, meets the Andrews Sisters" well, lets just say that the bloom was well off the rose.....
And so the object for them was not to parody the genre (at least the serious part) but to parody what Universal Studios had by this time done to the genre....
One of my favorite parts in the film is that sublimely dysfunctional chase scene at the end.
And its true, they had a blast writing the movie.
Lou Costello was always the master of strangulated, speechless terror, so putting Abbott & Costello in a movie with the Wolfman, Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster was inspired. Getting Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange to play the Terror Trio was just icing on the cake. This time around Bud and Lou play Chick Young and Wilbur Gray, a pair of railroad baggage clerks in LaMiranda, Florida, who have to deliver two large crates to MacDougal's House of Horrors. Inside are Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster, but of course they escape. To make things worse, Wilbur's beautiful girlfriend, Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert), is really a mad scientist who wants to put Wilbur's brain in the Monster. Fortunately, Lawrence Talbot (Chaney) has arrived from Europe on the trail of the monsters.
It is rather amazing how long this film goes with Wilbur being the only one to spot the monsters. The comedy in this movie is something of a departure for the comedy team, because it relies more on situational humor and not as much on the "Who's On First" word play. The scene pantomime scene with Lou on the Monster's lap is great, as is the final chase scene with the boys encountering one monster after another. "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" is the first and the best of the boy's comic team-ups, which does not deserve the reputation it has in some quarters for having made the Universal monsters creatures of ridicule. That might be true of later Abbott & Costello monster comedies, but the charge would be truer of "House of Dracula" than this film, which has the same respect for the monsters as does "Young Frankentstein." Trivia Note: While filming the scene where the Monster throws Sandra through the lab window, Strange was knocked over and broke his ankle. Chaney, who had played the Monster in "Ghost of Frankenstein," volunteered to step in and once again don the makeup and he is the one who re-shot the scene that appears in the movie.
on April 16, 2001
Abbott and Costello's best known and perhaps best film has them meeting Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman, then Bela Lugosi as Dracula, then Glenn Strange as Frankenstein and then. . . . The plot revolves around the idea that the perfect new brain for the Monster should be a simple one -on that's easy to control. Lou Costello's is simple enough. The slapstick begins when Bud and Lou refuse to believe Larry Talbot (Lon) is the wolfman. The best non-monster bits are variations on what Bud and Lou did in the still funny, Hold That Ghost. You will note that Dracula can be seen in mirrors and that he would not have really died from a long fall (that's not being left out in the sun or getting a stake in the heart). But who cares, this is a silly, enjoyable slapstick that gives us both Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi doing a wonderful job acting straight against the boy's antics. Glenn Strange is the Monster. Vincent Price does a cameo. (1948 - Directed by Charles Barton).
on July 9, 2001
Regardless of whether you have ever seen Abbott & Costello or not, this is a DVD you simply cannot pass up. I highly recommend this film because not only is it excellent, Abbott and Costello are always winners! As usual, Abbott is sarcastic and Costello is loveable and charming.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello star in this hilarious horror/comedy that has not only one but three of Universal's classic monsters: Frankenstein, Count Dracula and the Wolfman.
Abbott plays Chic Young and Costello is Wilbur Grey. Both men work as baggage handlers in Florida. After a brief meeting with Wilbur's beautiful girlfriend Sandra(Lenore Aubert), Wilbur takes a mysterious phone call from Lawrence Talbot (the wonderful Lon Chaney Jr.) about two crates to be delivered to the McDougal House of Horrors.
Thinking nothing of it, the eternally scared Wilbur goes about his business. When Chic and Wilbur get the crates for Mr. McDougal (Frank Ferguson) in a rather unusual manner, McDougal insists the men deliver them personally so the insurance company can inspect the deliveries.
After a hilarious delivery scene, Count Dracula (the immortal Bela Lugosi) and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange) escape the House of Horrors and go to the home of Dr. Sandra Mornay! Dr. Mornay and Count Dracula want Wilbur's brain so they can revive the Frankenstein monster.
Added to the mix is a lovely insurance inspector, Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph) who is 'interested' in Wilbur for the purpose of her investigation. Chic simply cannot understand why so many beautiful women are in love with Wilbur!
I was very pleased to see the classic stars Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange in this film. All three men were just as splendid at comedy as they were in their horror roles. I also found this movie to have some very good special effects for its time. The scene where Dracula changes from a bat to a man is excellent. Vincent Price, a true master of horror himself, appears as the voice of the Invisible Man at the end of the film.
This film also has some great trivia. Lon Chaney Jr. worked as both the Wolfman and the Frankenstein monster on some scenes after Glenn Strange broke his ankle during filming. Boris Karloff also did some promotional work for the film. Check out the Internet Movie Database for more trivia!
Will Dracula and Sandra get Wilbur's brain? Will Wilbur get the girl? Will Chic ever give Wilbur the respect he deserves? Get the DVD and find out!
on September 7, 2012
B&W is so underrated in hi-fef. Those Turner Classic Movie broadcasts should give you some hint about b&w in hi-def. But I digress to all those etched in childhood years watching a grainy Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein on my small living room tv set which had a pay off I never thought possible. After graduating to the convenience of watching the film when I desire with VHS and dvd, for a long period I figured dvd was the height of presentation that a classic film like this could reach.
The Blu ray of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein has finally created the long sought time tunnel giving aficionados the capability to open a door and jump into the celluloid. The spooky mist filled swamp, the magnificent island castle and it's ominous underground lair. And, lets not forget the many nuances that were lost to low resolution such as the forcefully floated dust, fiber and lint that encircles the Wolfman's shredded chair. Larry Talbot's tweed pants in rich baggy detail remind the viewer of mens fashion long gone. Check out Sandra's flowery print dress as hi-def reveals how thin and transparent the material actually was. A definite plus.
The film never ceases to amaze with vivid images many Universal fans have yearned for. This is as close as we will ever get to being at that "masquerade ball". No adjustments to your tv as far as aspect ratio were necessary because the film even in 16:9 tv settings is presented in proper "academy ratio".
The lossless sound adds a new dimension in scenes such as Abbott & Costello's feet pounding on the rugged but wooden floors of the castle. I could actually hear a much more prominent thud of the bass drum as the backround music plays at the ball. Dialogue is cleaner along with ambient sounds like the shattering of glass (especially as The Monster tosses Sandra through the window). The Wolfman's growl is heard as never before.
The IS the definitive version and one could spend hours dissecting the audio and visual quality. The extra features are a disappointment for a 100th anniversary release. The same featurette from the dvd version is on this disc and although certainly interesting, not exactly fresh. I would have expected some new tidbits or photos but I realize much that exists from this film has probably been exhausted.
The ultimate original horror/comedy has come full circle. The blu ray of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein will bring fantasy fans back into a film that has never been seen or heard like this before.
on November 18, 2012
Still reeling with relish over my purchase of the Classic Universal Monsters Blu-ray Collection, I decided it was high time to upgrade my DVD of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN to Blu. I've always rated this 1948 horror/comedy fest right up there with the best of Universal's monsters; better than their other "all in one" offerings, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944) and HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945).
What's great about it is that Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr. and Glenn Strange play their respective roles as Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein's Monster totally straight, which makes Bud Abbott's and Lou Costello's reactions to all the monstrous mayhem doubly hilarious. This is Lugosi's only other screen appearance as Dracula, and this time he's assisted in his bat transformations by the use of some effective animation. Chaney is lots of fun as the tormented Larry Talbot, who desperately tries to persuade Bud and Lou to help him thwart Dracula's plan of reviving the Frankenstein Monster. Of his three outings as the monster, this is certainly Strange's best, allowing him more screen time and interaction than in the previous films. An added attraction is Lenore Aubert as Lugosi's beautiful assistant, who's after Lou's brain which is supposed to find a new home in the head of "Frankie".
Included on this pristine looking/sounding Blu-ray release is a DVD version, along with extras "Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters", "100 Years of Universal: The Lot", "100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters", a commentary by historian Greg Mank and the theatrical trailer.
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN was my very first encounter with Universal's iconic monster movies via a Castle Films super 8 short. I must've been around 7 or 8 years old, and I remember I didn't consider it a comedy because the seriousness of the monsters stood out so vividly in my impressionable young mind. Because of that memorable introduction, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN will always be special to me. Aside from that, it's a reverential and very entertaining send-up of those classics equalled only by Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).
What can be said about this classic that HASN'T been said? This send-up of Universal's horror superstars revived interest in the genre, which had been waning throughout the mid-forties, as endless low-budget sequels made the rounds. Horror purists were appalled that these classic characters became 'straight men' to Lou Costello, but this was actually an inspired mating! The rotund comedian had always represented the 'everyman', and seeing his reactions to these 'boogie men' was the perfect tonic to a post-war America, who needed a good laugh! What many people don't realize is that this film 'saved' A & C's careers, as well; they had gone into a slump with the end of WWII, and were contemplating breaking up; the release of '...Meet Frankenstein' rejuvenated their popularity, and added 10 years to the team!
The film marked Lugosi's last 'official' appearance as Dracula, and he played the Count with the same jaded European elegance that no other actor ever matched! By the way, Dracula never sucked any blood in this movie, a concession to the younger A&C audiences. He controled via his hypnotic stare, and telepathy!
Lon Chaney's Wolfman has always been a favorite of mine, as he was the most humane of monsters; more a victim than a villain, he struggles to protect others from his full-moon transformation. Chaney was one of Hollywood's least-appreciated actors, a performer of considerable skill who would always have to live under his famous father's shadow, much as Larry Talbot lived under the shadow of the wolf. A piece of trivia: Glenn Strange, who portrayed the Frankenstein monster, broke his foot during the chase finale; to finish the shoot, Chaney donned the make-up, and can be seen as the monster in a few long shots. So Lon Chaney could say he was the only actor who ever portrayed the Wolfman, Dracula, AND the Frankenstein monster!
Watch for Vincent Price's famous unbilled cameo, at the end of the film! He was a frequent visitor to the set during filming, saw how much fun everyone was having, and nearly begged for a chance to make an 'appearance'!
I hope these comments are helpful in making 'Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein' even MORE enjoyable! It has been a personal favorite for nearly forty years (I first saw it, at eight, at a Halloween party!), and it's a classic I think you'll treasure, too!
on April 20, 2013
Fans of the movie Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein already know how incredibly fun it is to watch so I won't review the movie here. However if you already own a copy of the movie in standard-def you might be wondering if this Blu-ray transfer is a must buy. Without making this review overly complicated I will simply say that the Blu-ray transfer looks and sounds monsterously great. Do keep in mind though that for an old movie the previously available standard-def transfer of the film already looked darn good. The blacks and whites of the Blu-ray transfer are nicely balanced and the picture has been sharped to the point that you now see a certain amount of grain in the film that you probably didn't notice before. A plus for this transfer is that it appears many of the obvious small scratches seen in other releases have been cleaned up. The bottom line is if you don't own a copy of the movie or just want a Blu-ray copy for your Blu collection I'd say get it but don't expect the eyepopping "WOW" factor you've seen with some old-time movie transfers to Blu-ray. .
on August 16, 2012
Universal's legendary, all-time classic comedy paired Abbott & Costello with a series of movie monsters, including Bela Lugosi essaying Dracula for only the second time on-screen, Lon Chaney, Jr. as Larry Talbot (aka the Wolfman), and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein (there's also a fun cameo by another Universal monster favorite at the very end). "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" also revitalized A&C's film career for years to come (with the boys meeting everyone from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to "The Killer...Boris Karloff"), and still holds up tremendously well - especially for any fan of the classic Universal monster movies. The comedy in Robert Lees, Frederic Rinaldo and John Grant's script deftly bridges A&C's antics with a basically respectful treatment of Dracula, Frankenstein and crew, allowing for the film to recreate the feel of the studio's Golden Age chillers in a hilarious setting that never ceases to entertain.
Universal's Blu-Ray presentation of the film, out next week, is terrific: the AVC encoded 1080p transfer is natural in appearance and allows the film, warts and all, to "breathe," so to speak, without any obvious filtering or excessive DNR. The DTS MA mono sound is acceptable, and extras carried over from the prior DVD include Gregory W. Mank's commentary and the David J. Skal-hosted DVD featurette "Abbott & Costello Meet the Monsters" (though, as with the recent Blu-Ray of "Jaws," this featurette is presented in a heavily compressed, terrible-looking standard-def encode). Two Universal 100 Years featurettes and the trailer are also included, plus the trailer, a DVD and digital copy.
EDIT - Some users asked if the DVD contained this set is also remastered. IT IS NOT. In fact it's the same "Comedy Legends" older DVD pressing...so don't buy this set if you are not interested in the Blu-Ray.
on December 25, 2012
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN is generally regarded as the best horror/comedy every made. I would whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment. This blu-ray release makes it even better with the clearest and sharpest version of the film I've ever seen. There are shots that actually fully work for the first time ever in this version. You haven't truly seen this great comedy until you've seen this particular release! A must-have for anyone who loves the Universal Monsters!