Between 1957 and 1962, Hammer Pictures, located in Water Oakley, Bray, Berkshire, England, through an agreement with the American Studio lent a strictly British touch to the five characters.
The original written version of Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of the Opera" was published in the French newspaper, "Le Gaulos", in 1909, as a serialized story. The first known motion picture was the 1916 German "Das Gespenst im Openhaus", starring Swedish actor Nils Chrisander as "Erik".
Of note though, is that Leroux's source was an actual reported "Phantom". Who was directly associated with the construction of the Paris Opera House. For those of my readers interested in the whole story. My article, "THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Gaston Leroux On the Motion Picture and Television Screens" will be found at:
According to a story, in 1922, Carl Laemmle, the founder and owner of Universal Pictures was on vacation in Paris, France. There he met Gaston Leroux, who was working with a motion picture studio at the time. As the two talked, Laemmle mentioned how he enjoyed visiting the Opera House and Leroux gave him an autographed copy of his novel. After reading it in one night, Carl Laemmle, acquired the rights for a Lon Chaney motion picture that would be released on September 6 1925.
Ernst Laemmale was the first non-credited Director. He was Carl Laemmale's nephew and had been both a screenplay writer and film director in his native Germany. During the 1930's, Ernst was Universal Pictures Foreign Language supervisor and Directed motion pictures for Universal's German subsidiary.
Edward Sedgwick was the second non-credited Director. Like Rupert Julian, he was an example of the early motion picture industry. Sedgwick acted in 40 motion pictures between 1914 and 1930, Received writing credit for 33 screenplays, between 1917 and 1939, and Directed 99 motion pictures and television shows, between 1920 and 1953.
The third non-credited Director was the star of the motion picture, Lon Chaney. Who was also the only credited make-up artist on the production.
If my reader thinks Four Directors is somewhat odd? After giving Gaston Leroux credit as the novelist, Carl Laemmle employed Eight writers on the production with not one getting on-screen credit.
The adaptation of Leroux's novel went to two writers. Elliott J. Clawson would be credited with 78 screenplays between 1917 and 1929. With this film being his only uncredited screenplay. Raymond L. Schrock would be credited with 149 screenplays between 1915 and 1951.
Two writers received no credit for doing the treatment of the novel for the screenplay. They were, Bernard McConville, who had 94 credited screenplays between 1915 and 1946, besides this his only non-credited film. While Jasper Spearing's only motion picture work was this film.
The very important titles to read went to two other writers. Walter Anthony wrote the titles for 37 Silent films and the screenplays for 50 sound motion pictures. Tom Reed started as a title writer on "The Phantom of the Opera" for a total of 27 features and then with the advent of sound. Wrote the screenplays for an additional 56 motion pictures.
Frank M, McCormack is listed as a writer, but without any information as to his contribution to the picture. Like Jasper Spearing, this was McCormack's only film listing.
Richard Wallace is the eighth screenplay writer listed, but his contribution is interesting due to his title of adding additional comedy material to this Horror film. Wallace begin screenplay writing in 1925 and has five listed, but of course, not "The Phantom of the Opera". Between 1926 and 1950, Wallace would write 58 other screenplays.
The Three Main Characters:
Lon Chaney portrayed "Erik, The Phantom". To set the film record straight, Lon Chaney wasn't strictly associated with Universal Pictures and like Director Tod Browning. He also worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and made another classic 1925 motion picture, "The Unholy Three", at that studio.
Among the films, that the Universal Pictures publicity department dubbed Lon Chaney, "The Man of a Thousand Faces", was the studios 1923 version of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". In which Lon created a make-up more horrifying than even the author had imagined.
For those of my readers interested in that motion picture and the complete story of Victor Hugo's novel, on-screen, with other actors such as Charles Laughton, Anthony Quinn and Anthony Hopkins. My article, "Victor Hugo's Immortal Love Story: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME on the Motion Picture Screen" can be accessed at:
Just before the release of "The Phantom of the Opera". Lon Chaney appeared in MGM's 1924 "He Who Gets Slapped".
Above Lon, in a scene from the feature with the rare shot of his actual face. Below Chaney with his characters full clown make-up on.
Next, Lon Chaney created another classic make-up and, perhaps, the one he is most associated with.
Mary Philbin portrayed "Christine Daae". Between 1921 and 1929 the actress appeared on the Silent screen 34 times and then gave up acting. Philbin was in another classic Silent Horror film based upon the Victor Hugo novel "The Man Who Laughs". Her co-star was not Lon Chaney, but German actor Conrad Veidt. Who was best known for portraying "Caesar the Somnambulist" in 1920's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".
Norman Kerry portrayed "Vicomte Raul de Chagny". Kerry was a leading man during the Silent Era and made the transition to sound in supporting roles. Between 1916 and 1931 he was seen in 65 motion pictures and then took a ten year break and appeared in his last feature, 1941's Comedy-Romance, "Tanks A Million" with 13th billing. In 1923, Kerry, portrayed "Phoebus de Chateaupers" in Lon Chaney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". In 1927 the actor co-starred with Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford in the Tod Browning Directed MGM movie "The Unknown".
The story opens with the debut of a new production of Charles-Francis Gounod's opera "Faust". In attendance are the "Comte Phillipe de Chagny", played by John St. Polis, and his young brother, "Vicomte Raul de Chagny". The only reason "Raul" is at the opera is to hear his love, "Christine Daae", sing. "Daae" has been promoted from the chorus to the understudy for the prima donna, "Madame Carlotta", played by Virginia Pearson.
Note: In 1930, with the advent of sound. Universal Pictures re-edited the 1925 film with added sound sections. Virginia Pearson played "Carlotta's" mother in those new sound portions. While, Mary Fabian, now appeared as "Carlotta", instead of using the now edited out original Pearson sequences. Lon Chaney's voice is not heard as "The Phantom". Altough he was available at the time.
During an intermission in the performance, "Raul" visits "Christine" in her dressing room and proposes marriage to her, but she refuses to avoid their relationship getting in the way of an Opera career.
At the height of the Opera season the current owners of the Paris Opera House suddenly sell it. They tell the new owners about "The Opera Ghost". Who is to be the only person to "Occupy Box Number Five". (See my above article about the real "Ghost" and the real "Box #5). The new owners laugh the story off as a practical joke, but the old owners don't act as if they're joking.
The performance concluded, backstage, the ballerinas are frightened with talk of a man wearing a fez prowling around the opera house. Could he be the "Phantom"?
The following day "Raul" meets "Christine" in a garden near the opera house and asks her to reconsider his marriage proposal. She tells him her career will always come first and that she is being tutored by a "Divine Voice" she calls "The Spirit of Music". "Raul" makes the mistake of telling "Christine" that somebody must be playing a joke upon her and in a rage, she leaves him.
Now three events take place. The first, is "Christine" taking the place of "Madame Carlotta" in "Faust". The second, is that the new owners of the opera see a strange man sitting in "Box #5" and when they turn away to talk and return their gaze on the box. The "Opera Ghost" is gone! The third event, is when stage hand "Simon Buquet", played by Gibson Gowland, finds the body of his brother, "Joseph Buquet", played by Bernard Siegel, hanging by a noose and vows vengeance on the "Opera Ghost".
Now, "Carlotta" receives a note telling her to stay ill and let "Christine" sing her role of "Marguerite". While, the owners receive a similar note, but with the warning. That, if they do not let "Christine Daae" sing the leading role, their opera will have a curse put upon it. Defiant, "Carlotta" appears on stage and sets off a string of new events.
They start with "The Phantom" dropping a large crystal chandelier on the audience.
A secret door opens in "Christine's" dressing room and she hears her "Divine Voice" call to her and enters a dark passageway. She starts following the passage downward and meets the man behind the voice. Who is wearing a mask and introduces himself as "Erik" and declares his love for "Christine".
"Christine" faints and "Erik" carries her to a suite he has created just for her.
The following morning "Christine" awakes and finds a note from "Erik". He informs her that she is free to go and comes as she pleases, but she MUST NEVER ask him to remove his mask.
Curiosity, overtakes "Christine Daae", as she hears "Erik" playing at his organ. She approaches and we have one of the most famous scenes in Horror movies, the unmasking of "Erik, The Phantom of the Opera". To reveal the make-up Lon Chaney designed for himself.
"Christine" pleads with "Erik" to let her sing again and he relents and allows her to return to the surface one last time. She decides to meet with "Raul" at the annual Paris Opera masked-ball. At the ball "Erik" appears as "The Mask of the Red Death", in a rare, expensive for the time, two-strip Technicolor sequence.
After the next nights performance, "Christine" is kidnapped by "Erik" and taken to his underground world.
Rushing to "Christine's" dressing room, "Raul" finds her gone, but the man in fez is there. He introduces himself, as a secret policeman, and reveals he has been after "Erik", an escapee from "Devil's Island". "Ledoux" reveals the secret passageway in the dressing room and the two men enter it. "Ledoux" instructs "Raul" to keep one hand high to detect hidden traps that could severe his head from his neck.
The proceed into the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House.
The two men fall through a trap door into "Erik's" dungeon room. Meanwhile, "Raul's" brother, "Phillipe", looking for him, enters the catacombs and is drowned by the observant "Phantom". Who now returns to torture his other two victims.
"Erik" subjects "Raul" and "Ledoux" to extreme heat, but they manage to escape into another room. However, it is full of barrels of gunpower and "Erik" now locks them inside it to be blown up. "Christine" begs "Erik" to let them go and at the last minute, he relents, and the two fall through another trap door to safety.
Meanwhile, the forgotten "Simon Buquet" has formed a mob and they storm the opera house looking for "The Phantom".
The mob now grabs "Erik" as "Raul" is reunited with "Christine". The mob throws, "Erik, the Phantom of the Opera", into the River Seine in which he drowns. A brief epilogue shows "Raul" and "Christine" on their honeymoon.
We both the success of the 1925 and 1943 versions of Gaston Leroux's novel. Universal Pictures wanted to make a third version produced by William Alland, 1953's "It Came from Outer Space", 1954's "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and its two sequels. Along with 1955's "Tarantula" and "This Island Earth".
The screenplay would be by Franklin Coen, 1955's "Chief Crazy Horse" and "This Island Earth". However, plans for the remake fell through, but after the success of co-financing and distributing the British Hammer Films version of "Dracula". The now, Universal International Pictures, Executives revived the idea of a new "The Phantom of the Opera" and backed Hammer in making it. This was in 1959, but Hammer had already made a deal with Columbia Pictures and this would delay the film until 1962.
On June 25, 1962, Hammer Films released their "The Phantom of the Opera" in the United Kingdom. It would not arrive in the United States until August 15th.
The motion picture was Directed by Terence Fisher. Fisher has started Directing in 1948 and would direct all five of the films mentioned in this article. Among his other work are, Hammer's 1959 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles", and their 1960 version of Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". Which was known either as "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll", or the "House of Fright". Terence Fisher also directed the German and British co-production, 1962's "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace", that starred Christopher Lee as "Holmes".
The screenplay is credited to John Elder. Who was actually Anthony Hinds, the son of the founder of Hammer Films. Hinds was known for taking the writing credit for screenplays written by others.
Additional credit is given to author Gaston Leroux for the novel.
Credit for Anthony Hinds (John Elder's) screenplay, as was normal on both sides of the pond, should have also been given to Eric Taylor, Hans Jacoby and Samuel Hoffenstein. These three men wrote the screenplay for Universal Pictures 1943 version of "The Phantom of the Opera" that this film relays upon. Claude Rains might have had the title role in that 1943 film, but the production with its elaborate opera sequences. Had really been designed, by the new Universal Pictures owners, as a vehicle for a comeback attempt by first billed, 1930's operatic singer, Nelson Eddy. Rather than having the screenplay concentrate on the actual novel as Carl Laemmle had in 1925.
Hinds lifts portions of the 1943 screenplay for some of the background of Hammer's "Phantom". Examples, in both screenplays "The Phantom" are composers. In both screenplays, the composers believe they were cheated by the person who was to publish their opera. In both screenplays, that theft would lead to both composers having acid thrown in their faces and causing them to become the title character.
A major move was the location of the story from Paris, France, to London, England. The British screenplay adds an important character in a dwarf and of course, the names are now English rather than French.
The Five Main Characters:
Herbert Lom portrayed "Professor L. Petrie aka: The Phantom". Lom portrayed "Napoleon Bonaparte" twice, first in 1942's "Mr. Pitt", and second in Director King Vidor's epic production of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in 1956. Lom is probably best known for portraying Peter Sellers foil, "Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus" in "The Pink Panther" movie series. Herbert Lom was also "Captain Nemo" in Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen's 1961 version of Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" and "General Huerta" in the Robert Mitchum, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson, 1968 "Villa Rides".
Heather Sears portrayed "Christine Charles". Sears would have only 27 roles to her credit between 1955 and 1989, but that contained some major films. She had the title role, co-starring with Joan Crawford, in 1957's "The Story of Esther Costello" and was billed third, behind Lawrence Harvey and Simone Signoret in 1959's "Room at the Top". Heather Sears was fifth billed in the major 1960 British film based upon author D.H. Lawrence's novel "Sons and Lovers". This picture immediately followed that production.
Edward de Souza portrayed "Harry Hunter". De Souza began his on-screen career as "Charles Darnay" in a 1957 British television mini-series based upon Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities". "The Phantom of the Opera" was the actor's eight appearance and he would follow it with another Hammer film, "The Kiss of the Vampire".
Michael Gough portrayed "Lord Ambrose D'Arcy". Gough is best known for portraying "Alfred" in the "Batman" series starting with Director Tim Burton's feature. Gough was in two other interesting British productions, 1959's "Horrors of the Black Museum", and 1961's "Konga", a fun "King Kong" rip-off. He was also played a "Time Lord" on the BBC's "Dr. Who", and was the cause of 1973's "The Legend of Hell House". My article on his career, "MICHAEL GOUGH: Before and After Tim Burton's 'Batman" may be enjoyed at:
Thorley Walters portrayed "Lattimer". The British actor started in motion pictures in 1934 and in 1962, besides this motion picture, he portrayed "Dr. Watson" to Christopher Lee's "Holmes", in "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace". In 1964, Walters was in Director Terence Fisher's Science Fiction entry "The Earth Dies Screaming" and in 1966 was reteamed with both Fischer and Lee, for "Dracula: Prince of Darkness". All followed by two of Hammer's "Frankenstein" productions starring Peter Cushing.
The opening credits show the phantom playing his organ in the catacombs with a "Dwarf", played by Ian Wilson, watching him.
The credits end and----
Which, the opera's manager, "Lattimer", informs his Lordship is haunted. Leading to "D'Arcy" stating that's ridiculous and demanding that the box be sold to someone.
Backstage, the opera's producer, "Harry Hunter", is attempting to calm everyone down. This includes the opera house's prima donna lead singer "Maria", played by Liane Aukin,
The police come to investigate and the opera has been postponed. Worse, for "Harry", is that "Maria" now refuses to sing and a search for a new lead begins. "Harry" discovers that one of the chorus girls, "Christine Charles", has the proper voice to sing the lead, but may need some training. He tells both "Lattimer" and "D'Arcy" about her and they listen to the girl sing the opening aria.
Unlike singer Susanna Foster as "Christine DuBois" in the 1943 film. Patricia Clark dubbed Heather Sears singing voice and it is obvious to the viewer.
"Ambrose D'Arcy" is impressed with "Christine", but not necessarily as a singer. He offers her "Private Lessons" and the naïve girl accepts. Back in her dressing room, "Christine" hears a "Phantom Voice", warning her of "Lord D'Arcy" and his reputation with women. At dinner, "Ambrose" is about to seduce "Christine", but "Harry" arrives at the restaurant and saves her the embarrassment. On the ride back to her boarding house, she tells him of the "Phantom Voice". He wonders if its the supposed "Opera Ghost"? Now intrigued by "Christine's" story, he has the coachman change directions to the opera house.
There they go into her dressing room to determine where the voice came from? While this is occurring, in the catacombs, the opera house's "Rat Catcher", played by Patrick Troughton, "The Second Dr. Who" and "Phineas" in Stop Motion animator Ray Harryhausen's 1963 "Jason and the Argonauts", is murdered by the "Dwarf", because he is about to discover the home of "The Phantom".
"Harry" and "Christine" hear his screams. "Harry" leaves her alone in the dressing room to investigate. At that moment a man dressed all in black, wearing a mask with only one eye showing, appears, and tells "Christine" she must come with him.
Frightened, she screams, and the man flees. "Harry" comes running, calms her down, and takes her to her boarding house. The next morning "Christine" receives a dismissal note from "Lord Ambrose", because she refused to go to his apartment. "Ambrose" has hired a more willing woman with a lesser voice to replace "Maria". When "Harry" refuses to accept "Christine's" dismissal, he is dismissed by "D'Arcy".
Visiting "Christine", at her boarding house, "Harry" discovers some old manuscripts that appear to be "D'Arcy's" opera. He asks the landlady, "Mrs. Tucker", played by Renee Huston, about them. She says they belonged to a "Professor Petrie". Who was killed during a fire at the printing company that was to print the opera for the professor's publisher.
Now, "Harry" and "Christine" go to investigate the mystery of "Professor Petrie" and "Lord Ambrose D'Arcy's" opera. They visit the print shop and learns that there had been a fire and that the professor is believed to have perished by falling into the river Thames across from the shop. Next, the two go to the police to confirm that part of the story.
"Harry" tells "Christine" he believes "Lord D'Arcy" stole the opera from "Professor Petrie", whom, "Harry" believes, is long dead.
"Christine" returns to the boarding house and that night is confronted by the "Dwarf". Who kidnaps her and takes her to the "Phantom" playing his organ.
While at the London Opera House, "Harry Hunter" is reinstated as producer, but he is concerned about "Christine". Who seems to have disappeared and nobody, including "Mrs. Tucker", has heard from her! Walking by the Thames near the print shop, "Harry" thinks he is faintly hearing "Christine's" singing voice and notices a sewer grate. Walking down steps, he enters the Thames and goes through the grate into the sewer water. As he walks in the dark, "Harry" hears the faint sound of an organ and heads in that direction, but the "Dwarf" spots him and attacks with a knife.
"Harry" asks "Professor Petrie" about how he came to be in the catcombs and become "The Phantom".
Now the screenplay does a flashback to tell what led to the creation of "The Phantom of the Opera". The Professor tells "Harry" that five years ago he had been a struggling and starving composer. He was forced to sell all his music, including the opera, to "Lord Ambrose D'Arcy" for small amount of money, but believed once his music was published he would be recognized .
However, he discovered that "D'Arcy", against their agreement, put his own name on his compositions, making him famous, and denied knowing him.
In the 1943 version, "Claudin", goes to the print shop and discovers the publisher, "Pleyel", has put his name on his opera. In that picture it is another person that mistakenly throws nitric acid on the composer.
"Petrie" in pain, jumps into the river Thames, and is found by the "Dwarf", ending the flashback.
"Professor Petrie" now tells "Christine" and "Harry" that he's dying and would like to finish training her. They both agree to let him finish.
Now, several weeks later, on the eve of the opera, "Saint Joan", starring "Christine Charles, "The Phantom of the Opera" visits "Lord Ambrose D'Arcy" in his opera office. There the pompous "D'Arcy" rips off the "Phantom's Mask", screams in fright at to what he sees, and runs out of the opera house never to be seen again.
Next, "The Phantom" is sitting in "Box #5" listening to "Christine" sing and it brings tears to his eyes. While also listening to the music, the "Dwarf" is on one of the catwalks and a stage hand starts to chase him. In panic the "Dwarf" jumps upon the chandelier and his weight starts to break the rope holding it. The chandelier is located directly above "Christine" and ripping off his mask, "Professor Petrie", jumps from "Box #5" to push "Christine" to safety as the chandelier comes down killing him.
Abraham "Bram' Stoker was an Irish writer, the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, and personal assistant to Actor Henry Irving. In 1897, Bram Stoker published his Gothic Horror novel, "Dracula".
Technically it wasn't "A Vampire" motion picture, but "Two Vampire" motion pictures from Universal Pictures. In 1931, "Dubbing Voices" hadn't started in the sound industry and if you wanted a Foreign language version of a specific motion picture. The studios would actually shoot the same film with a Foreign language cast.
In this instance, one version was shot in daylight, one version shot at night, one in English, one in Spanish, but both using the same sets and basically the same screenplay. The English language picture was released on February 9, 1931 in Ashville, North Carolina, and the Spanish language picture was released, one month later, on March 11, 1931 in Havana, Cuba.
Above a poster for the version shot during the day and below a poster for the version shot during the night.
Irish Actor and Playwright Hamilton Deane, had written a play based upon the Bram Stoker novel and in 1924 his play toured England. In July, 1927, American Stage Producer Horace Liveright saw Deane's play on the London Stage. The producer acquired the rights to the play and had it revised by American Playwright John L, Balderston. This hybrid version of Deane's work came to Broadway in October 1927, starring Hungarian Actor Bela Lugosi.
At some point, Carl Laemmle, Jr., who become the force behind the "Classic Sound, Universal Pictures 1930's Monsters", saw the Broadway play and acquired the motion picture rights.,
There was a group of nine writers, with six not receiving on-screen credit, involved in writing the screenplay for Carl Laemmle, Jr's. English language version of "Dracula".
The first on-screen credits went to Playwrights Hamilton Deane and John Balderston. The opening title card gives the audience the impression that both men wrote the 1924 play,
Next, on the English language version, is the on-screen credit for Garrett Fort. Who wrote a third play, based upon both the 1924 and 1927 material. Fort's play became the working story line for the screenplay. Garrett Fort would be involved in the screenplays for 1931's "Frankenstein", John Ford's 1934 "The Lost Patrol", and in 1936, both "Dracula's Daughter", that starts at the point this screenplay ended, and Tod Browning's "The Devil Doll".
The six non-credited writers are, Louis Bromfield, who wrote the novel "The Rains Came", but didn't work on either the 1939, or 1955 screenplays based upon his work. Dudley Murphy, worked upon both the English and Spanish language screenplays. While, Fredrick Stephani, wrote the screenplays for both the 1936 and 1938, "Flash Gordon" serials and also Directed them.
Louis Stevens was out of his element, because he was basically a "B" Western writer. Also contributing to the screenplay, for the English language version only, was the pictures "Credited Director", Tod Browning. The final non-credit went to Max Cohen for creating the opening title cards.
The only on-screen credited writer for the Spanish language version of "Dracula". was Batlasar Fernandez Cue. Who wrote seven other screenplays between 1930 and 1948. Although, Deane, Balderston, Fort and Murphy were mentioned for the original English language screenplay that was translated into Spanish with additional acting directions designed for a Hispanic audience.
Tod Browning, as the title card indicates, was the credited Director of the English language version of "Dracula". However, that might not be completely true! Reports at the time, including from cast members, stated that Browning, who had Directed Lon Chaney during the silent era, was not always on set Directing "Dracula".
My article, "Tod Browning: Lon Chaney Meets Bela Lugosi: A Tale of Two Motion Pictures" can be found at:
Instead, without credit, Cinematographer Karl Freund shot the majority of the motion picture. Among Freund's work as a Cinematographer, were the German, 1914, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", Actor and Director Paul Wegener's1920 "The Golem" and Fritz Lang's 1927 "Metropolis".
The Spanish language version had two Directors.
American George Melford received the on-screen credit. Between 1911 and 1946, he Directed 231 motion pictures, and, between 1909 and 1956, Acted in 131 movies. This was Melford's only Foreign language Directed motion picture.
Which brings me to the uncredited Enrique Tovar Avalos. This was his fifth and last Directing assignment. Avalos, who worked in the Mexican cinema since 1918, also worked as a translator for George Melford with those members of the Mexican cast that did not speak English.
The Seven Main Roles:
Bela Lugosi portrayed "Count Dracula" in the English language version. Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko had been Acting in Hungarian and Weimar Republic Germany motion pictures since 1917. For his first two years of film work, he was known as "Olt Ariszid" and in 1919 became Bela Lugosi. In 1924, Lugosi first appeared in American movies and had a non-credited role in Lon Chaney's 1924 "He Who Gets Slapped". Bela Lugosi had to fight for the role of "Dracula" in the picture. Even though he had starred in the Broadway production and, afterwards, in one of the road show productions.
Carlos Villarias billed as Carlos Villar, portrayed "Conde Dracula". Villarias was born in Spain and started in motion pictures in 1917. All of his 91 roles were in the Mexican cinema.
Helen Chandler portrayed "Mina Seward". Legitimate stage Actress Chandler did not do well in motion pictures and "Dracula" was her 9th of only 27 films. She would return to the stage, but was an alcoholic. In 1940, Helen Chandler was committed to a sanitarium and in 1950, fell asleep smoking and caused a fire disfiguring her face.
Above, compare Helen Chandler's night wear to Lupita Tovar's, to get a sense of how the Spanish "Dracula", because it was classified a Foreign Film, was able to get around American Censorship.
David Manners portrayed "John Harker". Canadian Manners portrayed "Second Lieutenant Raleigh" in Director James Whale's 1930 film version of the play he had Directed, "Journey's End", with co-star Colin Clive. Manners moved to Hollywood and would appear in Universal Pictures 1932, "The Mummy" and co-star with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in 1934's "The Black Cat".
Barry Norton portrayed "Juan Harker". Norton was born in Argentina and started in motion picture in the role of "A Youth" in Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s 1926 "The Black Pirate". Throughout his 220 role career, Barry Norton, appeared in both Spanish and English language motion pictures.
Dwight Frye portrayed "Renfield". Frye would be associated with several Universal Horror films and three of the "Frankenstein" series. Overlooked, is that the actor was also in the original 1931 version of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". My article, "DWIGHT FRYE: Overlooked Horror Icon" will be found at:
Pablo Alvarez Rubio portrayed "Renfield". Rubio was born in Madrid, Spain, and between 1923 and 1954, appeared in 54 Mexican and Spanish motion pictures.
Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Dr. Van Helsing". On stage, in 1924, the actor appeared in the role of "Dr. Van Helsing" in the original stage production. "Dracula" was Van Sloan's second motion picture, his first was in 1916 and, as noted, was mainly a legitimate stage actor. He would follow this film with "Frankenstein". Of his 89 feature film roles, he is most remembered for the two previous mentioned works and 1932's "The Mummy" and 1936's "Dracula's Daughter". reprising his role as "Dr. Van Helsing".
Eduardo Arozamena portrayed "Van Helsing". Between 1917 and 1952, Arozamena appeared in the Mexican cinema 97 times.
Herbert Bunston portrayed "Doctor Seward'. British Actor Bunston was only on-screen 32 time for the short period of 1929 through 1935 and returned to the legitimate stage.
Francis Dade portrayed "Lucy Weston". Dade only appeared in 14 films between 1928 and 1933. "Dracula" was her six feature film.
The Same Screenplay:
motion pictures used the same screenplay and the biggest difference, as with
"Lucia's" preparing for bed sequence, is the costuming and the way
"Dracula" interacts with the women in the Spanish language version. Again, because of American Censorship, at least two known scenes
and some sound effects were removed. While, the Spanish version may have the same scenes and use the same sets, but has a more sexual tone. Even though it was shot in North Hollywood, Calfornia, by an American Motion Picture Company, the movie had to be considered, by the "Hayes Office", as a strictly Foreign motion picture production.
Both films open with solicitor "Renfield" riding in a bumpy coach ride with other passengers and arriving at an inn.
Note: that in both, the girl ending up in "Renfield's" lap is the same
actress, but the others passengers do change. She was played by the niece of studio owner
Carl Laemmle, Carla Laemmle, who spoke her lines both in English and Spanish.
"Renfield" wants to go on to the "Borgo Pass" to meet a carriage. When questioned as to whose carriage, he replies "Count Dracula". He is told it is not safe to ride in the night, but insists. An old women gives "Renfield" a cross "For his mother's sake", and the driver takes him to the pass. Another coach arrives and although, "Reinfield" does not notice, the audience does, that the driver is "Dracula".
Arriving at "Castle Dracula", the coachman lets "Renfield" out and drives away. "Renfield" enters the castle and meets the Count.
I DO NOT DRINK-----WINE!Then, "Dracula" and "Renfield", discuss the purchase of "Carfax Abbey" and the the solicitor cuts himself with the knife.
Later that night, "Dracula" enters "Lucy-Lucia's" bedroom and feasts upon her blood. She will die, after several transfusions, the following day.
"Dr. Seward" has called in "Dr. Van Helsing" and he comes to the conclusion that a vampire is responsible. Meanwhile, "Renfield" is starting to eat flies and would like some spiders, or possibly a kitten.
"Renfield" is brought to "Dr. Seward's" office and shown wolfbane, that disturbs him, because "Van Helsing" is also speaking about vampires.
That night, "Dracula" visits "Mina-Eva", and bites her on the neck.
The next night "Dracula" visits "Dr. Seward's" home and is confronted by "Dr. Van Helsing". Who observes, with a mirror in a cigarette box, that he does not cast a shadow. "Dracula" smashes the mirror and leaves and "Van Helsing" deduces the the Count is the vampire.
Reports come of a woman in white luring children are appearing in the newspapers. "Mina-Eva" has a copy and reads the headline and believes its "Lucy-Lucia"". "Harker" wants to take her to London with him, but "Van Helsing" and "Seward" convince "John-Juan" she must stay with them.
"Dracula" now enters the parlor of the "Seward" residence and confronts "Dr. Van Helsing". The Count tells him that "Mina-Eva" now belongs to the vampire and he should return to his own "Home Country" and then "Dracula" attempts to hypnotize the other. At which point "Van Helsing" pulls out a crucifix and drives the vampire out of the house.
"Dracula" hypnotizes the nurse to remove the wolfbane from around "Mina-Eva's" neck and then he enters her room and takes her to "Carfax Abbey".
"Renfield" is seen by "Van Helsing" and "Harker" going to "Carfax" and they decide to follow. When "Renfield" shouts to "Mina-Eva", the vampire thinks he's betrayed him and kills his follower. The sun is coming up and he must return to his coffin.
"Van Helsing" now drives a stake into "Lucy-Lucia" and "Count Dracula", releasing "Mina-Eva" from his control and she walks out of "Carfax Abbey" with "John-Juan".
No matter which title you watched, this Hammer Films version of "Dracula", is actually the second of the 1930's Universal Pictures that they re-envisioned
The screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster. Sangster started writing for Hammer Films with the screenplay for the excellent 1956 "X-the Unknown", starring American Dean Jagger. Among his other screenplays are 1958's "Revenge of Frankenstein" and the same years "Brides of Dracula". Another very good Science Fiction entry "The Trollenberg Terror aka: The Crawling Eye". Two other of Jimmy Sangster's screenplays will be discussed later in this article.
The Five Main Roles:
Peter Cushing portrayed "Doctor Van Helsing". Back in 1954 Cushing portrayed "Winston Smith" in a BBC Live Production of George Orwell's "1984". Among his other Hammer Films are 1957's "The Abominable Snowman aka: The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas". 1958's "Revenge of Frankenstein", 1959's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and repeating the role of "Van Helsing" in 1959's "Brides of Dracula". A film the neither has, or mention "Dracula". In 1972 Cushing was in the Spanish feature film. "Horror Express". This is actually a version of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s novella, "Who Goes There?", aka: "The Thing".
My article "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on the Motion Picture and Television Screens1914-2016" can be found at:
Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula". In 1958, Lee was in the Boris Karloff feature "Corridors of Blood", the following year he was seen in Hammer's "The Man Who Could Cheat Death" and "The Hound of the Baskervilles". In 1960, Christopher Lee was in Hammer's "Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll", in 1970, Lee again portrayed "Dracula", in the German-Spanish "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht (At Night, When Dracula Awakens) aka: Count Dracula", a failed attempt at actually doing Bram Stoker's novel. In 1972 he joined Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas in "Horror Express".
My article, "WHO GOES THERE?" 1938, "THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD" 1951, "THE THING" 1982, "THE THING" 2011, "HORROR EXPRESS" 1972" may be read at:
Michael Gough portrayed "Arthur Holmwood".
Melissa Stribling portrayed "Mina Holmwood". Stribling was basically a British television actress and her few movie roles included 28th billing behind 27th billed Patricia Owens, 1958's "The Fly", in 1952's "Ghost Ship" starring Hazel Court. She was also in Hammer's 1957 "Curse of Frankenstein". Melissa Stribling had 10th billing in 1960's "League of Gentlemen", starring Jack Hawkins and Richard Attenborough.
Carol Marsh portrayed "Lucy Holmwood". Marsh started acting with 12th billing in 1948's "Brighton Rock" starring Richard Attenbourgh and William Hartnell, the first "Dr. Who". She was primarily a British television actress.
From the names of the above characters, it is obvious that screenplay writer Jimmy Sangster did not follow the Bram Stoker novel very close, but instead created a classic piece of Hammer Horror.
The year is 1885, and "Jonathan Harker", played by John Van Eyseen, arrives at "Castle Dracula", near the town of Klausenberg, to become the new librarian.
He finds the castle seemingly deserted, but dinner awaiting him.
The following day, "Jonathan Harker" searches the castle grounds and locates "Dracula's" resting place. As the sun is setting, he returns to the main room of the castle and meets the woman once more. She approaches "Harker" and he seems enchanted by her, but her teeth lengthen to fangs.
The vampire bites "Harker's" neck, suddenly with eyes aflame, "Count Dracula" appears. He grabs the woman and throws her to the ground as "Jonathan" passes out.
After days of not hearing from "Harker", "Dr. Van Helsing" arrives in Klausenberg and attempts to find out information from the locals. The daughter of the Innkeeper had found "Harker's Journal" and when nobody is around, gives it to "Van Helsing". Next, he goes to "Castle Dracula", finds the empty picture frame that held a picture of "Lucy Holmwood", sadly, finds the vampire "Harker", but "Count Dracula" is gone.
That night, outside of "Lucy's" bedroom window, the leaves on the ground start to swirl as she looks expectantly at the glass doors to the terrace. She walks over to them, opens the doors, and meets "Count Dracula" once more. He again bites her upon the neck.
The following day, "Mina Harker" seeks out "Dr. Van Helsing" for his aide in treating "Lucy's" illness. Whom the family's doctor is at a loss as to the cause of it. While examining the girl, "Arthur" comes home and is upset over the idea of "Van Helsing" being there. Especially, after "Van Helsing" has seen the marks on "Arthur's" sister's neck, has associated them with the missing photo, and prescribed garlic bouquets to be placed around "Lucy's" room.
"Lucy" convinces the maid, "Gerda", played by Olga Dickie, to remove all the garlic from her bedroom. The next morning, "Gerda" and the "Holmwood's" find her dead. The still skeptical "Arthur" is given "Harker's Journal" to read and recognizing the handwriting is shocked at what it contains.
It has been three days since "Lucy" was interred and the reports of a "Woman in White" luring children must be "Arthur's" sister. "Van Helsing" and 'Holmwood" go to the family crypt, but to "Arthur's" amazement, find "Lucy's" coffin empty.
The two men wait in hiding and "Lucy" appears with the maid, "Gerda's" daughter "Tania", played by Janina Faye.
"Lucy" sees "Arthur" and forgets "Tania". She now goes for her "Dear Brother" and wants "To Kiss Him!" "Van Helsing" appears and wards off "Lucy" with a crucifix.
Next, "Van Helsing" explains to "Arthur", that "Lucy" is "Dracula's" replacement for the vampire woman "Jonathan" destroyed. He next gives "Tania" the crucifix to hold.
"Van Helsing" wants to use "Lucy" to find "Dracula", but her brother will have nothing to do with such a thing. "Van Helsing" drives a stake through her heart and then "Arthur Holmwood" looks at the body of his now peaceful sister.
Two events take place, first "Van Helsing" and "Arthur" go to the border crossing of Ingolstadt to speak to the guards about "Dracula" possibly crossing it to return to "Castle Dracula". They discover that has not taken place. The second event has "Mina Holmwood" receiving a message, supposedly from her husband, to go to the local undertaker, but in reality it is a trap set by the Count.
The following day, after returning, "Van Helsing" and "Holmwood" visit the same Undertaker. After receiving a possible lead, the two follow it, but discover "Dracula's" coffin is missing. At home, as the two men speak with "Mina", "Arthur" hands her a cross to wear and it burns his wife's hand. That night, "Count Dracula" visits "Mina Holmwood" in her room.
Later, "Arthur" finds his wife and calls for "Van Helsing" and a transfusion takes place.
While, "Van Helsing" and "Arthur" discuss their next move. "Dracula" returns, takes "Mina", and in a coach heads for the border and "Castle Dracula".
The two men pursue, but at "Castle Dracula", the Count is digging a hole in the ground to bury "Mina" his future bride.
The sun is about to come up and "Dracula" sees the approaching men. He hurries inside the castle to reach his coffin. Outside, "Arthur" runs to his wife and leaving the two, "Van Helsing" runs after the Count.
There, the two meet and a fight ensues with "Dracula's" strength overpowering "Dr. Van Helsing". However, the first light of day is breaking through the curtains, "Van Helsing" pulls one down, grabs two candlesticks making a cross and pins down the vampire.
There are two points about the picture I want to make. The running time is 82 minutes, but Christopher Lee, portraying the title character, is only on-screen for a total of 8 minutes. There's a legend of a longer and far sexier version released in Europe and Japan, but no proof to the story has ever been found.
"FRANKENSTEIN, or THE MODERN PROMETHEUS" was written by 21 years old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and first published in three volumes in 1818. The first motion picture version was released in 1910 by Thomas Edison's Film Company and there would be other silent versions. However, it was the production from Universal Pictures, released 9 months after their "Dracula", that would spawn eleven sequels.
"Frankenstein" would be released on November 9, 1931 and make a Director and a Monster Household names.
Note: the above posters, the Universal Pictures publicity department had the title correct. As it read:
FRANKENSTEIN THE MAN WHO MADE A MONSTER!
However, when the film opened, the title was shortened to:
The motion picture was Directed by British stage and film Director James Whale. Whale would become associated with three other Universal Picture Horror entries of the period, 1932's "The Old Dark House", 1933's "The Invisible Man" and the first sequel to this feature, 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein". My article on Whale's early career, "JAMES WHALE: Jean Harlow to Louis Hayward" is found at:
This productions screenplay was put together similarly to 1931's "Dracula". There was on-screen credit to the novels author, but not by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the credit reads, Mrs. Percy B. Shelley.
Back in 1927, the non-credited Hamilton Deane, had asked the credited John L. Balerston to adopt British playwright Peggy Webing's play "Frankenstein" for American audiences. That rewrite never was seen on American stages, but Webing is a credited writer on this film.
The actual screenplay is credited to two writers. The first is once again Garrett Fort. The second, Francis Edward Faragoh. Also, in 1931, Faragoh was the screenplay writer for the gangster picture, "Little Caesar". Which made Edward G. Robinson a star. Otherwise, Faragoh, was a "B" picture writer.
Richard Schayer was the scenario editor. In short he reviews the plot in the screenplay and shortens, or lengthens it as required. Schayer was also a screenplay writer in his own right. Between 1916 and 1965, He worked upon 113 screenplays of all genres.
Besides the invisible Hamilton Deane. There were two other non-credited writers on the picture. Between 1927 and 1957, Robert Florey, worked on 15 motion picture screenplays. Between 1927 and 1964, Florey Directed 278 "B" movies and television shows.
John Russell only worked on screenplays for 20 features between 1923 and this picture, his last.
The Seven Main Roles:
Colin Clive portrayed "Henry Frankenstein". Clive, as I already mentioned, was in James Whales 1930 "Journey's End" and would be in Whales 1935 "Bride of Frankenstein". My article, "Colin Clive: Henry, Not Victor Frankenstein and Alcoholism!" will be found at:
Mae Clarke portrayed "Elizabeth". Clarke portrayed "Kitty" in Director William A. "Wild Bill" Wellman's 1931 "Public Enemy". She's famous for having James Cagney push a grapefruit in her face. Next, in 1931, Mae Clarke starred in Director James Whale's "Waterloo Bridge", before this film.
Boris Karloff portrayed "The Monster". Karloff had been acting since 1919 and in 1932 portrayed "Gaffney", in Howard Hawks' "Scarface", starring Paul Muni as "Antonio 'Tony' Camonte". Also in 1932, Boris Karloff was in Universal Pictures "The Old Dark House" and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's version of Sax Rohmer's "The Mask of Fu Manchu", with an unknown Myrna Loy as his daughter.
Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Dr. Waldman".
With the problems from the "Hayes Office", over "Dracula", Carl Laemmle, Jr. decided to give "Frankenstein" a filmed introduction. He had actor Edward Van Sloane, in character, come out from behind a theater curtain to address the audience:
How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning: We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation; life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So, if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to uh, well,––we warned you.
Van Sloan goes back behind the curtain and the opening credits run.
The audience first sees "Henry Frankenstein", and his hunchback assistant, "Fritz", getting a body's for his experiments.
In an old abandoned watch tower, "Henry Frankenstein" creates his "Perfect Man", but he needs a brain before he can bring it to life. At the nearby medical school, "Dr. Waldman" teaches a class and demonstrates the difference between a normal brain and an abnormal brain.
"Dr. Frankenstein" sends "Fritz", that night, to steal the normal brain. but a lightening strike frightens him and he drops the brain. Afraid to return to "Henry" without the requested brain. "Fritz" now substitutes the abnormal brain, but without informing "Frankenstein".
While this is happening, "Henry's" fiancée, "Elizabeth", speaks of her concerns about his health to their mutual friend, "Victor Moritz".
The two decided to go to "Dr. Waldman" and he reveals his knowledge that "Henry" is obsessed with creating new life.
The three now go to the watch tower to confront "Henry".
There is a raging storm around the watchtower and "DR. HENRY FRANKENSTEIN" now declares he has discovered the secret of life that started at the World's creation. He invites his guests to watch as he brings life to the body he has made.
With a pully system, "Henry" and "Fritz" lift the body up into the raging storm above the watchtowers roof.
The following two lines of dialogue were cut from the film, by order of the "Hayes Office", as being blasphemous, but the lines originally followed the above quote.
VICTOR MORITIZ: "Henry, in the name of God!"
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: "In the name of God? Now I know what it feels like to BE God!
As terrifying as he looks, the monster is childlike and innocent. "Henry" invites him into his lab and opens the skylight and the monster reaches for the sun, as if it knows his strength comes from it.
Meanwhile, "Fritz" approaches the monster to torment him with another flaming torch.
The two unlock the dungeon door and the monster lunges at them. "Dr. Waldman" injects the drug in its back and the monster collapses to the floor unconscious.
While, "Henry", exhausted, collapses himself. He awakes at home with "Elizabeth" by his side.
The monster comes upon a little girl, played by Marilyn Harris, by a lake. She is throwing flowers into the water and watching them float. He joins in the game and then picks her up to see if she will float.
At the "House of Frankenstein", preparations for the marriage of "Elizabeth" to "Henry", that day are progressing. In the village, the father, played by Michael Mark, of the little girl brings her body to village square. While at the "Frankenstein" home the monster visits "Elizabeth".
"Henry" and some others run to the room and find "Elizabeth" unconscious on the bed and the monster gone.
The monster knocks "Henry" unconscious and carries him to the old mill. The villagers next hear "Frankenstein's" screams after he recovers and head for the mill.
The monster brings "Henry" out on the mills landing for the villagers to see.
The film ends with the old "Baron Frankenstein" getting to celebrate his son's wedding to "Elizabeth".
The first part was that the make-up could not resemble in anyway the one worn by Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange. This would change with Hammer's 1964 "The Evil of Frankenstein".
The other part was purely financial, as Warner Brother did not have a European Film Distribution system in place. While, Universal International did and with their U.K. partner, the Rank Organization, would control the film's release everywhere except North America. Where Warner Brother Pictures would distribute.
On May 2, 1957, "Curse of Frankenstein" had its World Premiere in London.
On June 25, 1957, with Hammer's 1956 Science Fiction film, "X-the Unknown", "The Curse of Frankenstein", opened in the United States.
The "Curse of Frankenstein" was also the first of the Universal Pictures 1930's monster movies that Hammer Films remade.
The Director was Terrence Fisher and the Screenplay writer Jimmy Sangster. As would be with his "Dracula", Sangster's screenplay reimagined Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel.
The make-up would be designed by Hammer's Philip "Phil" Leakey. Among his make-ups are 1955's "The Quartermass X-periment aka: The Creeping Unknown", 1957's "Quartermass 2 aka: Enemy from Space", 1957's "The Abominable Snowman aka: The Avbominable Snowman of the Himalayas", 1958's "Dracula aka: Horror of Dracula" and the1958 direct sequel to this motion picture, "The Revenge of Frankenstein".
My article "HAMMER FILMS: A Look at 'The House of Hammer' By An American Fan" contains a section about Phil Leakley and one about Terence Fisher. This four part article will be found at:
The Main Cast Members In Credit Order:
Peter Cushing portrayed the grown Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Victor Frankenstein".
Hazel Court portrayed the grown "Elizabeth". Court, who would be associated with three of Roger Corman's Poe films, 1962's "Premature Burial", 1963's "The Raven" and 1964's "The Masque of the Red Death". In her earlier film career Hazel Court was seen in the 1952 Horror movie "Ghost Ship" and the 1954 Science Fiction "Devil Girl from Mars". My article, "HAZEL COURT: Frankenstein's Bride and Roger Corman's Evil Lady" can be found at:
The screenplay opens in 19th Century Switzerland with "Baron Victor Frankenstein" awaiting execution by the guillotine he can view outside his one window. Into his cell comes a "Priest", played by Alex Gallier, to give him soul dispensation. However, the Baron does not believe in God, but does want to tell the story of what led him to his cell.
"Baron Frankenstein" takes the Priest back to the day his widowed mother died and 15 years old "Victor", played by Melvyn Hayes, became wealthy and inherited a vast estate. Coming to his house, from his mother's funeral, is his "Aunt Sophia", played by Noel hood, and her daughter, "Elizabeth", played by Sally Walsh, inquiring if their support money will still come? "Victor" advises, it will remain, making his worried Aunt happy.
Now intense scientific study begins and this is used to move the time of the story from Melvyn Hayes to Peter Cushing and "Paul", starting out clean shaven, to the older "Paul" with a beard.
"Victor" and "Paul" are shown with a dead puppy in a small glass chamber, electricity is applied and the puppy returns to life.
Now "Victor", proposes going beyond a puppy and creating the "Perfect Man" that he can show to the scientific world. "Paul" agrees to help him. The two men start to assemble the body----
-----but now the grown-up "Elizabeth" arrives. Whom "Paul" had no idea about and, further, to his surprise, is "Victor's" fiancée.
"Victor" is out and didn't know of "Elizabeth's" arrival, but he returns and the happy couple reunite.
The body of the "Perfect Man" is completed except for a brain.
While "Paul" and "Elizabeth" are occupied elsewhere, "Victor" takes "Professor Bernstein" to the second floor to show him something, but pushes him over the banister, making it look like an accidental fall.
"Paul" has reached his breaking point over this experiment and attempts to get "Elizabeth" to leave for her safety, as he tried before. However, as before, "Elizabeth" remains with the man she's loves. Although, neither "Victor", or "Paul", even now, will reveal what's going on in the laboratory.
"Victor" places the damaged brain in "The Creature" and the two men attempt to bring it to life, but apparently have failed. Which "Paul" finds satisfying that its all over now.
However, "The Creature" escapes and the two men are forced to go after it. Meanwhile, in the woods "The Creature" meets and kills a blind man.
"Victor" and "Paul" now come upon "The Creature". "Paul", using a shot-gun, shoots it in the eye, killing it, and the two men bury "Victor's" perfect human.
"Victor" then uses his vat of acid to get rid of the maid's body.
"Paul" returns to the house at the invitation of "Elizabeth". The following day she is to become the "Baroness Frankenstein" and wanted "Paul" to be at the ceremony. "Victor" comes in and discovers "Paul" is back, invites him into the laboratory, and shows him "The Creature". "Victor" has performed brain surgery to correct the psychotic tendencies and has "The Creature" chained up.
The two return to the drawing room, but "Elizabeth" isn't there. She has finally been taken over by her curiosity as to what's going in the laboratory. "Elizabeth" has taken the key to the door, enters, and looking around finds the acid vat. What she does not see is "The Creature". Who has finally broken its chains, and takes grabs her.
The screenplay returns to the present, and the "Priest" leaves "Victor" not believing one part of it. As he leaves, the "Priest" passes "Elizabeth" and "Paul". "Paul" goes into the cell and "Victor" is glad, because he can prove that he didn't murder "Justine", the charge against him. However, "Paul" will not assist him and "Victor" lunges and the jailer stops the fight.
"Paul" and "Elizabeth" leave and "Victor Frankenstein" faces his fate.
Carl Laemmle, Jr. commissioned Richard Schayer, 1931's "Frankenstein", to find him a novel, as Laemmle, Jr. had used for His two 1931 Horror classics. Schayer could not locate a novel, but the final screenplay did have elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, "The Ring of Thoth". Which is about an student Egyptologist who visits the Louvre and witnesses a strange event. The following is an excerpt:
John Vansittart Smith sat up on his chair with his nerves all on edge. The light was advancing slowly towards him, pausing from time to time, and then coming jerkily onwards. The bearer moved noiselessly. In the utter silence there was no suspicion of the pat of a footfall. An idea of robbers entered the Englishman's head. He snuggled up further into the corner. The light was two rooms off. Now it was in the next chamber, and still there was no sound. With something approaching to a thrill of fear the student observed a face, floating in the air as it were, behind the flare of the lamp. The figure was wrapped in shadow, but the light fell full upon the strange eager face. There was no mistaking the metallic glistening eyes and the cadaverous skin. It was the attendant with whom he had conversed.The entire short story can be read on "The Arthur Conan Doyle Doyle Encyclopedia"at:
Richard Schayer approached screenplay writer Nina Wilcox Putnam and the two researched Italian Count Alessandro Cagliostro, actually occultist and magician Guiseppe Balsamo, born June 2, 1743 and passed away on August 26, 1795. The two created a 9 page story treatment entitled "Cagliostro", a story set in San Francisco, California, about a 3,000 years old magician.
The treatment was presented to John L. Balderston and he changed the main character into an Egyptian High Priest. Balderston's screenplay seemed to have elements from the 1931 screenplay for "Dracula", but he also added the fictional "The Scroll of Thoth". Which he may of based it either upon the real Egyptian "Book of the Dead", or the "Book of Thoth". Which was a story about that Gods that appeared in Egypt sometime between 305 to 30 BCE.
Speaking of that 1931 "Dracula", the assigned Director was Cinematographer Karl Freund. It should be noted that the Cinematography credit for "The Mummy" went to Charles J, Stumar, but strangely for "Camera". It is probable Freund did both positions in reality. It should also be noted that in all of Stumar's 112 Cinematography assignments, between 1917 and 1935, only this one motion picture has the annotation of "Camera".
"The Mummy" opened on December 22, 1932.
Zita Johnann portrayed "Helen Grosvenor/Princess Anck-su-namun". The Austrian-Hungarian actress only made 8 motion pictures. This feature was her 3rd and there was a 52-year break between her 7th in 1934 and he last, Raiders of the Living Dead", in 1986, playing a "Librarian".
David Manners portrayed "Frank Whemple".
Arthur Byron portrayed "Sir Joseph Whemple". Between 1929 and 1937 he should have been seen on-screen 27 times, but his roles in 1937's "The Prisoner of Zenda" were deleted. However, also in 1932, with 3rd billing behind Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis, Byron was "The Warden" in "20,000 Years in Sing Sing". In 1934 he was in "The House of Rothchild" with Boris Karloff, Robert Young and Loretta Young. Arthur Byron's last actual on-screen appearance was in 1936's "The Prisoner of Shark Island" about Dr. Samuel Mudd. Who made the mistake of treating John Wilkes Booth.
Bramwell Fletcher portrayed "Ralph Norton". Between 1928 and 1967 he appeared on-screen both in motion pictures and television. However, it his the first two of Fletcher's four wives that are of interest here. The first was "Dracula" actress Helen Chandler, from 1935 through 1940, His second wife was the actress daughter of John Barrymore knowns as Diana Barrymore, 1942 through 1946.
Noble Johnson portrayed "The Nubian". African American actor Johnson would get motion picture immortality in a stereo typical "Negro Role" the following year, In fact he played the role twice and both in 1933. Noble Johnson was the "Native Chief of Skull Island" in both "King Kong" and "Son of Kong". Johnson, however was involved in Civil Rights, with his brother co-owned a motion picture company, was a great "Zombie" in 1940's "Ghost Breakers" starring Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard and Richard Carlson and played the war chief in Director John Ford's 1949 "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon". My article, Noble Johnson African-American Pioneer Actor" may be read at:
The screenplay opens with the following:
The year is 1927 and an archaeological dig in Egypt is being led by "Sir Joseph Whemple". They are looking for the tomb of the "Princess Anck-su-namun", but instead find a mummified male. On further inspection, he is the High Priest "Imhotep". Additionally, the "Whemple" expedition discovers an ancient box and opening it, are shocked to find what appears to be the fabled "Scroll of Thoth".
"Dr. Mueller" discovers that the viscera, organs that were always removed by the Egyptians for embalming, are still intact. He concludes that "Imhotep", for some unknown crime, was buried alive.
That night, disobeying "Whemple's" orders, "Ralph Norton", opens the box containing the suspected "Scroll of Thoth", from which legend says "Isis" raised "Osirus" from the grave, and starts to translate hieroglyphs.
While "Ralph Norton" is still studying the scroll, he turns to see the "Mummy of Imhotep" standing next to him. "Imhotep" reaches for the scroll, removes it, and leaves a hysterical and laughing "Norton".
"Ralph Norton's" hysterics bring the other members of the expedition.
"Ralph Norton" talks about "The Mummy" walking out of the door and on the floor are drag marks indicating the possibility.
The screenplay now switches to 1931 and the "Second Whemple Dig", but under the leadership of "Sir Joseph's" son, "Frank Whemple", along with "Professor Pearson", played by Leonard Mudie.
The two men are still searching for the tomb of "Princess Anck-su-namun" have found nothing. Then walking toward the building the expedition is using, comes a man who calls himself "Ardeth Bey".
This almost parchment looking man, for reasons he will not reveal, tells "Frank" and "Professor Pearson" where to dig for the tomb. The tomb is located, the finds given to the Cario Museum, and a celebration party takes place.
Now a battle of will begins between "Imhotep" and "Dr, Mueller" over the soul of "Helen".
At the pool within his home, "Imhotep" calls to "Helen" to come to him.
With "Helen" sitting beside "Imhotep", the waters of the pool start to ripple, and the story of their forbidden love is shown in a flashback.
The story tells how "Princess Anck-su-namun" died and the "High Priest Imhotep" stole the "Scroll of Thoth" in a attempt to bring her back to life.
Then, "Imhotep" was caught saying the sacred words beside her sarcophagus.
He is wrapped as a mummy, sealed alive, and buried until the first "Whemple" expedition found him.
In almost a trance-like state, "Helen" leaves the house and returns to her hotel room. Where "David", his father and "Dr, Mueller", are concern about her. Still somewhat in a trance she speaks some words that "Dr. Mueller" immediately reacts too, making the statement:
"Mueller" now reveals his concerns about "Ardeth Bey". Based upon his own research and as fantastic as it might sound, he believes him to be "Imhotep". The other two aren't completely convinced, but agree the Egyptian is too interested in "Helen". Coming out of the room, "Dr. Mueller" gives "Helen" an Egyptian necklace to wear for protection. This is the Egyptian version of the crucifix from 1931's "Dracula" and another of the subtitle lifts by John L. Balderston and used by Karl Freund. Including sequences between Boris Karloff and Zita Johnann that are obvious substitutions of scenes between Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler with similar dialogue.
The climax comes as "Helen" is missing from her room and the necklace is found on the outside of the door. "Dr, Mueller" tells "Frank", that "Imhotep" must be taking "Helen" to the Cario Museum and the "Princess Anck-su-namun" exhibit. With plans to sacrifice her to bring back his lost love.
While at the museum, "Helen" is being shown how she is the reincarnation of the "Princess" by "Imhotep". In the background of their conversation, "Imhotep's" Nubian prepares the embalming solution and "Helen" is slowly remembering who she was over 3,000 years ago.
"Helen-Anck-su-namun" now remembers everything and does not want to die again, or be brought back to life like "Imhotep", She breaks free and goes to the statue of "Isis" to pray to the Goddess for help. Just as "Frank" and "Mueller" arrive, the hand on the statue moves upward and "Imhotep" watches in shock. As a bolt of lightening comes out striking the High Priest and he turns to dust.
It should be noted that the flashback sequence, as originally filmed, was longer. In it the audience saw the different forms that "Anck-su-namon" took through the ages. However, Karl Freund had those sequences edited out, because of the films running time. Although, the final cut is only 73 minutes and seems short by today's standards.
Below is a scene of "Anck-su-namon" as a Roman women about to be crucifiied.
Now, per the agreement with Universal International Pictures, Hammer Films was about to make their "Mummy" based upon the 1932 feature film. Already cast were Peter Cushing as "Frank Whemple" and Christopher Lee as "Imhotep". Set and costume designs, along with make-ups by Roy Ashton, were being worked on. Jimmy Sangster was working upon a screenplay AND THEN EVERYTHING STOPPED!
What neither Universal, or Hammer realized, was that the last remaining person associated with the 1932 screenplay, 71 years old, Nina Wilcox Putnam, was still alive. It was now discovered that she still owned the copyright to the story, "Cagliostro", that the 1932 screenplay was based upon. Therefore, Hammer and Universal needed her permission to proceed and she refused! Wilcox Putnam had seen both, "The Curse of Frankenstein" and the "Horror of Dracula", and hated all the blood and sex. She would not permit her screenplay turned into that type of motion picture.
Faced with the expenses already acquiring. Hammer Films and Universal International Pictures turned to the, low budgeted, "The Mummy's Hand", that had been released on September 20, 1940, as a clear source for a new "Mummy" feature, if not the one the two studios wanted made.
The picture had been Directed by Christy Cabanne, Cabanne had been Directing since 1912 and would be credited with 166 feature films through 1948.
On-screen credit for the screenplay went to two writers. The first was Griffin Jay, who also received a second credit for the original story, a "B" writer. He would write both 1943's "Return of the Vampire", starring Bela Lugosi and Nina Foch. Who portrayed, the adopted mother of "Moses","Bithiah", in Cecil B. DeMile's 1956 "The Ten Commandments", and Foch's, 1944's "Cry of the Werewolf". In which the actress was the Werewolf. Along with the first two sequels to this picture.
The other writer was Maxwell Shane, a very low "B" screenplay writer contracted, as the time, to Universal Pictures.
Non-on-screen credit was given to all of the 1932 "The Mummy" writers as was form, because Universal was now borrowing some of their concepts.
The Six Main Cast Members:
Dick Foran portrayed "Steven 'Steve' Banning". Foran started out as a Big Band Singer and became a popular "B" movie leading actor. Among his other films are, Humphrey Bogart's 1936 "The Petrified Forest", the George Sanders and Vincent Price, 1940, "The House of the Seven Gables", 1941's "Horror Island", and in 1948, Director John Ford's "Fort Apache".
Peggy Moran portrayed "Marta Solvani". Moran was a model who became a "B" actress between 1938 and 1943 in 35 movies.
Wallace Ford portrayed "Babe Jenson". British actor Ford was in Director Tod Browning's 1932 "Freaks", Director John Ford's "The Lost Patrol" with Boris Karloff and the Bela Lugosi 1934 "The Mysterious Mr. Wong".
Cecil Kellaway portrayed "Tim Sullivan aka: The Great Solvani". To fans of Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen, Kellaway was "Professor Thurgood Elson", in 1953's "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms". He was also seen in Cecil B. DeMille's "Unconquered", the 1950 James Stewart Comedy, "Harvey" and the 1970 television series "Nanny and the Professor".
Tom Tyler portrayed "Kharis". The role is normally associated with Lon Chaney, Jr,, because he portrayed the character in the three sequels to this motion picture. Tyler was the first actor to portray the original "Captain Marvel" in the 1941 Republic Pictures serial. My article, "Tom Tyler: the "B" Cowboy Star Who Became a Mummy, Captain Marvel and a Classic John Wayne Bad Guy", is found at:
George Zucco portrayed the Egyptian, "Andoheb". "Zucco started film acting in the forgotten British film "Dreyfus" in 1931. By this film he had been seen in the 1936 H.G. Wells "The Man Who Could Work Miracles", the Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara 1939 "The Hunchback of Norte Dame", playing "Professor Moriarty" in 1939's "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce and the Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard Horror Comedy, 1939's, "The Cat and the Canary".
George Zucco is on the right with Charles Trowbridge as "Dr. Petrie".
At the time, many potential viewers knew the story of the "Curse of King Tutankhamun's" tomb. Which allegedly killed several people associated with opening it. Including, on March 25, 1923, George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert , the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, as another basis for the screenplay.
Above George Zucco with Eduardo Ciannelli as "The High Priest".
However, he was caught, and buried alive to forever guard her tomb. The "Priests of Karnak", from that time forward, secretly kept "Kharis" alive by the fluid of three tana leaves. The story returns to the present.
Walking through a Cario bazaar are archaeologist "Steve Banning" and his friend ""Babe Jenson". Looking at some of the fake relics sold to tourists, "Banning" sees what he believes is a piece of real pottery related to the location of the lost tomb of the "Princess Ananka".
He goes to the Cario museum and meets with "Professor Petrie" about his discovery. However, one of the curators of the museum, "Andoheb", tells the two that such an expedition would not succeed, because the piece of pottery is a fake. "Banning" believing otherwise seeks funding.
"Steve Banning" finds his funding through a American magician with dreams of fame named "Tim Sullivan". However, his daughter, "Marta", believes "Banning" is running a con-game on the old magician, "Marta" has previously met with "Andoheb". Who convinced her that "Steve" and "Babe" are frauds, but the four, along with "Dr. Petrie", leave for the "Hill of the Seven Jackals".
The group discovers the tomb of "Kharis", but not the "Princess Ananaka". Still sounding familiar?
"Marta" has changed her opinion about "Steve" and of course both falling in love.
"Dr. Petrie" goes alone into the cave that contains "Kharis" and is surprised by "Andoheb". Who has entered the cave from a secret passage that leads to "Annaka's" actual tomb. The Egyptian Priest has "Petrie" feel for a pulse on the mummy and the archeologist is shocked to find one.
Explaining to the scientist how three tana leaves keep "Kharis" alive, "Andohep" now prepares nine and brings the mummy to life and orders it to kill "Dr. Petrie". After which, "Andohep" and "Kharis" leave through the secret passage.
The body of "Dr. Petrie" is discovered with the hand prints of the missing mummy on his throat and creating a mystery for the others. There's another attack and they see the living mummy.
At which time, "Kharis" attempts to kill "Solvani", but is stopped by "Steve". However, "Kharis" now takes "Marta".
Her father, "Steve" and "Babe" go after the living mummy. They split up, "Babe" will go around the mountain, "Tim" will stay in the cave and "Steve" enters the secret passage they've uncovered. "Andoheb" has plans his own and wants to inject both "Marta" and himself with the tana potion. Thereby, making her his immortal wife, but he hears someone outside of the temple and leaves.
Outside, "Babe" has arrived, shoots and kills "Andoheb". While, "Steve" emerges in the Temple from the secret passage. He sees "Marta" tied down and gaged. While "Kharis", seems more attentive to the brewing tana potion than her. "Steve" thinking a bullet will stop the mummy, shoots "Kharis", creating nothing more than a hole in the body.
Jimmy Sangster had a starting point, but he looked at the second movie in the series, "The Mummy's Tomb", released October 23, 1942, for additional ideas.
In the first sequel, supposedly set 30 years after "The Mummy's Hand". The audience learns that "Andoheb", still played by George Zucco. survived and has a disciple named "Mehemet Bey", played by Turhan Bey, and that "Kharis", now played by Lon Chaney, survived also. "Mehemet Bey" and "Kharis" are sent to the United States to kill the surviving members of the "Banning Expedition" and bring back the body of the "Princess Ananka".
Above is Dick Foran as Widower "Steve Banning". Who narrates the flashback of "The Mummy's Hand", and is the first victim of "Khrais". Below is Wallace Ford, now called, "Babe Hanson", not "Jenson", and another of the mummy's victims.
Jimmy Sangster used only two, small, related plot points from the remaining Universal Mummy features as source material.
From "The Mummy's Ghost", released on July 4, 1944, Lon Chaney as "Kharis", takes actress Ramsey Ames, portraying "Amina Mansori aka: the Reincarnated Princess Ananka", into the swamp. As they are being pursued and both sink into a pool of quicksand.
Which now brings me to----
Hammer Films "The Mummy", first released in Japan on August 1, 1959.
Christopher Lee portrayed "Kharis".
Yvonne Furneaux portrayed "Isobel Banning aka: Princess Ananka". Furneaux had been acting since 1952. In 1953, she portrayed "Jenny Diver" in the British film "The Beggar's Opera" starring Sir Laurence Olivier as "Captain MacHeath aka: Mack the Knife". I mentioned her name, previously, in connection with the same years "The House of the Arrow". Yvonne Furneaux followed this picture with Italian Director Federico Fellini's 1960 "La Dolce Vita".
George Pastell portrayed "Mehemet Bey aka: Mehemet Atkil". Pastell, real name Nino Pastellides, was born in Cyprus. Under his stage name he became a great villain in several Hammer Films and on British television. The later included "Dr. Who's" 1967 "Tomb of the Cyberman" and four roles on Roger Moore's "The Saint". Pastell's other movies included Director Robert Aldrich's 1959, "The Angry Hills" starring Robert Mitchum and 1961's "Konga" starring Michael Gough.
Raymond Huntley portrayed "Joseph Whemple". Character actor Huntley had been in British movies since 1934. Among these are the Charles Laughton's 1936 "Rembrandt", Director Carol Reed's 1940 "Night Train to Munich" starring Rex Harrison and Paul Henried. In 1955 Huntler was in the true story of the WW2 mission against the Rhur Dams in Germany, "The Damn Busters". In 1959, Raymond Huntley was in "Room at the Top", that starred Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret and Heather Sears.
Felix Aylmer portrayed "Stephen, different spelling, Banning". Aylmer started acting in 1930, the actor was also in "Night Train to Munich". Felix Aylmer was in two motion picture versions of William Shakespeare starring Sir Laurence Olivier, 1944's "Henry V" and 1948's "Hamlet". He was also in the 1945 motion picture version of George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra", starring Claude Rains and Vivian Leigh. In 1964, Aylmer portrayed "The Archbishop of Canterbury" in the Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole "Becket".
Jimmy Sangster's "The Mummy":
The setting is moved backwards to 1895, as archeologists "John Banning", his father "Stephen Banning" and "Joseph Whemple", search for the tomb of the "Princess Ananka the High Priestess of Karnak". "John" has a broken leg and because of the possibility of locating the tomb. He refused to leave the dig to have it set and will remain a cripple.
The tomb is about to be opened and a Egyptian man, named "Mehemet", approaches "Joseph Whemple" and "Stephen Banning". He asks them not to open the tomb of "Princess Ananka" and they respond by asking him, if he's from the Government? He replies no! The two then ignore him and go to the tomb's entrance.
The screenplay now moves 3 years later with "Stephen Banning" back in England in the "Engerfield Nursing Home for the Mentality Disordered". He asks that his son to be sent for and "John" comes. The father tells the son, that when he was reading the scroll, he caused "Kharis, Guarding of Ananka" to come to life. "John" is skeptical of his father's story, but goes to "Joseph Whemple" with it. "Whemple" has been translating the scrolls found within "Ananka's" tomb and shows "John" a sketch of the "Princess Ananka" Which resembles his part Egyptian wife "Isobel". As "John" reads "Joseph Whemple's" translation, a flash back begins---
"Kharis" goes to "Ananka's" tomb and begins to read from the "Scroll of Life", but is discovered. He is sentenced to be mummified and buried alive to protect the tomb.
Now, "Stephen Banning", tells his disbelieving son that "Kharis" will hunt down and kill those who despoiled the tomb of the "Princess Ananka", but "John" states that the mummy is in Egypt. Unknown to both is that "Mehemet Bey", using the alias of "Mehemet Atkil", has already arrived in England. At that very moment, he is with two men hired to move his possessions to his new house across the bog from the "Banning Estate". While driving the cart, the two drunken movers cause a crate to fall off into bog and sink. The crate contains "Kharis" and "Mehemet Atkil" now uses the "Scroll of Life" to free him from both the crate and the bog.
"Mehemet Atkil" now sends "Kharis" to kill "Stephen Banning". The mummy breaks into the "Mental Home" and murders the first of the two men who entered the tomb of "Princess Ananka". The following night, "John Banning" witnesses the murder of "Joseph Whemple" and speaks with "Police Inspector Mulrooney", played by Eddie Byrne. "Inspector Mulrooney" believes "Banning" imagined the mummy, as he was in a temporary state of shock over the murder he witnessed, even though "John" believes he is the next victim.
However, the "Police Inspector" starts investigating. He speaks to the two men that moved the property of a "Foreign Gentleman" to a house across the bog and lost a crate the size of a tall man.
As fantastic as the story seems to be, "Inspector Mulrooney", is starting to think there is a truth to it. Then "Mehemet Atkil" sends "Kharis" to kill "John Banning".
"Banning" picks up a spear and pushes it through the body of "Kharis", but the mummy still comes at him. When it appears "Banning" is going to loose his life, his wife appears-----
-----causing "Khrais" to stop! Seeing "Isobel Banning's" face, "Kharis" starts to think she's the "Princess Anaka". "John" immediately knows the situation for the mummy and has "Isobel" order him to leave their house.
While husband and wife console each other, across the bog, "Mehemet Bey" believes "John Banning" is dead and his mission completed. "Inspector Mulrooney" meets with "Banning" and the two discuss the situation. "John" is told to remain in his house, but he sneaks away after hearing about an Egyptian leaving across the bog from the Inspector.
"Banning" now meets with "Mehemet Bey" as "Mehemet Atkil". To prove his theory, "John Banning" now plays a game of cat and mouse to find out what the Egyptian knows about "Kharis". Even to the point of deliberately insulting the "Cult of Karnak".
After "Banning" leaves his house, "Mehemet Bey" sends "Kharis" out once more to kill him. A plan with the police is put into affect, but "Kharis" knocks out "Inspector Mulrooney" before he can alert the others. "Kharis" enters the "Banning House" and goes for "John. Hearing his screams, "Isobel", told not to come downstairs, does. "Kharis" seems to ignore her, but "John" tells his wife to let down her hair and it works. A rope like web drops upon the mummy and "Rooney" and the police enter, but "Kharis" gets out of it. "Mehemet Bey" arrives and tells "Kharis" to kill "Isobel". The mummy instead kills him and then grabs "Isobel" and leaves.
An immediate plan is made to rescue her and the police and villagers search for "Kharis". This all comes to a head at the bog, as the mummy carrying "Isobel" is forced into it.
Many readers may think the first Werewolf motion picture came from Universal Pictures, but they would be partly wrong. The first such picture was an Independent Production, released in 1913, called "The Werewolf". The film was distributed, only, by what was then, known as Universal Films. My article, "67 Years of WEREWOLF Movies and Variations: 1913 To 1980" can be found at:
After their successes with "Dracula", "Frankenstein", "The Invisible Man" and "The Mummy". Universal Pictures decided to add a Werewolf to their Horror line-up. Their first such motion picture would become a financial failure, either forgotten, or overlooked after 1941. When the "Classic Werewolf" film would be released. While Hammer's 1960 version wasn't really a remake of either Universal motion picture.
The original assignment went to Producer Stanley Bergerman. He had produced Universal's 1934 version of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations", and had been producing films since 1930. Bergerman was now to Produce "The Werewolf of London", released on May 13, 1935
The motion picture was Directed by Stuart Walker. Walker had been Directing since 1931 and after this release switched to Producing. Among his other features, as a Director are, the Frederick March and Cary Grant 1933 "The Eagle and the Hawk", 1934's "Great Expectations" and the Claude Rain's 1935 version of Charles Dickens "The Mystery of Edwin Drood".
The screenplay was from a story by Robert Harris. This was his only story by Harris, the Associate Producer on the film. The screenplay was written by John Colton. Colton had been writing screenplays since 1919. He had written the 1928 "Sadie Thompson" based upon W. Somerset Maugham's novel "Rain". Colton would write the screenplay for the Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi 1936 "The Invisible Ray" and was a contributing writer for 1939's "Gunga Din".
The Werewolf make-up was by Jack Pierce, but like the other two make-up artists on the feature. Pierce received no on-screen credit. The Werewolf make-up was simple compared to Lon Chaney's in 1941's "The Wolf Man". With this make-up, the audience could see the actor's facial features under it. Henry Hull had argued that the audience should know it was his changed character they were seeing. Below is that original Jack Pierce make-up, on Hull, and it's very close to the 1941 version,
The Three Main Roles:
Henry Hull portrayed "Dr Wilfred Glendon aka: The Title Character". At this time, the character actor had been seen in films since 1917. These included, first billing in 1934's "Great Expectations", fifth billing in 1939's "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda. In 1940 he was fourth billed in "The Return of Frank James", starring Henry Fonda and Jackie Cooper. In 1941 Henry Hull was in Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino's "High Sierra" and in 1944. He was one of the passengers of Alfred Hitchcock's "Life Boat".
Warner Oland portrayed "Dr. Yogami aka: the Werewolf who bites Dr. Glendon". Swedish born Oland portrayed Al Jolson's father in 1927's "The Jazz Singer", Sax Rohmer's "Fu Manchu" in both 1929 and 1930. He was the first sound actor to portray Chinese Dective, "Charlie Chan", in a series of motion pictures. The one ethnic role he never portrayed was a Swede.
My article on the actor's career, "Warner Oland: A Jewish Cantor, A Werewolf, A Chinese Evil Master Mind and a Chinese Detective" is available to be read at:
Valerie Hobson portrayed "Lisa Glendon". Hobson started on-screen acting in 1932 and had all her scenes deleted from the 1934 "Great Expectations". She was sixth billed in 1935's "Mystery of Edwin Drood" and right before this picture. Valerie Hobson replaced Mae Clarke as "Elizabeth", in James Whale's "Bride of Frankenstein".
Irish born Hobson returned to the United Kingdom and married, in 1939, major British Producer and Screenplay writer Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock-Allan until their divorce in 1952. Then she married John Profumo in 1954. Profumo was both the British "Minister of State for Foreign Affairs" and the "Secretary of State for War". Who from a brief sexual relationship, with Christine Keeler, brought down the British Government at the time.
The story opens in Tibet, as "Dr. Wilfred Glendon", a world-renowned botanist, is searching for the rare "mariphasa lupine lumina". A plant that only blooms under the full moon and as he approaches the plant, unbeknownst to "Glendon", a pair of lupin eyes watch his movements.
Back in London, "Glendon" has a laboratory in another building at his home and is attempting to recreate moon-light to make the "mariphasa lupine lumina" blossom once more.
Now, at a party, he meets the strange acting oriental "Dr. Yogami". Who claims they met one night in Tibet.
"Yogami" tells "Glendon" that he was bitten by a Werewolf and that under the full moon, "Dr. Wilfred Glendon", will also change into a Werewolf. However, the sap from the "mariphasa lupine lumina" is the only known way to stop transformation, but "Glendon" does not believe in folk tales.
Back in his laboratory, "Dr. Glendon" is using a moon lamp to trick the plants last three blossoms into blooming.
He accidently passes his hand under the lamp. Suddenly, the hand starts to change and become hairy, but removing the hand from the light causes it to revert back to normal.
The doctor now researches lycanthropy.
Above Henry Hull and J. M. Kerrigan as his lab assistant "Hawkins".
The first time the complete transformation starts, "Dr. Glendon" is able to use a blossom to stop it.
However, one night, while the doctor's wife, "Lisa". is away visiting her "Aunt Ettie Combes", played by Spring Byington, and her old boyfriend, "Paul Ames", played by Lester Matthews, a second transformation is taking place. "Glendon" is away from his house and hurries back to his laboratory where two of the three blossoms had bloomed. Only to discover that they have been taken by "Dr. Yogami".
"Dr. Glendon", driven by the lust to kill, puts on his night cape and a hat. Then heads into the night, slowly turns into a Werewolf and kills an innocent girl.
"Wilfred Glendon" is full of remorse. When "Lisa" returns, he starts to stay away from her and locks himself up in his laboratory. He next goes out and rents a room from an inn.
"Dr. Glendon" will kill again.
Now the Werewolf heads for the main house in search of "Lisa", because a Werewolf instinctively kills the one it loves. However, he first meets "Paul", but doesn't kill him.
The picture failed at the box office, because the critics all seemed to bring up Frederick March's "Best Actor Academy Award" win for the four years earlier, 1931 "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". They critics argued the story was a reworking of the Robert Lewis Stevenson novella.
Today, many argue that "The Werewolf of London" is equal too, or better than the 1941 "The Wolf Man". I fully agree that the story is far better than even Curt Siodmak's, whose work I love, screenplay overall.
One year after the release of "The Werewolf of London". Carl Laemmle and his family, in financial trouble, lost control of Universal Pictures. After the release of "Dracula's Daughter". on May 11, 1936. The new owners stopped making Horror movies! Which they deemed not profitable! The new owners switched to very low budgeted adventure, spy and detective thrillers to create a larger profit margin, but they also started loosing audiences. That translated back into their profit margin.
Then, the small, now long gone "Art Movie House", the "Regina Movie Theater", on Los Angeles' Wilshire Boulevard, showed a triple bill. Both 1931's "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", and 1933's "Son of Kong". The 659 seat theater had sell out performances for five solid weeks.
The Universal Pictures executives weren't dumb and announced what would become January 13, 1939's, "Son of Frankenstein" and the studio was back in the monster business. On December 12, 1941, Universal Pictures released "The Wolf Man".
The film was considered a "B" entry and got a "B" Director in George Waggner. His first 8 films were "B" Westerns, his next 5 films were "B" Adventures and they were followed by two low budgeted Horror entries, 1941's "Man Made Monster" with Lon Chaney and Lionel Atwill, and "Horror Island" with Dick Foran and Peggy Moran. However, Waggner had a potential "A" List cast and a definite "A" List screenplay.
The screenplay was from Curt Siodmak. Who, with his Director brother Robert, had been involved in the German movie industry until they left as Hitler came to power. Prior to this movie, Curt had written the screenplays for Vincent Price's 1940 "The Invisible Man Returns", Karloff and Lugosi's 1940 "Black Friday" and had come up with the story line for the John Barrymore and Virginia Bruce 1940 Comedy, "The Invisible Woman". Together, with Robert as Director, the two brothers would do style homage to the early German cinema they came from, with 1943's "Son of Dracula".
My article, "CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film Noir" can be read at:
The following poster highlights that "A" List cast, but not necessarily in credit order.
Lon Chaney portrayed "Lawrence 'Larry' Tablot". Who is bitten by Bela Lugosi to become the tragic title character.
My article on his career and the "Ghost of Lon Chaney, Sr.", seen walking the streets of Hollywood, "LON CHANEY, JR. 'OF MICE AND WEREWOLVES" is at:
Claude Rains portrayed "Sir John Talbot". Who doesn't believe his son's story about turning into a Werewolf and, at films end, must put him out of his torment. My article looking at 11 films with Claude Raines including his "Phantom of the Opera", "---CLAUDE RAINS WAS THE INVISIBLE MAN----" is at:
Above Ralph Bellamy as "Colonel Paul Montford" with Claude Rains on the right.
Evelyn Ankers portrayed "Gwenn Conliffe". The girl "Larry" is falling for and his victim. My article, "Evelyn Ankers and Her 1940's Horror Films from Universal Pictures" may be read at:
It's not every actress, other than Ankers, that can be the love interest of a Werewolf, the "Baroness Frankenstein", chased by a crazed "Invisible Man" and in real life be married to Richard Denning.
One difference in the two motion pictures is usually not picked up, In Curt Siodmak's "The Wolf Man" screenplay, "Gwenn" recites his famous poem about men turning into wolves. The original version of the poem has the line "when the wolfbane blooms". The screenplay never mentions "under a full moon" as in "The Werewolf of London". However, Curt Siomak, with his screenplay for 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman". Dropped any mention of "wolfbane" and the new version of the poem, recited by the Grave Robbers, had changed the line to "when the moon is full and bright!"
Both "Dr. Glendon" and "Larry Talbot" are victims of another werewolf and are looking for a way out of their situations. Both are told they will kill their true love. "Glendon" keeps his secret to himself and is tormented by his actions, but "Larry" has told several people about what happened and they will not believe him. The believe he is ill from having killed the Gypsy by mistake. The only person that does understand "Larry's" fate, is the Gypsy "Maleva", played by Maria Ouspenskaya. because it was her son that bit him.
In the end both will be killed. "Dr. Glendon" by a regular bullet, because the European Folk Lore about a Silver Bullet is not mentioned in the Robert Harris and John Colton screenplay. "Larry Talbot" is killed by the same Silver Wolf Head Cane he bought with the pentagram sign on it. In Curt Siodmak's screenplay, reference is made to the Folk Lore about silver and werewolves in the Gypsy Camp, but not bullets.
All of which brings me to Hammer Films. Their Werewolf movie owes itself not to Universal Pictures, but to a "Blacklisted, Communist Screenplay Writer and Author". Back in 1933, writer Guy Endore wrote the novel "The Werewolf of Paris" and that work is still considered to Werewolf Lore, as Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is to Vampires.
Speaking of Vampires, in 1935, Guy Endore rewrote the screenplay for Director Tod Browning's 1927 Horror film "London After Dark". The new screenplay became Tod Browning's "Mark of the Vampire". Along the way Endore joined the Communist Party, was nominated for the "Best Screenplay Academy Award" for 1945's "The Story of G. I. Joe", was "Blacklisted" by the "House Committee on Un-American Activities", partly because he was a "Leftist", and crossed the pond to England to work in the British Film Industry. My article, "Guy Endore: Black Listing and Communism in the Motion Picture Industry" will be found at:
This Hammer entry is mentioned, kind of, by John Landis, in his 1981 "An American Werewolf in London". This happens in a scene between the two main characters:
"David Kessler" played by David Naughton asks "Alex Price", played by Jenny Agutter, "Did you ever see "The Wolf Man" and Alex replies, "Is that the one with Oliver Reed?"My reader can also determine the source of Landis' film title.
Also, in 1981, Joe Dante's original "The Howling" was released. Dante used names of some of his favorite Directors in his screenplay. In this case Terrence Fisher, became actress Belinda Balaski's character's name of "Terri Fisher".
So what was this Werewolf movie that inspired homage by two American Directors and others?
"Curse of the Werewolf" would be released on May 1, 1961.
The screenplay was written by Guy Endore, but Producer Anthony Hinds, as with others, took credit for it as John Elder.
The Four Main Roles:
Clifford Evans portrayed "Don Alfredo Corledo". Evans had started acting in British films in 1935. In 1942 the actor portrayed the title role in "The Courageous Mr. Penn". His co-star in her 4th film was actress Deborah Kerr. In 1954, Evans added television to his career and in 1961, appeared in an episode of the American television series "One Step Beyond". After this picture, Clifford Evans" was back at television until Hammer cast him in 1962's "Kiss of the Vampire" and in 1964 he was in the cast of the Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier and Russ Tambyn, Viking picture "The Long Ships".
Above Clifford Evan with Hira Talfrey as "Teresa".
Oliver Reed portrayed the adult "Leon Corledo". Reed had been working in both British television and motion pictures in small roles since 1955. In 1960 he had the uncredited role of a "Bouncer" in Hammer's "Two Faces of Dr. Jeykll aka: House of Fear". "Curse of the Werewolf" moved his career to major roles in films like, Hammer's 1962 "Pirates of Blood River" starring Kerwin Matthews, co-starring with Peter Cushing in Hammers 1962 "Night Creatures", Hammer's 1963 Science Fiction "These Are the Damned" and Hammer's excellent Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 "Psycho" inspired, 1963 "Paranoiac", co-starring Janette Scott, from a Jimmy Sangster screenplay.
Yvonne Romain portrayed the adult "Servant Girl". Romain started acting in 1952 as Yvonne Warren, her birth name, into 1962. During that period she was in the Anglo-Amalgamated Pictures film co-starring Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, 1958's, "Corridors of Blood". In 1960 she appeared in the studios "Circus of Horrors". It was with the "Curse of the Werewolf", that she first became Yvonne Romain.
Catherine Feller portrayed "Christina Fernando". Feller has been acting since 1954 on British television with the occasional feature film.
As with Guy Endore's novel, this is a complex screenplay that covers many years.
The screenplay starts with a "Beggar", played by Richard Wordsworth, seeking food.
As a result the "Beggar" is taken to the cells of the castle and forgotten for 15 years.
During this time the jailer's mute daughter, who would bring the "Beggar" food, has grown up, the "Marques" wife has died, and the old man lusts for his jailer's daughter. She is brought to him and he makes sexual advances. However, she refuses and is put into the cell with the forgotten "Beggar".
The frightened girl escapes the castle of the "Marques" and runs into the forest. There, exhausted, she collapses and is found by the kindly "Don Alfredo Corledo". With the help of his equally kind housekeeper, "Teresa", the girl lives happily for the next nine months and on Christmas Day gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but dies immediately after boy's birth. The superstitious housekeeper warns "Don Alfredo" that it is evil to be born on Christmas Day. "Don Alfred" laughs this off as local Folk Lore.
At the boy's baptism the sky goes dark and almost stormy for a moment.
Above Justin Walters with Clifford Evans
The owner, "Don Fernando", is played by Ewen Solon.
"Don Fernando" puts "Leon" to work with another young man, "Jose Amaddayo", played by Martin Matthews, and the two become close friends.
"Leon" starts to fall in love with "Don Fernando's" daughter "Christine" and her with him. However, the two are faced with the differences in social stations. Depressed, "Leon" lets "Jose" talk him into going to a local brothel. There, while in with a prostitute named "Vera", played by Sheila Brennan, the drunken "Leon" transforms into a Werewolf and kills both "Vera" and "Jose".
"Leon" returns to "Don Fernando's", but is arrested for murder. Too late, "Leon" realizes that "Christina's" love keeps him from changing.
Escaping the jail house, "Leon" runs through the town and up onto the church steeple. His father goes to the goat herder and gets the Silver Bullet.
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