The Wolf Man
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The original horror classic that introduced one of the screen's most infamous monsters! Lon Chaney, Jr. portrays Larry Talbot, who returns to his father's (Claude Rains) castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman (Evelyn Ankers). One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where Jenny's fate is revealed by a mysterious gypsy fortune teller. The dreamlike atmospheres and elaborate settings combined with a chilling musical score make The Wolf Man a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time!
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Chaney plays Larry Talbot, who is returning to his home in Wales after spending eighteen years in the United States. Larry's brother was recently killed in a hunting accident. Claude Rains stars as Larry's father, Sir John Talbot. Upon returning home, Larry helps his father install a new lens in his telescope. While peering through the lens, Larry discovers a beautiful girl in the window across the street. Her name is Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers). Larry goes over and introduces himself, and the two agree to go for a walk together that evening.
Gwen invites her friend Jenny Williams to come along. The three decide to go to have their fortunes told by a group of gypsies who have set up camp in town. Jenny goes first. Gypsy Bela (Bela Lugosi) reads Jenny's fortune. He is immediately disturbed when he sees the shape of a pentagram appear in Jenny's palm. He immediately tells Jenny to leave. Meanwhile, Gwen and Larry have walked off on their own. Minutes later, they hear a blood-curdling scream. Larry runs to investigate and finds a large wolf attacking Jenny. Larry manages to kill the wolf with his silver-handled cane, but he is bitten in the process.
Gypsy Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) tells Larry about the legend of the werewolf, and if a person is bitten by a werewolf and survives, they too will become a werewolf. Maleva gives Larry a charm to wear around his neck to protect himself, but he gives the charm to Gwen. On the night of the full moon, Maleva's predictions come true, as Larry Talbot is transformed into a werewolf. Will the charm protect Gwen, or will she suffer the same fate as her friend Jenny?
This movie has remained a classic for over sixty years, and it takes the viewer back to a time before the blood-and-guts horror films were popular, and movie producers relied on psychological terror to scare audiences. There is no blood in this movie, but the viewer is still scared by the unique movie sets, the fog rolling through the trees, and the haunting musical score. Lon Chaney Jr. made his role as the wolf man famous, and he's the only actor to have ever played the wolf man. Although the character was originally designed for Boris Karloff, Chaney made this his signature role. He will always be remembered as the wolf man. The other actors, especially Maria Ouspenskaya and Claude Rains, give good performances as well.
I give this movie my highest recommendation. This film takes me back to when I was a young child, and I used to stay up late on weekends watching the scary movies on television. Remember, "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright".
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