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106 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monster Movie Heaven comes in a long-overdue deluxe edition, February 4, 2010
This review is from: The Wolf Man (Special Edition) (DVD)
If you've been keeping up with the DVD releases of Universal Monsters, you might already know this is the 3rd time The Wolf Man has been released in the past 10 years. But this new deluxe 2-disc edition should prove to be the definitive release. In addition to a spectacular restoration (which is still not quite perfect, but probably the best the film will ever look on home video), there is an exhaustive array of bonus features. Actually, only two of them are new, but when added to the already excellent extras carried over from previous releases, this is simply a must-have for anyone with even a slight interest in the film.

But let's take a quick look at the film itself. The Wolf Man has always been my favorite Universal Monster. I think it's the combination of Curt Siodmak's poetic and gothically romantic screenplay, and the Everyman performance of Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot. Chaney will perhaps forever reside in the shadow of contemporaries like Karloff and Lugosi, but it's difficult to imagine either of those horror superstars bringing the same authenticity to the role of Talbot.

Chaney also gets winning support from Claude Rains, Patrick Knowles and Evelyn Ankers (whose well-documented dislike of Chaney also serves as a testament to her acting abilities...the two are charming together on-screen). Maria Ouspenskaya also appears in her signature roles as the gypsy Maleva, while Bela Lugosi has a too-brief but equally-memorable role as her son.

As for the bonus features, the two new ones are a brief (10 min.) overview of werewolf movies featuring the likes of John Landis, Rick Baker and several film critics, and a 36-minute documentary on Chaney's career. As a long-time fan of this fan and Lon Chaney Jr., I confess I didn't learn a lot of new facts about the actor; but for the uninitiated, it will no doubt provide some much-needed illumination into the man and his body of work.

Also, in case you missed the previous releases, here are the holdover supplements: "Monster By Moonlight" is a well-done look at the film and its sequels, hosted by John Landis. There's a documentary on makeup wizard Jack Pierce. A trailer gallery features previews for several werewolf films, including the new 2010 version of The Wolf Man (by the way, props to Universal for not making this set an extended commercial for the remake, the way some of the bonus materials in The Monster Legacy Collection (Frankenstein / Dracula / The Wolf Man) did for Stephen Sommer's 2003 bomb Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition)). "Universal Horror" is a terrific feature-length documentary on all of Universal's classic horror output. Lastly, an audio commentary with Tom Weaver provides deeper insight into the film's production.

Now it must be said that this long-overdue set would probably not have been released at this time without the 2010 remake. And as of this writing, I have not seen the new movie. I do hope that--whether it is ultimately a success or not--it will inspire film fans to go back and take a look at this classic original. Certainly, this is a must-buy for anyone who loves the original film. And remember, Monster Fans. . .there are still many films of this kind that deserve the deluxe treatment. So before you complain about double (wait, make that TRIPLE) dipping to get your hard-earned bucks, remember that future releases are dependent on how well items like this sell. In other words, support your classic monsters! Enjoy the set; I give it my highest recommendation.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 4, 2010 8:03:33 AM PST
I agree with you on this triple dip, although I haven't received my copy yet. I bought the VHS, the first DVD and then the box set and bought the sequel on the double feature releases. I know I will buy them on BluRay........:-( ......I love the classic monsters!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2010 10:37:26 AM PST
A. Gammill says:
Ha ha...glad I'm not the only one! And I'm sure the Blu-ray will be here shortly. ;-D

Posted on Feb 5, 2010 12:13:12 PM PST
I loved the set and came to write a review, but you've already said pretty much everything I could say about the discs. Great job! Awesome DVDs!!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2010 6:38:22 AM PST
James Dooley says:
I hope you are right! The Universal monsters have been sadly missing from Blu Ray. So many classics are getting the deluxe, high definition treatment...and the sharper image really makes them stand out. I watched SON OF DRACULA the other night, and I could only imagine how the swamp scenes would look in high definition.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2010 3:28:13 PM PST
A. Gammill says:
Ooh...how about Son of Frankenstein, those expansive sets? Or Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D. All the newer Hollywood 3-D films are being released on home video, so why not?

Posted on Feb 26, 2010 6:22:08 AM PST
Amazon fan says:
I use to get MONSTERS HD as part of my cable hd package and they use to feature the Universal monster movies often. It was awesome to see them in HD - a big difference in picture quality from DVD - especially the one that were produced in the 40's. But MONSTERS HD went bust so now, like everyone else, I'm just waiting for the Blurays.

Posted on Apr 18, 2010 5:34:51 PM PDT
The Wolf Man (Special Edition) (Universal Legacy Series)
Hello all, I own all the Universal Monster movies from the first VHS release to the first release of them in DVD format as well as the Legacy Sets...and mostly agree with Mr. Gammill's review. I am probably one of the BIGGEST FANS of THE WOLF MAN around and I really would LOVE to own this new Wolf Man 2010 Special Edition but if all that's new with it is a slightly better restoration and one 10 min overview about other Werewolf Movies (which I'm pretty sure I have on special discs) and what would be most interesting to me would be the Documentary about Lon Chaney's Career! Can someone tell me which Wolf Man version has the (Jack Pierce) piece...not sure if I've seen it or I maybe am just not recalling it at the moment. The one thing that I don't like on The Legacy Set version is Tom Weaver's commentary which I thought was boring and Mr. Weaver's non stop poking fun at the movie which was totally uncalled for! I would have MUCH MORE enjoyed a commentary by Rudy Behlmer or one by David Skal!! Weaver's commentary was VERY DISSAPPOINTING to say the least! Not sure what to do in this case...if Universal does re-release The Wolf Man on Blu Ray it will most likely include everything that's on this Special Edition and maybe more...decisions, decisions.
WRITTEN By The Wolf Man aka: Chuck Parrish

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2010 7:19:07 PM PDT
A. Gammill says:
Chuck, the Jack Pierce documentary is included. You may have seen it on the last Legacy release of THE MUMMY. If you are a big fan, I think it's worth getting this for the Chaney feature. Besides--and this won't matter to most folks, those special 2-disc Legacy sets come in very attractive, book-like cases and just look fantastic on the shelf!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2011 5:10:12 AM PDT
Tony Rome II says:
Ha, what are you on about? Tom Weaver's commentary is wonderful. Lighten up.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 2:09:03 AM PDT
Well A. Clarke, your intitled to your opinion of Tom Weavers commentary on "The Wolf Man's" DVD and that's fine but that doesen't change my opinion of his commentary of "The Wolf Man" I still consider it VERY DISSAPPOINTING! That's how I feel about it and I'm intitled to that...and I don't need to be told to "lighten up"
To A. Gammill, I appreciate your comments and advice to me concerning getting the "Wolf Man's" Special Edition Thanks!
THE WOLF MAN
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Review Details

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A. Gammill
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Tupelo, MS United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,681