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Few film directors have mastered the art of suspense, thrills and intriguing plot twists the way that John Brahm (Hangover Square) did when Helga Hammond (Heather Angel, The Informer) hears about a legend whereby a male member of her family is about to be sacrificed every few years, she discounts the legend as nonsense. But when Helga's brother, Oliver (John Howard, Lost Horizon) is attacked by a horrific beast that is part man and part wolf, it appears that the legend is true. When Scotland Yard inspector (James Ellison, I Walked with a Zombie) investigates the link between the werewolf and the family, he discovers an even more shocking truth! One of the film s key features is the gorgeous cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard (The Lodger).
Special Features: Audio commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver & Robert J. Kiss with Sumishta Brahm, daughter of John Brahm | Audio commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver and David Schecter | Concerto Macabre: The Films Of John Brahm Featurette | Restoration Comparison | Animated Montage of Images | Trailers
Top Customer Reviews
It's an odd one, primarily memorable (to me) as a film that doesn't show you the monster at the center of its story until nearly the end. The first Alien followed a similar approach, to great effect.
Well, that part is true, but the new pleasures for me as an adult were its quirkiness, its attempts to serve as a psychological drama more than a horror film, and its subtle indictment of the privileges of aristocracy. Very glad I tracked it down.
Using black and white film to create the look and feel of tension requires so much more art than modern digital effects.
What we have here is a good old fashioned who done it, only, with the premise that the "who" truly is a legendary monster, and like many great mysteries, there are red herrings galore to throw you off the path and create false suspicions.
This is tight little film making, with just the right amount of tongue in cheek to never get even slightly campy, yet also , just the right amount of seriousness.
Solid acting all around...this one truly has stood the test of time for those that are lucky to remember it, and can now relive it in DVD.
The Undying Monster (1942)
The Lodger (1944)
Hangover Square (1945)
was issued in a 3 DVD set back in 2007: Fox Horror Classics Collection (The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster)
Now Kino Lorber is reissuing each of these films on Blu-Ray in HD black and white masters, AND they are including significant extras, which made my decision to upgrade a lot easier
Fox was actually pretty generous with the extras back in 2007:
"The Lodger" and "Hangover Square" each had a commentary track, and all three films had a generous selection of featurettes.
All the extras from 2007 have been carried over to the Blu-Ray, PLUS
-- "The Undying Monster" REVIEWED ON THIS PAGE now has TWO very well-done commentary tracks (versus none in 2007)
-- "The Lodger" Lodger [Blu-ray] also has TWO commentary tracks (one is carried over from 2007).
-- "Hangover Square" will probably also have two commentary tracks, but release of it has been delayed until later in 2017 (which actually confirms that Kino is going to the trouble of creating new HD masters for these films)
"The Undying Monster" is the only true horror film of the three.
Universal had a hit with "The Wolf Man" one year earlier, and Twentieth Century Fox basically ripped it off (one change: the human identity of the monster is kept secret until the end of the film).
We don't see the monster until the final ten minutes, though the original audience knew going in that we were dealing with a werewolf (see the 1942 movie poster below).
In the final scene, an expert explains that the monster was not really a werewolf, but instead a victim of lycanthropy.
If only a spokesman had asked the audience to contribute money on their way out of the theater, we might today have a cure for this dread disease.
"The Lodger" and "Hangover Square" are thrillers, or maybe even lurid melodramas.
Nothing supernatural, but Laird Cregar, who starred in both, could be a really scary lunatic.
Cool Things you learn from the "The Undying Monster" commentary tracks:
-- Freeze the picture at 6:21, then press slow motion.
For two seconds, you can clearly see the number "13" painted on a cloud (left third of the screen).
This is not a Message from God.
A prop man just forgot to erase the inventory number from the studio backdrop.
-- Wolf Man: "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright."
-- Undying Monster: "When stars are bright on a frosty night, beware thy bane on the rocky lane."
This may be an inside joke.
James Ellison was cast as a Scotland Yard inspector despite his American accent.
He was better known as the cowboy hero of a series of B-movies.
"Rocky Lane" was the name of a rival cowboy star at another studio
(audiences in 1942 would have known this).
-- Strudwick the chauffeur was the sceen debut of actor Charles McGraw (unbilled), who went on to star in a lot of film noir classics over the next fifteen years.
English SDH subtitles (the DVD also had an optional Spanish audio track, and French and Spanish subtitles, none of which are on the new Blu-Ray).
The new transfer is not perfect - there are still a lot of scratches that shouldn't be there, but the HD transfer reproduces twice as many shades of gray as the old DVD.
I have a twenty year collection of classic movies on DVD.
Many of them are now being reissued on Blu-Ray.
If cost were no issue, I'd replace all my old DVDs with the latest technology, but cost is an issue.
Color films from the 1950s and '60s would seem to benefit more from the improved resolution of Blu-Ray than ancient black and white classics from the '30s and '40s.
I have managed to replace a number of black and white Humphrey Bogart DVDs with Blu-Rays.
Plus I ordered the "Complete Legacy" sets of "Frankenstein" and "The Wolf Man" on Blu-Ray (Amazon Deal of the Day).
In every case, I was pleasantly surprised at the improvement in the black and white picture.
One thing that would make the decision easier would be if studios were to include additional bonus features that were not on the original DVD.
This is usually not the case, but there are exceptions.
These black & white films reissued on Blu-Ray came with a lot of extras (commentaries and featurettes) not on the original DVD:
-- The Chase (1946) [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- Pitfall (1948) [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- 99 River Street [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- In a Lonely Place (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Criterion)
-- Too Late for Tears (Newly Restored) [Blu-ray/DVD] (Flicker Alley)
-- Woman on the Run (Newly Restored) [Blu-ray/DVD] (Flicker Alley)
A perfect movie for reliving your "popcorn-and-double-feature" childhood.
Instead, be prepared to relish the film's atmosphere: its ("who-can-the-monster-possibly-be") suspense; its dismal (almost surreal) craggy cliffs overlooking a storm-driven sea; and, best of all, the dark Victorian mansion housing (besides the ever-severe-looking butler played by Halliwell Hobbes) a host of plausible suspects -- and a few red herrings.
Taken all together, this is what makes THE UNDYING MONSTER -- filmed (and restored) in glorious black and white -- a must-have for collectors like myself.
As an added plus, the perennial "prune-faced" Eily Malyon stars briefly as Mrs. Walton, the housekeeper. ("SPOILER ALERT": Cross her off your list of suspects -- she is decidedly NOT the monster!)
The film itself is worth seeing and for the vintage horror collector a gem by the wonderful director John Brahm. But the film can be found in the collection of films called Fox Horror Classics with 2 other Brahm films.
The Blu Ray is no different in transfer than the 2008 release of the film in the collection. There is 2 commentaries on the Blu Ray that are not on the DVD version.
If you like commentaries than this version may be your cup of tea. I found them rather dull and flat. Tom Weaver has done better ones on other werewolf movies.
I really enjoy this movie and recommend the set over this version because of the price and the other 2 movies on the set make it a great deal