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The Wolf Man (Special Edition)
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“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”. In 1941, The Wolf Man introduced the world to a new Universal movie monster and the mythology of the werewolf was re-defined forever. Featuring a heartbreaking performance by Lon Chaney Jr. and groundbreaking make-up by Jack Pierce, this story of a cursed man who transforms into a deadly werewolf when the moon is full has not only become a masterpiece of the horror genre, but of all-time. Now, in this 2-Disc Special Edition, the classic film lives on with a digitally remastered picture and all-new bonus features.
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English SDH; German; Swedish; Norwegian; Danish; Italian; French; and Spanish.
The audio is English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; German; Italian; French; Spanish DTS Surround Mono 2.0 .
Bonus Features -- as if my German wife being able to hear it in GERMAN isn't enough -- (let me take a breath):
1.)==> * MONSTER BY MOONLIGHT
2.)==> * THE WOLF MAN: FROM ANCIENT CURSE TO MODERN MYTH
3.)==> * PURE IN HEART: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF LON CHANEY, JUNIOR
4.)==> * HE WHO MADE MONSTERS: THE LIFE AND ART OF OF JACK PIERCE
5.)==> * THE WOLF MAN ARCHIEVES
6.)==> * FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH FILM HISTORIAN TOM WEAVER
7.)==> * 100 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL: THE LOT
8.)==> * TRAILER GALLERY
Gotta admit my favorite "monster" movies are the ones with Lon as "wolfie", and Glenn Strange as the monster-with-no-name [from Frankenstein,
Glenn played The Frankenstein Monster more times than anyone else, but he's tallest, and scariest, in another Blu-ray that's SO clear you can see Lon's
e-y-e-l-a-s-h-e-s --- and he ain't got many!--- in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) .
The double disc set has a really nice restored print of the film on Blu-Ray. The DVD, however, is the twelve or so year old scratchy original.
THIS, single, Blu-ray --- hands down --- is all I want from the collection... until they come up with the OTHER Glenn Strange Frankenstin movies:
HOUSE OF DRACULA
HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN... I'm also 6'5" --- and dress up for Hallowe'en --- but while Glenn weighed 222, I'm fifty pounds heavier. But we both look great... blue OR green!
--=============--------------=============(see my profile photo!)=============-------------=============--
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".
Top international reviews
For fans of the genre, I can recommend this DVD for the extras: an informative audio commentary (that also points out a few plot problems, and continuity errors), plus a documentary about ‘the werewolf on film’, and the work of makeup specialist Jack Pierce.
Oh, and this disc may have a different cover to the one advertised. (Mine did.)
In terms of what this film has going for it there's some beautiful cinematography, gypsy magic and some excellent performances. Sound quality was excellent, the dialogue was clear and the score was a delight. The story takes its time a little more unlike other horrors, 40 minutes in and still the wolf man has not yet appeared. Also unlike similar films from that period, Dracula and The Mummy, in this case we feel real sympathy for the 'Monster' , a man living with a terrible curse which haunts him even when human.
Eventhough this movie is in black and white and the sound quality is not to today's standard, I still find this an enjoyable to watch, and it is a good comparison to the one which came out last year.
Lon Chaney, Jr had to spend many hours in the makeup chair each day as they covered his face and visible body in hair to turn him into the part - no CGI them days, only makeup and limited special effects.
The story has the mixture of love, gypsy folklore and magic with good background music to make good entertainment.
Remember that in the 1940s the film censors where much stricter that today, and the war was raging over in Europe so the content was more limited than what some people would expect.
It's certaintly not scary, but is of course one of the great Universal classics.
Lon Chaney Jr is superb as the Wolfman, it's interesting to see his character start the movie quite cocky and then turn into a quivering recluse as it dawns on him that he is a wolf.
Sure there are some plot holes here and there and the sets do look a little 'creaky' but it's hard to knock such a classic and highly enjoyable film. I did though prefer Frankenstein meets the wolfman to this movie.
An essential purchase nonetheless.
Lon Chaney is great and embodies both man and best perfectly. His suave human form brutally gives why to his beast form is style and provides some very tense moments.
Not my favourite of the monster movies but certianly a strong addition. Well worth a watch.