Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

This is the final film in the run of Universal Monster movies.

Abbott and Costello play Chick and Wilbur, delivery people in Florida.  They receive two packages to deliver to McDougal's House of Horrors.  One contains the Frankenstein Monster and the other contains Dracula.  At the House of Horrors, the monsters escape.

Larry Talbot arrives to Florida as well.  He is trying to track down Dracula so he can stop him from reviving the Frankenstein Monster.  Unfortunately, Larry has an obstacle to overcome.  At night, during the full of the moon, he becomes The Wolf Man.

Wilbur's girlfriend, Sandra, is a doctor and she is working with Dracula to revive the Monster.  They have a plan to put Wilbur's brain inside the monster.  After Wilbur is captured by Dracula, it is up to Chick and Larry Talbot to save him.

"Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" is a great film.  I believe this is the best film Abbott and Costello has made.  It is very funny and it moves along nicely.  During the climax of the film, Abbott and Costello are being chased through the castle by the Frankenstein Monster.  This scene is exciting and hilarious.  The best part is when they barricade a door by putting a bed in front of it.  They are positive that the Monster can't get in. That is until, the Monster opens the door the opposite way.  The barricade was on the wrong side!  That was a great gag!

It is great to see the monsters being played straight forward in the film.  Lugosi is great as Dracula.  He is the definitive Dracula and this performance proves it once again.  He is elegant and commanding, even though he is in his mid 60s!  Lon Chaney is once again great as The Wolf Man.  He is the only actor to play a monster through an entire series.  No other actor has played The Wolf Man.  The Frankenstein Monster is played by Glenn Strange and he does a good job also.  He has much more to do in this film than in his previous Frankenstein films.

The biggest problem with the movie is the makeup, especially The Wolf Man's.  Jack Pierce, who created these wonderful monsters, was let go by Universal by the time this film was made.  He used processes that took too long and cost too much money.  So instead, they hired Bud Westmore to do the makeup for this film using a lot of rubber appliances.  It just doesn't have the same effect as Pierce's makeup did.  The Wolf Man's makeup is obviously different and not nearly as good.  Lugosi is wearing too much white face paint.  The Monster looks good, but it doesn't compare to the Monster makeups Pierce did with Karloff.

I have seen "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" countless times.  I know nearly every word of dialogue by this point.  It is one of my favorite movies, not only because of Abbott and Costello, but mainly because of Chaney, Lugosi, and Strange.

A  I recommend it.

By the way, there is a nice cameo at the end of the picture.  See it, if you can!

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