Sunday, July 11, 2021

UNIVERSAL PICTURES: Two Decades of Science Fiction and Horror Movies: April 30,1912 to November 17,1939

A Hunchback, a Opera Ghost, Vampires, Dead Bodies stitched together, and a 3,000 Year Old Mummy.

His name was "CARL LAEMMLE", and on April 30, 1912, he was able to get a group of "Independent Motion Picture Producers" to come together as the "UNIVERSAL FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY". 

The forerunner of "UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL PICTURES", officially opened on March 15, 1915.


There is a myth called, "Hollywood", and the "Universal Film Manufacturing Company" was part of it. A myth I describe in my article, "HOLLYWOOD: Segregated Housing, Motion Picture Studios and Movie Palaces", at:

What would later become, "Universal International Pictures", was never considered a major movie studio by, "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer", "Warner Brothers", "20th Century Fox", or "Paramount Pictures". However, "Universal", wasn't part of "Hollywood's Poverty Row", located on Gower Street, either. The location for motion picture studios in name only, such as, "Monogram", "Mascot", and later, "American International Pictures". All three only had their offices on Gower, and rented sound stages from the majors when they needed one and were not on location.

What started as the "Universal Film Manufacturing Company", would become more widely known for two genres of motion pictures, Science Fiction and Horror. 

I will not be going deeply into plot details, but will present basic outlines. Unless there are reasons for more details about a particular feature film.

There are many motion pictures that were made by other studios and acquired, by "Universal International Pictures", with the purchase of a studio's film library. These films are considered, by some, as now, a "Universal International" motion picture, and this causes confusion as to who actually made them. 

For example, 1932's, "Island of Lost Souls", and 1940's, "Dr. Cyclops", were made by "Paramount Pictures", but acquired by "Universal" during the 1970's. "Paramount" was a studio that did a large number of overlooked Horror and Thriller movies during the decade of the1930's. Another major example, is both, 1933's, "King Kong" and "Son of Kong", made by "RKO Pictures" and acquired by "Universal", during the sell-off of the company most associated with Howard Hughes.. Interesting is that the television rights to those two films went to Ted Turner, who would "Colorize" them, and the actual film rights went to "Universal International".

I only use the actual motion pictures made by "Universal Studios".


Beginnings, the 1920's, and a "Man of a Thousand Faces".

The "Universal Film Manufacturing Company" was also the distribution arm for many independent productions at the time. However, Carl Laemmle did Produce the 1916 version of Jules Verne's classic novel, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", under the name of "Liberty Pictures".  The screenplay incorporated elements of Verne's "The Mysterious Island", but from a motion picture prospective. This was the first movie actually filmed underwater and is considered the first science fiction film made by the future "Universal International Pictures"

I go into detail about that motion picture in my article, "Captain Nemo Motion Picture Star", waiting to be dived into at: 

















The very first "Universal Film Manufacturing Company", Horror entry, was "THE PHANTOM MELODY", released on, January 27, 1920.















Above, Monroe Salisbury portrays "Count Camello" and Jean Calhoun portrays "Mary Drake".

The screenplay by F. McGrew Willis had elements of Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Premature Burial', and just a small touch of Science Fiction. "Count Camello" is in love with "Mary Drake", but so is his cousin "Gregory Baldi", played by Charles West. World War 2 starts, and "Gregory" is sent to the front lines and killed in action. Meanwhile, the Count has persuaded "Mary" to become is wife, but the alive "Gregory" returns and plots against his rival for "Mary's" hand. "Gregory" captures "Camello" and buries him alive in an underground vault. The Count returns to fight "Gregory" in a duel to the death.

There was an actor making a name for himself at both "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" and "Paramount Pictures". In 1923, Lon Chaney, came to what was now "Universal Pictures" and made "THE SHOCK", released on, June 10, 1923.

The motion picture wasn't really a Horror entry, but is listed as such because of Lon Chaney. The drama has crippled gangster, "Wilse Dilling", played by Lon, in love with "Gertrude Hadley", played by Virginia Valli. The setting is 1906 San Francisco, and true love will win out As Lon Chaney actually gets the girl, but both have to survive the "San Francisco Earthquake" first.











Listed as another Horror entry, but like, "The Shock", really isn't by today's standards is, 1923's, "Legally Dead". The plot has an man framed for murder being hung for the crime, but revived with a shot of adrenaline by a doctor. Hence, the title and the Horror inference.


However, there was a actual 1923 Horror film from "Universal Pictures" and it starred Lon Chaney. Even though the novel it was based upon isn't considered Horror.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME released on September 6, 1923.


Turning Victor Hugo's novel into a motion picture had one problem, Carl Laemmle. He hated both Horror movies and stories! It fell to Irving Thalberg, his secretary who had worked with Lon Chaney and Director Todd Browning, to convince him otherwise. 

Thalberg's ploy was to play up the love story and the epic features of the novel. It worked and the film was made.

Lon Chaney created his own make-up for "Quasimodo". 













Patsy Ruth Miller portrayed "Esmeralda", if not for this motion picture. Patsy Miller would have joined all the forgotten Silent Screen and early Sound actresses.








Norman Kerry portrayed "Phoebus de Chateaupers". Kerry was a popular leading man and would appear with Lon Chaney in two other feature films. The second, I will discuss after this picture.






The motion picture had an estimated budget of $1,250,00, 1923 dollars, equal as of this writing to, $19,677,997. The Worldwide Box Office was $3,500,000, 1923 dollars, equal as of this writing to, $55,098,301. Carl Laemmle liked be proven wrong about this Horror picture.

The story tells of the born ugly, "Quasimodo", and his protective love for the beautiful gypsy girl "Esmeralda". Of the evil "Jehan", played by Brandon Hurst, who lusts for "Esmeralda', and is the brother of the good archdeacon.



Like most of the versions of Victor Hugo's novel, the screenplay by Edward T. Lowe, Jr., and, Perley Poore Sheehan, changed the novel's story and especially the ending. In this film, "Quasimodo", throws "Jehan" from the bell tower of "Notre Dame" to his death, but he was stabbed multiple times, by "Jehan", and dies watching "Phoebus" embrace "Esmeralda". The real tragic ending wouldn't be seen until the French-Italian co-production, in 1956, starring Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida. 









My article, "Victor Hugo's Immortal Love Story: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME on the Motion Picture Screen", that covers every version until 2019, will be found at:


 Two years later Lon Chaney starred as French author Gaston Leroux's:

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA which premiered in New York City on September 6, 1925.

The above poster, from a Halloween showing, in Oakland, California, in 2008, illustrates the lasting power and legend of this motion picture. Below is one of the original posters.

The screenplay was written by eight writers and not one of them received on-screen credit. Carl Laemmle just used Gaston Leroux's name as the novel's author.

While on a 1922 vacation in France, Carl Laemmle met Gaston Leroux, and the studio owner discovered:


that Gaston Leroux based his novel upon. See my link at the end of this section.

Lon Chaney portrayed "The Opera Ghost, aka; The Phantom, aka: Erik".

Once more, Lon, was permitted to create his own make-up. According to Scott McQueen in the September 1989, issue of "American Cinematographer", Chaney had stated:

---in The Phantom of the Opera, people exclaimed at my weird make-up. I achieved the Death's head of that role without wearing a mask. It was the use of paints in the right shades and the right places—not the obvious parts of the face—which gave the complete illusion of horror...It’s all a matter of combining paints and lights to form the right illusion.


Mary Philbin portrayed "Christine Daae", and getting the shock of her life in the above scene. According to legend, Chaney's face wasn't revealed until the unmasking by Philbin.

Mary Philbin's entire life was dominated and controlled by her parents.

Norman Kerry portrayed "Vicomte Raul de Chagny". Kerry had been in ten other motion pictures between "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Phantom of the Opera". In 1927, Norman Kerry would be reunited with Lon Chaney and co-star with Joan Crawford, in Tod Browning's, "The Unknown", for "MGM".

Arthur Edmund Carewe portrayed "Ledoux". The Turkish born character actor would be part of the cast of the first, all Technicolor Horror motion picture, 1932's, "Doctor X", starring Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray. 




The basic story revolves around Paris Opera singer, and understudy for, "Mme. Carlota", played by Virginia Pearson, "Christine Daae", being coached by a mysterious unseen "Divine Voice", the "Spirit of Music"

At the Opera seasons opening, "Viscomte Raul de Chagny", attends with his brother, to hear "Christine", the girl he's in love with, sing. "Raul" goes to her dressing room and asks "Christine" to leave the opera company and become his wife. However, she refuses to let their relationship come between her dream career with the opera.

Meanwhile, the "Opera Ghost" murders again, and the current owners of the "Paris Opera". Sell it and warn the new owners not to upset the non-paying occupant of "Box #5", but also to pay him, a monthly stipulated amount, to stop him from attacking the opera house. 















The new owners think they're the but of a joke about an "Opera Ghost", but soon find out differently. As they enter "Box #5", and see a shadowy figure in it. While, "Mme. Charlotta", has received a warning, from the "Opera Ghost", that she must become ill. To let "Christine" sing the main role the night, 'Raul", went to hear her.

The story moves ahead, as "Christine" is taken by the "Ghost" to his underground be further trained. There really was such a lake under the "Paris Opera House". 






Now comes the unmasking scene and the truth about "Christine's" divine voice.











"Christine" convinces "The Phantom" to let her go back to the opera, but when she secretly meets "Raul" at a cast costume party. "Erik" appears as "The Mask of the Red Death", in a two-strip-Technicolor process. 




















At a performance with "Mme. Charlotta", back in the opera lead after ignoring a new warning. "The Phantom" brings down the chandelier on the assembled audience. There was a real incident that I mention in my linked article. 

"Christine" is taken by the "Opera Ghost" back to his underground home and "Raul" and "Ledoux" go in search of her, but will be fall into some of the traps set by the "Phantom".













In the end "Raul" and "Christine" are reunited and will be married, but an enraged mob chases, "The Phantom of the Opera", and he drowns in the River Seine.

On February 16, 1930, "Universal Pictures", reissued "The Phantom of the Opera" with sound.  In added sound footage. Mary Philbin and Norman Kerry reprised their roles for the sound reshoot, but Lon Chaney was under contract to "MGM" and they wouldn't loan him out. Instead, the added footage was of "The Phantom's Messenger" delivering the messages and warnings around the original silent footage of Lon Chaney. The reissue grossed one million dollars at the Box Office.

I have mentioned that there was a real "Phantom of the Opera" and there was a real "Chandelier Falling upon an audience". My look at the background for Gaston Leroux's novel and the motion picture and television versions are part of my article:

"THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Gaston Leroux On the Motion Picture and Television Screens", at:

In 1922, playwright John Willard wrote a "Black Comedy" about a haunted house and an escaped lunatic. On September 9, 1927, "Universal Pictures" turned his "Cat and the Canary" into a classic silent film that would be remade several times in sound.

Laura La Plante, her real name, portrayed the heroine of the piece, "Annabelle West".























 THE MAN WHO LAUGHS released on October 5, 1928

Carl Laemmle was negotiating the rights to the Victor Hugo novel and wanted Lon Chaney to star, but delays clearing those rights in France occurred. When Laemmle had finally acquired them, Chaney was now under his "MGM" contract.

Laemmle had German Expressionist Director Paul Leni, who had filmed "The Cat and the Canary", assigned to the project.

Mary Philbin portrayed "Dea". Philbin had been in six easily forgotten feature films for the studio, but this motion picture and "The Phantom", would keep her forever in the minds of Horror fans.

Conrad Veidt portrayed the title character of "Gwynplaine". Veidt was "Cesare, the Somnambulist", in 1920's, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". In 1922, he was "Cesare Borgia" in another German film, "Lucrezia Borgia", and appeared in two 1924, German Horror entries, "The Hands of Orlac" and "Waxworks". as the Russian Czar, "Ivan the Terrible". However, fans of Humphrey Bogart, know Conrad Veidt as, "Nazi Major Henrich Strasser", in Director Michael Curtiz's, 1942, "Casablanca".

Above, the interesting lovers, the blind "Dea", and the disfigured, "Gwynplaine". In this period piece of revenge against the English Throne. As a result of a English nobleman refusing to kiss the hand of "King James", in 1690, he was put to death and his son disfigured. The main story takes place 17 years later.

Two years after this feature film, "Universal Pictures" made the studios first sound thriller.


1930's, The Classic's and Not So Classic

The 1930's started with a sound remake of "The Cat and the Canary". Now called, "The Cat Creeps" and released on November 7, 1930. The picture starred Helen Twelvetrees, born Helen Marie Jurgens, as "Annabelle West".



The following lobby card was a tease to get the audiences into the theaters. Already guessing which character might be "The Cat"!


Released on, December 12, 1930, by "Universal Pictures", was the Spanish language version of "The Cat Creeps", entitled "La Voluntad del muerto (The Will of the Dead Man)". The movie was Directed by George Melford and starred Mexican-American actress Lupita Tovar as "Anita".

The dubbing of a motion picture into another language didn't start until 1949 and that was for propaganda purposes by the Soviet Union. Until that year, there wasn't any dubbing of a motion picture anywhere in the world. Should a movie, like "The Cat Creeps", be intended to be seen in a foreign country. A studio, anywhere in the world, would film the motion picture with the specific country's foreign cast and a foreign language screenplay.

Just like "Universal Pictures" double filmed "The Cat Creeps". Carl Laemmle, Jr. would do the same for the studio's FIRST TRUE HORROR ENTRY.

Actually, his father was against the idea, and it took the son many hours to convince him to obtain the rights to the hit Broadway play, currently on the road, with the original actor. What would result was a financially successful motion picture that put the family business on firm ground for the next five years.


DRACULA released on February 12, 1931

This was the first American filmed version of the vampire tale by actor Sir Henry Irving's secretary, Bram Stoker. There had been the unauthorized German, 1922, "Nosferatu", and other foreign silent versions

The screenplay was based on the stage play by Garrett Foy and took two writers to adapt it into a story line for the screenplay. Those writers were Hamilton Deane, and John L. Balderston, a name that would be associated with several of the studio's Horror films. There would be six other writers, without on-screen credit, including the film’s Director, Tod Browning.

Todd Browning had made several silent films with Lon Chaney. These included the original 1925, "The Unholy Three", 1926's, "The Road to Mandalay", 1927's, "The Unknown" with Norman Kerry and Joan Crawford, and the lost vampire classic, 1927's, "London After Midnight".

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Count Dracula" and demanded to put on his own make-upThe Hungarian born actor had played the role on Broadway in the original play and had fought hard to keep the role in the motion picture.

Lugosi, did not realize how burdensome "Count Dracula" would play on his future roles. For example, in 1935, he was in another Tod Browning feature, "MGM"s, 
"Mark of the Vampire", dressed as "Dracula". In "Columbia Pictures", 1943, "Return of the Vampire", the actor seemed to be playing a different version of "Dracula". My reader should not forget 1948's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", with Bela as "Dracula" and look at the way Ed Wood suggestively dressed Lugosi's, "Old Man", in 1957's, "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

Speaking of "Mark of the Vampire", Tod Browning's remake of "London After Midnight", both features for "MGM". My article, "Tod Browning: Lon Chaney Meets Bela Lugosi: A Tale of Two Motion Pictures". Is available for my reader to sink their fangs in at:

Helen Chandler portrayed "Mina Steward". In 1937, Chandler left Hollywood and returned to the legitimate stage, but was an alcoholic. In 1940, she was committed to a sanitarium, but around 1950, while smoking in bed, Chandler fell asleep. The resulting fire disfigured the actress and she stayed hidden for the rest of her life.









David Manners portrayed "John Harker". British actor Manner's had appeared on the London stage and would come to the United States to appear in the film version of that play, 1930's, "Journey's End".

Dwight Frye portrayed "Renfield". Frye had been in the original 1931, version of Dashiell Hammett's, "The Maltese Falcon". In 1933, the actor was in the Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray and Melvyn Douglas, "The Vampire Bat". Most of my readers identify Dwight Frye with "Universal's",     1931, "Frankenstein" and this motion picture. However, you don't know the real Frye. My article, "DWIGHT FRYE: Overlooked Horror Icon" can be read at:







Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Van Helsing". Fans of "Universal Horror" know the actor for this motion picture, 1931's, "Frankenstein", 1932's, "The Mummy" and 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter". However, he was in Producer Merian C. Cooper's, 1935, "The Last Days of Pompeii, 1936's, "The Story of Louie Pasteur", 1940's, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois", and the 1944, Cliff-Hanger, "Captain America".







The story is simple, "Renfield" is going to Castle Dracula to have the Count sign papers for his new property at Carfax Abby. However, at the coaches stop before the Borgo Pass, he is warned by the Transylvanians not to go there. Instead, he demands to go, is met by "Dracula's coach" driven by the disguised Count, taken to the castle, and formally greeted by the "Count Dracula".





Below, the enslaved "Renfield", is the only living person on the ship from Transylvania.

"Renfield" is committed to "Dr. Steward's", played by Herbert Bunson's, asylum and develops a taste for insects and wants a cat. Meanwhile, "Dracula" walks the streets of London finding victims. 















 At a London theater he meets "Mina" and "John Harker".

"Dracula" now wants to turn "Mina" into his new bride, but the undead Count will have to  battle the old the living "Van Helsing".



































In the end it is not too late and "Mina" and she is saved, and "Count Dracula" destroyed.

The current running time for Tod Browning's "Dracula" is 75-minutes. That is 10-minutes shorter  then the original 1931 release. When the picture was to be re-released in 1936, using the new "Motion  Picture Production Code", the censors took a bite out of "Dracula"

Two confirmed sequences removed from the 1931 release were: 

An epilogue, similar to the prologue of 1931's, "Frankenstein", that was also spoken by Edward von Sloan:

Just a moment, ladies and gentlemen! A word before you go. We hope the memories of Dracula and Renfield won't give you bad dreams, so just a word of reassurance. When you get home tonight and the lights have been turned out and you are afraid to look behind the curtains — and you dread to see a face appear at the window — why, just pull yourself together and remember that after all, there are such things as vampires!

Then there were the death groans of both "Dracula" and "Renfield". Both were considered too terrifying to completely hear in 1936. These were extremely shortened, but partly restored in the "Laser Disc" release and the DVD's that followed, but were removed, once more, for the "Dracula Legacy" release.

Above is the poster for the "Universal Pictures", Spanish language version of "Dracula". The motion picture was shot at night by Director George Melford on the same sets Tod Browning used during the daylight. It is considered, by many Film Historians, as the better of the two versions and being a Latin production was sexier. It was also not under U.S. Censorship regulations, because, even shot in the United States, was considered a Foreign made film.

Carlos Villaris portrayed "Dracula", Lupita Tovar portrayed "Eva Steward". While, Barry Norton portrayed "Juan Harker", Pablo Alvarez Rubio portrayed Renfield" and Eduardo Arozamena portrayed "Van Helsing".





Going back to Thomas Edison's film company, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's, 1818 novel, "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus", had been turned into several motion pictures. In 1927, British playwright, Peggy Webling, turned the novel into a successful play. While, in 1930, John L. Balderston turned her play into a composition suitable for a motion picture. Webling and Balderston would receive on-screen credit as the playwrights.

FRANKENSTEIN released on November 21, 1931.


Balerston's composition was turned into a motion picture scenario by Richard Schayer, who received on-screen credit. There would be four screenplay writers, two, Garrett Fort and Francis Edward Faragoh, with on-screen credit and two without.

Note on the above poster, as on all the original 1931 posters, is the complete original title for the motion picture taken from the play:

FRANKENSTEIN The Man Who Made A Monster!

While, below the actual opening title card that does not use that tag line:


It wouldn't be until the first sequel to this feature, that "Universal Studios" acknowledged the public's perception that "Frankenstein" was now the monster. Even though the film series, into the 1940's, kept the "Frankenstein Family Name" intact and related to the monster's creator.

James Whale would direct the motion picture. Whale was already established as a British and Broadway director and had made three previous movies. My article, "JAMES WHALE: Jean Harlow to Louis Hayward", is available at:

Colin Clive portrayed "Henry Frankenstein". In England, he co-starred with David Manners in both the British play and motion picture version of "Journey's End". Which were both directed by James Whale, mentioned in the above link about the director. Colin Clive passed away, in 1937, at the age of 37. His tragic life is described in my article, "Colin Clive, Henry, Not Victor Frankenstein and Alcoholism!", found at:

Mae Clarke portrayed "Elizabeth Lavenza", the character's last name is never mentioned in the screenplay, but is in both the novel and playMae Clarke had starred in James Whale's 1931, "Waterloo Bridge", got a grapefruit pushed in her face by James Cagney's, "Tom Powers", in 1931's, "Public Enemy" and co-starred in the Republic Pictures, 1949, "King of the Rocket Men".

Note "Universal Pictures", but for those interested in Mae Clarke. Put on your rocket biker jacket and read about the, "Republic Pictures: THE ROCKET MAN CLIFF HANGERS", at:

John Boles portrayed "Victor Moritz". Among Boles' 28 years of film work are, the original 1928, "Shepherd of the Hills", before John Wayne had the role. The original 1929, "Rio Rita",  before John Carroll and Kathryn Grayson. The original 1932, "Back Street" with Irene Dunne, before Charles Boyer and Margret Sullivan, and later Susan Hayward and John Gavin. Not to forget, 1935's, "The Littlest Rebel", starring Shirley Temple and Lionel Barrymore. 




Boris Karloff was "The Monster". Karloff had been acting since 1919 and made 76 motion pictures prior to "Frankenstein". His very next feature film was Director Meryn LeRoy's, 1931, "Tonight or Never", starring Gloria Swanson and Melvyn Douglas. Boris Karloff portrayed "A Waiter", in that film.

 It would be eight more movies, before Karloff was in another Horror film.



The above classic make-up was one of many from Jack Pierce. My article on his rise and fall, "Jack P. Pierce the Man Who Created Monsters", can be read at:

Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Dr. Waldman". Van Sloan's next two pictures were without on-screen credit and then he was in "Columbia Pictures" forgotten 1932, "Behind the Mask". That crime drama, billed as a Horror movie, was about a mysterious head of a heroin smuggling ring, played by Van Sloan, with Boris Karloff, in third billing, as his henchmen. The misleading poster for the movie has Karloff's face and the tag line: 
Who is the murdering monster?




Dwight Frye portrayed "Fritz". Frye had just been in the previously mentioned,1931, version of "The Maltese Falcon". Most film buffs are aware of Director John Huston's, 1941 film, starring Humphrey Bogart as "Sam Spade". Huston's version was made after the "Motion Picture Code" had been put into affect, but the original 1931 version was "Pre-Code" and even contained nudity. For those fans of either a great crime novel, or detective movies. My article, including the story behind Dashiell Hammett's novel, comes alive in, "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of': The Maltese Falcon in Writing and on the Motion Picture Screen", at:

Frye would follow "Frankenstein" with another forgotten crime drama, 1932's, "Attorney for the Defense", starring Edmund Lowe.



As I stated above, Edward Van Sloan steps out to address the audience before the films titles begin:

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.

The story opens with "Henry Frankenstein" and his hunchback assistant, "Fritz", a character not in the novel, but in Peggy Webling's play, getting more body parts for the doctor's creation.



"Henry's" bride-to-be, "Elizabeth", is concerned about him. She speaks to their mutual friend, "Victor Mortiz", and the two go to another, "Dr. Waldman". Meanwhile, "Fritz" is sent  to steal the "Normal Brain", drops it, and takes the "Abnormal One" to "Henry" to be placed in his human. The three friends arrive at "Frankenstein's Tower Laboratory" and witnesses the creation of life within the lifeless body "Henry" created.

Later, "Fritz", is killed by the monster after he attempted to torment it again with fire. 

The exhausted "Henry Frankenstein" is taken home and "Dr. Waldman" attempts to kill the monster with a poison injection, but instead is killed himself. The "Monster" gets loose and the audience has the classic sequence with the little girl.


Mostly overlooked is the name of the little girl is the above sequence. Her name is Marilyn Harris and the character’s name is "Little Maria". Between 1930 and 1944, Harris appeared in 20 roles and in 1983, at the "Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital", in Woodland Hills, California. Marilyn Harris and Mae Clarke were reunited. After Clarke passed away in 1992, Harris was the last living member of the 1931, "Frankenstein" until her own death on December 1, 1999.

"Little Maria's" father enters the town carrying his dead daughter and the Monster stalks "Henry Frankenstein's" bride. 



"Elizabeth Frankenstein" is confronted by her husband's creation, faints, but is otherwise unharmed.

The search for the Monster is started with "Henry Frankenstein" leading one of the groups. He confronts his creation and is taken to the old mill. The villagers arrive, set fire to the mill, and the Monster tosses his creator off the balcony and appears to die in the flames.







Bela Lugosi would be back in the next "Universal Pictures" entry. Which is a very underrated and overlooked Horror Thriller.

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE released on February 10, 1932.



Edgar Allan Poe's story was adapted for the screen by the motion picture's Director, Robert Florey. Florey started directing silent films in 1920 and at the end of his career in 1964. He had worked on 118 either motion pictures, or television shows. However, this was his only Horror feature film, but on television, he directed on both the original "Twilight Zone", and "The Outer Limits".

 The credited screenplay writers were Tom Reed and Dale Van Every.

Reed did the titles for 1925's, "The Phantom of the Opera",  and the screenplays for both 1942's, "The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe", and "Pittsburgh", starring Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott and John Wayne. He also wrote the screenplay for the Gregory Peck and Broderick Crawford, 1954, "Night People". 

While, Van Every was a "B" drama and adventure writer. of forgotten pictures. 

Without on-screen credit was an interesting additional dialogue writer named, John Huston. Huston's first directing assignment would be 1941's, "The Maltese Falcon". This feature was the third screenplay he worked on. Also, without on-screen credit was  Ethel M. Kelly.

Sidney Fox portrayed "Mlle. Camille L'Espanaye". This was Fox's fifth feature film and her career would only add ten more forgotten movies. 


Note; Bette Davis auditioned for the role of "Camille", but was dropped. Because of Bette Davis' lack of "Sex Appeal".

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Dr. Mirakle". Between "Dracula" and this feature, Bela had been in three forgotten films and the second Warner Oland, "Charlie Chan" mystery, 1931's, "The Black Camel". Bela would move on in his Horror roles following this film with the classic "United Artists", "White Zombie".

Leon Ames portrayed "Pierre Dupin", billed as Leon Waycoff. Harry Waycoff started his career as Leon and would change his last name to Ames with 1936's, "Death in the Air". Among his feature films would be the Judy Garland, 1944, "Meet Me in St. Louis", 1946's, "The Postman Always Rings Twice", both Walt Disney's, 1961, "The Absent Minded Professor" and 1963's, "Son of Flubber". Along with the Pearl Harbor motion picture, 1970's, "Tora, Tora, Tora".

Noble Johnson portrayed "Janos the Black One". My reader may not recognize his name, but one year later Johnson became known to the World as the "Native Chief" in both 1933's, "King Kong" and the "Son of Kong". However, he and his had brother owned one of the first African-American motion picture studios and Johnson appeared in such films as, the Warner Oland, 1929, "The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu", 1932's, "The Most Dangerous Game", starring Fay Wray and Joel McCrea, 1940's, "The Ghost Breakers", starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, and was the warrior chief, "Red Shirt", in Director John Ford's, 1949, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon".



My article, "Noble Johnson African-American Pioneering Actor" is available for reading at:

In 1845, Paris, France, "Dr. Mirakle" abducts young women and injects them with ape blood. The purpose is to create the perfect mate for his "talking gorilla", "Erik", played by Charles Demora.

"Pierre Dupin" is a medical student and amateur detective. Along with his fiancée, "Camille L'Espanaye", and another friend. The three visit the sideshow of Dr. Mirakle". Which brings "Camille" to his attention and the plan to kidnap the young woman for "Erik's" mate. 

"Dupin" is arrested for the disappearance of "Camille", and searching her apartment, the mother's body is found stuffed in the chimney. While other tenants of the rooming house inform the police of hearing a man speaking in a foreign language.

In the end, "Dr. Mirakle" will be killed by "Erik" and on the roof top, the police kill "Erik" and "Dupin" rescues "Camille".

This pre-Motion Picture Code film is well executed and still thrills today.

According to Gregory Willian Mank, in his 2010 work, "Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Friendship". "The Hollywood Reporter" wrote, after a, January 6, 1932, preview screening, that Bela:

has the physical necessities and is so legitimately trained that even though his performance does smack of the old legit, he is perfection in a role of this sort. Lugosi chews scenery, but he makes an audience like it.


Next, James Whale was back directing a "Dark Comedy Horror Film" with a great cast:

THE OLD DARK HOUSE released on October 20, 1932.

As I said, James Whale directed this motion picture and had just directed Mae Marsh and Lew Ayers in the comedy romance, 1932's, "The Impatient Maiden". Whale would follow this picture with the 1933, mystery, "The Kiss Before the Mirror", starring Nancy Carroll and Frank Morgan, the title character of 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz".

The story was based upon a favorite British novelist of James Whale. J.B. Priestly, and written by British screenplay writer Benn W. Levy. Levy wrote the screenplay for Whale's, 1931, "Waterloo Bridge", 

The main cast was primarily British except for one Canadian and two Americans.

KARLOFF, not Boris Karloff, portrayed "Morgan". He had just appeared in "MGM's", 1932, "Skyscraper Souls". Which illustrated, that outside of "Universal Pictures", he wasn't considered a major star yet. Boris Karloff had twenty-second-billing, as "The Man Approaching the Ticket Counter", in the 'MGM" picture.

However, after this motion picture, "MGM" got their act together. Boris Karloff starred in 1932's, "The Mask of Fu Manchu", co-starring with an unknown Myrna Loy as his sadistic daughter. 

My article, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee: Fu Manchu the Movies", my be read at:


Melyvn Douglas portrayed "Penderel". American Douglas had just co-starred with Greta Garbo in 1932's, "As You Desire Me", and followed this picture with 1933's, "The Vampire Bat", co-starring with Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray.





Charles Laughton portrayed "Sir William Porterhouse". Later in 1932, Laughton was "Emperor Nero" in Director Cecil B. DeMille's "The Sign of the Cross" and would end 1932, portraying H.G. Wells', "Dr. Moreau", in "Island of Lost Souls". Then the actor would be, "Henry VIII", "Captain Bligh", "Rembrandt", and in 1939, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

Lillian Bond portrayed "Gladys". This was her seventh role just in 1932 and one was the classic Joe E. Brown comedy, "Fireman, Save My Child". Among her other films are the Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan, 1940, "The Westerner", playing "Lily Langtry", the Richard Carlson, 1953, "The Maze", and the Jack Palance, "Jack the Ripper", 1953's, "The Man in the Attic".

Ernest Thesiger portrayed "Horace Femm". Thesiger was in one of the last British silent films, 1929's, "The Vagabond Queen". He came to the United States to film this feature and returned to England to co-star with Boris Karloff and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in, 1933's, "The Ghoul".

Eva Moore portrayed "Rebecca Femm". Moore's legitimate stage and motion picture career spanned over six decades. Her movie career last 26 years between stage appearances.

Raymond Massey portrayed "Philip Waverton". This was Canadian Massey's fifth motion picture and in 1931, he starred in a U.K. production of " The Speckled Band", portraying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "Sherlock Holmes". In 1936, Massey was in Director William Cameron Menzie's, "Things to Come", from a screenplay written by H.G. Wells.

Gloria Stuart portrayed "Margaret Waverton". This was American Stuart's fifth feature film, and in 1933 she would have First Billing in another James Whale motion picture, I will mention shortly. Her other features included, the 1933, Horror entry "Secret of the Blue Room", which I will also speak too. In 1936 Gloria Stuart made the first of her two films with Shirley Temple, but it is her 69th role that brought the actress to many film fans attentions. That was as, "Old Rose", in Director James Cameron's 1997, "Titantic".

Above, Melvyn Douglas, Gloria Stuart and Raymond Massey.

Elspeth Dudgeon was a British stage and motion picture character actress. She was billed in "The Old Dark House", as "John Dudgeon", because she was portraying the role of "Sir Roderick Femm" to add to the mystery. Of her 68 motion picture roles, only 11 gave Elspeth Dudgeon on-screen credit.  

Brember Wills portrayed "Saul Femm". This was only the second of six features films the British stage actor made. In 1937, Wills portrayed "The Chancellor" in a British television production of "Cinderella".


At the time of its release, the motion picture was panned by Film Critics. Yet, after a successful Audience Preview of the film, because of those critics it became a financial failure. Over the years the film has been recognized as one of James Whale's greatest motion pictures and became a "Cult Classic".

The story is simple; five travelers are caught in a terrible storm and seek shelter at the "Femm Estate" and find a very weird collection of family members and servants.

The mystery and dark comedy fun revolves around a locked room and a voice being heard in another. In the unlocked room is "Sir Roderick Femm" and in the other is his pyromaniac son, "Saul Femm". 


The "New York Times" wrote on the films original release:

there is a wealth of talent in this production... like Frankenstein, [it] had the advantage of being directed by James Whale, who again proves his ability.

Jacob deNobel wrote in the "Carroll County Times" in Maryland, October 20, 2016, that James Whale's, "The Old Dark House", was one of Richard O'Brien's inspirations for his musical "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and in watching this classic one can see what he meant.

THE MUMMY released on December 22, 1932.



Carl Laemmle, Jr. had read about the curse around the opening of "King Tutankhamun's Tomb" and commissioned Richard Schayer to find him a novel about a Mummy similar to the novels that inspired "Dracula" and "Frankenstein". Schayer and writer Nina Wilcox Putnam could not locate anything. The closest was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, "The Ring of Thoth", that would be the inspiration for the Mummy coming alive sequence. 

So, instead of a Mummy story, the two writers decided to write an nine page treatment based upon Italian adventurer and occultist, Alessandro Cagliostro. Their story, entitled "Cagliostro", was about a 3,000-year-old magician who survives by injecting himself with nitrates and presented that to Laemmle, Jr.

Pleased with that treatment, both Schayer and Putnam would receive on-screen credit for it. Carl Laemmle, Jr. turned their story over to John L. Balderston to write the screenplay, but about a Mummy. What Balderston wrote, seemed to be an Egyptian version of 1931's, "Dracula", in many obvious ways.

The picture was Directed by Karl Freund. German born, cinematographer and director, Freund had been Fritz Lang's cinematographer on 1927's, "Metropolis", and Tod Browning's on 1931's, "Dracula". He was also a non-screen credited director on some scenes in "Dracula".

"KARLOFF the Uncanny", 
portrayes "Imhotep" and 
"Ardeth Bey"Boris Karloff had just been seen in "The Mask of Fu Manchu" and would follow this feature with "The Ghoul".


The above rare color publicity photo, taken by Bramwell Fletcher, is of Boris Karloff in full make-up and make-up artist Jack Pierce in the background.

Zita Johann portrayed "Helen Grosvenor". She was born in Austria-Hungry, (now Romania), and not Egypt as the publicity, at the time, suggested. Her film career only totaled eight roles and this was her third. 

David Manners portrayed "Frank Whemple". Manners had just been in 1932's, "The Death Kiss", starring Bela Lugosi. He would follow this picture with the 1933 drama, "From Hell to Heaven", co-starring with Carole Lombard and Jack Oakie.



Arthur Byron portrayed "Sir Joseph Whemple". This was Byron's second feature film and there would be 25 others. Among them, co-starring with Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis, in 1932's, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing", the George Arliss, Loretta Young and Boris Karloff, 1934, "The House of Rothchild", and the Warner Baxter and Gloria Stuart, 1936, "The Prisoner of Shark Island". About Dr. Samuel Mudd, who made the mistake of treating John Wilkes Booth, after the Lincoln assassination.

Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Doctor Muller". Van Sloan had also just been seen in Bela Lugosi's, 1932, "The Death Kiss". and would follow this picture with 1933's, "The Billion Dollar Scandal", starring pre-"King Kong's", Robert Armstrong and Constance Cummings. 



Bramwell Fletcher portrayed "Ralph Norton". Fletcher's role is still confused with having been played by Dwight Frye. This comes mainly because of the crazy laugh and the actions the actor does while narrating what took place earlier with the Mummy.  

Fletcher started acting in 1928 and would have 56 roles to his credit at the end of his film and television career in 1967. Among those films are John Barrymore's, 1931, "Svengali", and the Anna May Wong, Warner Oland and Sessue Hayakawas, the Japanese Prison commander in 1957's, "The Bridge on the River Kwai", 1931, "Daughter of the Dragon", and 1942's, "The Undying Monster".



Noble Johnson portrayed "The Nubian". The African-American actor had just been in Producer Merian C. Cooper's "The Most Dangerous Game", and would follow this picture with a minimal stereotyped role of the "Head Boatman", in 1933, "Nagana".




This story starts in 1921, one year before the discovery of "Tutankhamun", with an expedition led by "Sir Joseph Whemple". The expedition is looking for the tomb of the "Prince Anck-su-namun", but instead find the legendary "Scroll of Troth" and the Mummy of "Imhotep".


Told not to touch the "Scroll of Troth", while the others are away, "Ralph Norton" opens the box, starts to translate the scroll, and as he reads his translation, the Mummy comes to life. It comes to the table and takes the "Scroll of Troth' and leaves a babbling "Norton"  to tell his tale.

Moving forward to 1931, a strange Egyptian, named "Ardeth Bey", approaches the new expedition of "Frank Whimple" and shows him the site of the tomb containing the "Princess Anck-su-namun". The treasurers of the tomb are presented to the Cairo Museum and "Ardeth Bey" stands fascinated with the Mummy of the Princess.




Next, "Ardeth Bey" is introduced to the half-Egyptian girl, "Helen Grosvenor" and she seems attracted to him.


At this point, Balderston's screenplay takes on some semblance of "Dracula" in the way "Ardeth Bey" hypnotically gains control of "Helen" and she has an overwhelming desire to be with him. Even though she has fallen in love with "Frank's" version of "John Harker", conveniently played by David Manners. 

"Helen" finds herself on a Cairo Street and in front of "Ardeth Bey's" home. 

She enters the house and the living Mummy shows "Helen" their past lives together and how she died. His stealing of the "Scroll of Thoth", being mummified alive, for his attempt to bring her back to life.






She doesn't believe him, but his hold on "Helen" is now strong and "Frank" and the others attempt to protect her. However, she is hypnotically lured to the Cairo Museum and finds herself dressed as the Princess, thinking she is still in ancient Egypt.



"Ardeth Bey" now gets "Princess Anck-su-namun" to realize she is possessing "Helen's" body. Telling her she needs to die again to be resurrected to live forever with her true love. Meanwhile, "Frank" and the others are arriving at the museum.

However, what "Imhotep" didn't think about is that "Princess Anck-su-namun" doesn't want to die again and prays to the statue of "Isis" for help. The arm on the statue moves upward and a bolt of lightning flashes out destroying the "Scroll of Troth" and "Ardeth Bey" begins to turn to dust.


"Frank" calls out to "Helen" and through the ages she returns to him.

Originally, the film contained a long sequence, removed by the Director for the final cut due to its length. It showed "Helen's" many reincarnations from the Princess to the present time. The following stills are from that cut sequence.


THE SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM released on July 20, 1933.


This is a haunted house style Horror Thriller from Director Kurt Neumann. Neumann started directing in 1931, and his work would include three of Johnny Weissmueller's "Tarzan" films, 1950's, "Rocketship X-M", 1957's, "KRONOS" and the original, 1958, "The Fly".

The original story came from German writer, Erich Philippi, after he left Nazi Germany. The screenplay was by William Hurlbut. He started writing in 1915 and in 1934, wrote the Fay Wray and Edward Arnold, "Madame Spy", and the same years, "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head", starring Claude Rains, Joan Bennett and Lionel Atwill. He also was the primary writer on a James Whale film I will be mentioning shortly.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Robert von Helldorf". Among Atwill's other 1933 motion pictures are. "The Vampire Bat", with Fay Wray and Melvyn Douglas, the second Technicolor Horror movie, "Mystery of the Wax Museum", that would be remade as a 1953 3-D movie, "House of Wax". with Vincent Price in the Lionel Atwill role.

Gloria Stuart portrayed "Irene von Helldorf". She had just starred in a comedy musical, 1933's, "It's Great to Be Alive", and would star in the next feature film I will mention.




Paul Lukas portrayed "Captain Walter Brink". Probably most of my readers know Lucas for the role of "Professor Pierre Aronnax" in Walt Disney's classic, 1954, version of Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", but from his 1915 start in Hungarian movies, Lukas portrayed many roles. He was "Athos", in the 1935 version of Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers", "Hessler", in 1940's, "Strange Cargo", starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, "W.S. Bruhl", in 1941's, "The Monster and the Girl", co-starring with Ellen Drew and Robert Paige, and "Kurt Mueller", in 1943's, "Watch on the Rhine", co-starring with Bette Davis and Geraldine Fitzgerald. A motion picture written by the team of Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman.




Edward Arnold portrayed "Commissioner Forster". Arnold had just co-starred with Sylvia Sidney, Donald Cook and Mary Astor, in novelist Theodore Dreiser's, 1933, "Jennie Gerhart", and would follow this picture with, the comedy, 1933's, "Her Bodyguard", starring the forgotten, Wynne Gibson.



Onslow Stevens portrayed "Frank Faber". Stevens started out as a leading man, but switched to character roles as he got older. In 1935, he was also in "The Three Musketeers" as "Aramis", he portrayed "J. Stanley McMasters" in, 1941's, "The Monster and the Girl", "Dr. Franz Edlemann", in 1944's, "House of Dracula" and portrayed, "Brigadier General Robert O'Brien" in, 1954's, "THEM!".



Above, Paul Lukas, Onslow Stevens and Lionel Atwill

One of the suitors, "Tommy Brandt", played by William Janney, for the hand of "Irene von Helldorf", challenges the others to spend a night alone in the "Blue Room" of a certain house

The room is known for several murders taking place over the years, at exactly 1 A.M., and is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the dead.

On the first night, "Tommy" enters the room, which is watched from outside by the others, and at 1 A.M. disappears. The second night, another enters the room and while playing the piano, at 1 A.M., is shot.



I will not reveal the ending to the picture, but it is available on-line. At the time of this writing, "The Secret of the Blue Room", is still considered a very effective Thriller.

The following motion picture can be considered either Science Fiction, or Horror.

THE INVISIBLE MAN first shown on October 31, 1933, at the "Kiva Theater" in Greeley, Colorado.


The above poster is from the original release of "The Invisible Man".

The motion picture was Directed by James Whale. He had directed 1933's, "The Kiss Before the Mirror", that was released just prior to this feature. The James Whale motion picture that followed was the 1933, musical comedy romance, "By Candlelight", starring Elissa Lund and Paul Lukas.

The main screenplay was by R.C. Sherriff. Sherriff without credit, had contributed to Whale's, 1932, "The Old Dark House", would contribute, without credit, to Whale's. 1935, "The Bride of Frankenstein", write the screenplays for both 1939's, "Goodbye Mr. Chips", and "The Four Feathers". Write the screenplay for the excellent James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich and Glynis Johns, 1951, "No Highway in the Sky" and the Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, 1955, "The Dam Busters".

American playwright, screenplay writer, motion picture Director and Academy Award Winner, Preston Sturges, was a uncredited screenplay writer on this picture. 

British author, Philip Wylie, "When Worlds Collide", and "After Worlds Collide", was also an uncredited screenplay writer on this picture.

As both the original poster for the motion picture and this catchy piece of publicity tells the potential audience. It was Gloria Stuart and not the unknown Claude Rains who was the star of the James Whale film. When the picture was first re-released, Gloria Stuart and Claude Rains switched billing.

Gloria Stuart portrayed "Flora Cranley". She had just starred in 1933's, "The Secret of the Blue Room", and would follow this film with, 1933's, "Roman Scandals", in third position behind comedian Eddie Cantor and actress Ruth Etting.



Claude Rains portrayed "Dr. Jack Griffin" aka: "The Invisible Man". Previous to this picture, British stage actor, Rains, only appeared once on-screen, with eighth billing, in 1920's, "Build They House". It was his voice that James Whale wanted for this film, because until he's dead at the end, you never see the actor. Claude Rains would follow this feature with the long forgotten, 1934, "Crime Without Passion".

My article, "----CLAUDE RAINS WAS THE INVISIBLE MAN---", about his life's work. Will be found at:

William Harrigan portrayed "Dr. Arthur Kemp". Harrigan started on-screen acting in 1915, took a break for World War 2 in 1943, and returned to the screen in 1947. He had seventh billing behind, James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak, Robert Armstong, and Lloyd Nolan, in 1935's, "G-Men". William Harrigan returned from WW2 to ninth billing in the Loretta Young, Joseph Cotton, Ethel Barrymore and Charles Bickford, 1947, "The Farmer's Daughter".




Henry Travers portrayed "Dr, Cranley". The British stage and screen character actor had started in film in 1933. The following year he was in the Frederick March classic, "Death Takes a Holiday", in 1939, Travers was in the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland Western, "Dodge City". Also in 1939, it was "Dark Victory", starring Bette Davis, George Brent and Humphrey Bogart and 1943, saw the actor in Alfred Hitchcock's, "Shadow of a Doubt", and in 1946, he played the angel, "Clarence", opposite James Stewart in Director Frank Capra's, "It's a Wonderful Life".





Una O'Connor portrayed "Jenny Hall". The Northern Ireland born character actress, became a familiar face in several films. In 1935 she appeared in "MGM's" version of author Charles Dicken's "David Copperfield", Directed by George Cukor, followed by 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein" and Director John Ford's, "The Informer". In 1936, she was in "Lloyd's of London", starring Tyrone Power and Madeline Carroll, and two years later, O'Connor was in the Errol Flynn, Olivia de Haviland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains, classic, "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Her 85 roles ended in 1957 with Director Billy Wilder's version of Agatha Christie's. "Witness for the Prosecution", starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.



In a blinding snow storm, a man with his face bandaged, arrives at a out of the way inn. He explains to the innkeeper and his wife that he had an accident and needs a private room to work on some experiments. So, begins James Whale's version of the H.G. Wells story.

Entering their lodger's room without knocking, "Mrs. Hall", catches "Jack Griffin", with part of his bandages off and apparently without a jaw. This leads to a series of incidents with her and other locals. The local constable in brought in to get rid of the lodger.







"Dr. Jack Griffin" leaves the inn, but he forgot his notebooks. He returns, kills a policeman, and goes to one of his previous associates, "Dr. Arthur Kemp". Whom he threatens to terrorize, if he doesn't cooperate. The Invisibility Serum is driving "Griffin" slowly mad.



"Kemp" calls "Cranley" for help and this will lead to "Jack's" fiancée. "Flora Cranley", finding out about what is going on.


In his madness for power, "Dr. Griffin", commits other crimes and goes on a killing spree including the derailment of a passenger train. He murders "Dr. Kemp", pursued by the police, "Griffin" removes his clothes to become invisible, but it's snowing once more. The police follow "Jack Griffin's" footprints to a barn he's hiding in and "The Invisible Man" is fatally shot.



He is taken to a hospital and "Flora" and her father arrive. As they watch, "Dr. Jack Griffin", becomes visible and dies from his wounds. As the audience finally gets to see Claude Rains.

Like many motion picture studios, "Universal Pictures", made "Cliff Hangers", and this had started in the Silent Era with, "Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery", on April 14, 1914. The studios first "Cliff-Hanger" with a minimal science fiction theme was:

THE PHANTOM OF THE AIR released in 1933 with 12 Chapters.

This "Cliff-Hanger" was Directed by Ray Taylor, who specialized in serials starting in 1926. Among his work are, 1928's, "Tarzan the Mighty", 1934's, "The Return of Chandu", starring Bela Lugosi, 1937's, "Dick Tracy", the first of a series starring Ralph Byrd, and 1940's, "The Green Hornet", with Keye Luke as "Kato".

"B" Cowboy actor Tom Tyler, portrayed "Bob Raymond". During the 1940's, Tyler, would be the first Mummy, "Kharis", and the first "Captain Marvel". My article, "Tom Tyler: the 'B' Cowboy Star Who Became a Mummy, Captain Marvel and a Classic John Wayne Bad Guy", can be read at:

"B" Actress Gloria Shea portrayed "Mary Edmonds". 

William Desmond portrayed her inventor father, "Thomas Edmonds", in the center below between Shea and Tyler.

While, LeRoy Mason portrayed the villain and suitor for "Mary", "Moritmer Crome" 


Of interest in a very small role was character actor, Walter Brennan. He portrayed "Crome's" henchman, "Skid", without on-screen credit. In fact, from his first on-screen appearance in 1925, Walter Brennan appeared 94 times without on-screen credit, and in 30 others roles either so small that you would miss him. Such as in 1933's, "The Invisible Man", as a "Bicycle Owner", and 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein", as a "Neighbor with an Ax". Then in 1935, Director Howard Hawks, gave Walter Brennan fourth billing behind, Miriam Hopkins, Edward G. Robinson and Joel McCrea in, "Barbary Coast", and his career was finally launched. That's Walter Brennan on the far right, below.

"Thomas Edmunds" invents an anti-gravity device and gets pilot "Bob Raymond" to test it for him. Meanwhile, "Gloria Edmunds" is falling for "Bob". While, a family friend, "Mortimer Crome", is actually behind the attempts to steal the invention. Can "Bob" stop "Mortimer" by using "Edmunds" super plane, "The Phantom of the Air"? Be in this theater next Saturday for the next exciting chapter!

"Universal Pictures" released another "Cliff-Hanger" with a little more science fiction in it.


 THE VANISHING SHADOW released on April 23, 1934 in 12 Chapters.


This Science Fiction themed "Cliff-Hanger" was the first serial Directed by Lew Landers. Who used the name of Louis Friedlander. By the end of his career, in 1963, Landers would have 176 titles to his credit.

Onslow Stevens portrayed scientist, "Stanley Stanfield". He meets with another scientist, "Professor Carl Van Dorn", played by James Durkin. The two create a "Ray Gun" that makes people invisible and only leaves their shadow. Financial problems develop for "Stanfield", being deliberately caused by a corrupt business man, named "Wade Barnett", played by Walter Miller, who also wants to steal the "Ray Gun". Meanwhile, "Stanley" falls in love with "Gloria Grant", played by Ada Ince. However, he does not know she's really "Gloria Barnett", his enemy’s daughter.


Above, James Durkin, Onslow Stevens and Ada Ince.


Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and David Manners came back in a little variation on Edgar Allan Poe.

THE BLACK CAT released on May 7, 1934.



This is actually my favorite of all the "Universal Pictures" Horror movies.

The story treatment came from the film's Director, Edgar G. Ulmar. This was his fifth feature film as a director and his fourth as a writer. Among his work is the forgotten, 1944, "Bluebeard", starring John Carradine and the classic Film-Noir, 1945's, "Detour", starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage. Ulmer Directed the Cult Science Fiction featjure, 1951's, "The Man from Planet X", and the Italian Peplum, 1959's, "Hannibal", starring Victor Mature.

Peter Ruric wrote the screenplay, his third of eight, and worked as an assistant dialogue coach on the film.

Boris Karloff portrayed "Hjalmar Poelzig". Karloff was last seen in 1934's, "The House of Rothchild", and would follow this picture with a comedy musical, with eleventh billing, 1934's, "Gift of Gab", starring Edmund Lowe and Gloria Stuart.

Bela Lugosi in a non-villain role, portrayed "Dr. Vitus Werdegast". Lugosi was just seen in a non-credited role in the Victor Jory and Loretta Young romance, 1933's, "The Devil's in Love", and would follow this picture with, 1934's, "Gift of Gab", with fourteenth billing as a "French Apache Dancer".

David Manners portrayed "Peter Allison". Manners had just made 1934's, "The Luck of a Sailor". starring Greta Nissen. Who had lost the lead in Howard Hawks', 1930, "Hell's Angels", to the unknown Jean Harlow, because of her Swedish accent. David Manners would next be seen in 1934's, comedy romance, "The Great Flirtation".

Julie Bishop using the name of Jacqueline Wells, portrayed "Joan Allison". "B" actress Bishop used the Wells name for 48 of her 92 roles. She once called herself, Diane Duval, in 1932's, "Heroes of the West", co-starring with Onslow Stevens and Noah Beery, Jr.



The movie is described by critics and film historians as "Psychological Horror" and there is a lot of weird set designs by Art Director, Charles D. Hall, to add to the atmosphere.

Newlyweds, "Peter" and "Joan Allison", on their honeymoon in Hungary, share a train compartment with psychiatrist "Dr. Vitus Werdegast". The two learn that the doctor was a prisoner-of-war during World War 1 and when he returned home, his wife had disappeared. Now, he is on his way to visit an old friend, "Hjalmar Poelzig". The three now share a bus with others that during a heavy rain storm, crashes and "Joan" is injured. However, nearby is "Poelzig's" home, and the bus passengers go there. The home is built on the ruins of "Fort Marmous" that "Poelzing" commanded during the war
 and a war cemetery surrounds it.

 "Hjalmar Poelzig". comes down to greet his "Guests"?

"Dr, Werdegast" treats "Joan" for her injuries and gives her hyoscine, a tranquilizing drug, which causes her to behave erratically. She is put to bed and then the doctor goes to speak to his "Old Friend".

Their game of chess has the psychological significance of representing their own "Chess Game" being played out within the house.

Now things start to twist, as "Dr. Werdegast" accuses "Poelzig" of betraying the Fort to the Russians during the war and causing the death of thousands of Austro-Hungarians buried below his home. "Werdegast" adds the charge of stealing his wife, "Karen", played by Lucille Lund, while he was in a Russian prison. Earlier in their lives, "Werdegast", who had a fear of cats, killed "Poelzig's" "Black Cat", and now, "Poelzig" carries another.

The picture shows both actors at their best and permits Bela to prove he's not just the Count and Boris to have a role without very much make-up. The two play-off each other like in no other film together.

On beknown to everyone, "Poelzig", is the leader of a satanic cult and plans to sacrifice "Joan". Also, he sleeps with a young woman named "Karen", also played by Lucille Lund, and the daughter of "Werdegast".


In his dungeon basement, "Hjalmar Poelzig" keeps "Dr. Vitus Werdegast's" original wife, and the mother of the younger "Karen" in a glass enclosure to preserve her beauty.

At the climax, "Joan" is rescued from the cult and she tells "Dr. Werdegast" that his daughter is alive somewhere within the house. 


"Werdegast" discovers that "Poelzig" has killed both his "Karen's" and now seeks revenge on him. By turning “Poelzig’s” torture devices on him. This is a must-see film.

In 1934, "Universal Pictures" released two mysteries, that are listed by many as Horror films. In the 1940's, similar style films, with Lon Chaney, Jr., and based upon the popular radio series, "Inner Sanctum", would be released. In both cases the "Universal Publicity Department" gave the potential audiences the idea that they were all Horror films. They were not!

One of the two movies from 1934, was "Secret of the Chateau", about a detective seeking a murderer who used an assumed name. This forgotten film, with its forgotten cast, is set in a spooky old house in which an original "Gutenberg Bible" is hidden and within the group of people assembled looking for the bible is that murderer.

In the second, 1934, feature, Claude Rains starred as, "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head". The actor was even publicized as "Claude Rains, The Invisible Man". As seen on the following poster.

The screenplay starts in 1915, with Claude Rains, a soldier named "Paul", walking into the office of his friend, an attorney, with his little daughter in one hand and a satchel in the other. 

Through a flashback, the audience learns he was poor and a pacifist married to a lovely woman, played by Joan Bennett.  He found a job writing for a politician, played by Lionel Atwill, and was getting paid by letting the other take the credit for his writing.

When the First World War breaks out, the politician wants the pacifist to write articles supporting gun sales for his gun manufacturing friends, but he refuses. The politician arranges for the writer to be drafted and immediately sent to the front and the pacifist is forced into being a soldier. 

The writer finally gets some leave from the army to return home, but at the train station he is notified it has suddenly been cancelled. He hears a rumor that the politician got the leave cancelled. Instead of going back to the army base and the war, "Paul" boards the train for home.

Arriving there, he walks in on the politician attempting to force himself on his wife. In a rage, "Paul", takes his bayonet and kills the man. 

The flashback ends, and back in the Attorney's office, this is where the "Universal Pictures" Publicity Department labels the movie Horror, "Paul" is asked what's in the satchel? He opens it to reveal the politician's head to his Attorney friend, but the audience does not see it. The head in the satchel is implied by the dialogue. 

Below, is another poster for the same motion picture also used to advertise it with a different slant than the first and defiantly Horror.


Then there was the 1935 motion picture made by "Universal Pictures", but pulled by the studio from "General Release" because the Executives declared it to be a:


 LIFE RETURNS previewed in 1935


This is a weird film, but the back story. 

 In 1932, the University of Southern California, Dr. Robert E. Cornish, was actually interested in the concept of restoring life to the dead. This is not a "Frankenstein Story", but real fact.

His plan was to use a teeter-totter, or see-saw, to get blood flowing into recently deceased people with a mixture of adrenaline and anticoagulants injected into their circulatory system. In 1933, Cornish   attempted this on recently drowned, and electrocuted people without success. So, he switched to animals and more specially dogs. On May 22, 1934, at USC, Dr. Cornish succeeded with a dog he named "Lazarus IV". At the time, motion picture director Eugene Frenke, filmed the entire process.

Eugene Frenke, next, convinced "Universal Picture Executives", to make a film based upon this unique story. 

James P. Hogan Directed the motion picture, along with Frenke. Hogan was a "Contract Director" for the studio and had worked on both the "Ellery Queen", and 'Bulldog Drummond" detective series. He was the actual live action director for Frenke's picture.

Onslow Stevens portrayed "Dr. John Kenrick". Stevens had just been in the, 1934, crime drama, "House of Danger", and would follow this film with another crime drama, 1935's, "A Notorious Gentleman".

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Mrs. John Kenrick". Hobson had played the non-screen credited role of "Mimi- A Carnival Girl", in 1934's, "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head", and was about to place herself in "Universal Pictures" Horror history with three of her next five motion pictures.

"Dr. Kenrick" sees a chance of proving his theory to revive the dead with an experiment on a recently deceased dog. The movie utilized the actual "USC" footage taken by Eugene Frenke and even Dr. Robert E. Cornish appeared in the picture, as himself, inspiring his fictional self, "Dr. Kenrick". The screenplay goes into the professional and home problems "Kenrick's" experiment causes him, but on a whole. It was a means of getting Cornish's real experiment seen by the public and possibly more funding for him.

Next, was the first of the three motion pictures with Valerie Hobson.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD released on February 4, 1935.

In their work on, "Universal Horrors", writers Tom Weaver, and Michael and John Brunas, described the motion picture as:

neither an all-out horror story nor a puzzling whodunnit---- (but)--a quaintly charming and atmospheric Victorian melodrama

However, the same could be said of the classic, "Jack the Ripper" film, 1944's, "The Lodger", from "20th Century Fox". 

The picture was Directed by Stuart Walker. This was the tenth of his twelve feature films, because he became a producer. Just prior to this picture, Walker had directed "Great Expectations", starring Henry Hull, for the studio. 

The Charles Dickens novel was adapted by John L. Balderston

This screenplay was written by Gladys Unger. Unger was a playwright and a "B" screenplay writer since 1920. She wrote the screenplay for, "Great Expectations", and also, in 1935, wrote the screenplay for the Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Brian Ahern, "Sylvia Scarlett". In 1937, she wrote the screenplay for the Anna May Wong, Charles Bickford and Buster Crabbe, "Daughter of Shanghai".

Claude Rains portrayed "John Jasper". This picture immediately followed, "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head", and was followed with, 1935's, "The Clairvoyant". Seeming to typecast the actor at the time.


Douglas Montgomery portrayed "Neville Landless".  Montgomery was a leading man in "B" features and co-starred with Mae Marsh in Director James Whale's, 1931, "Waterloo Bridge". He would be seen in the 1939 version of, "The Cat and the Canary".

Heather Angel portrayed "Rosa Budd". Angel became a voice and character actress, voicing, "Alice's sister", in Walt Disney's, 1951, animated "Alice in Wonderland", and, "Mrs. Darling", in Disney's, 1953, "Peter Pan". She was seen in both Alfred Hitchcock's, 1941, "Suspicion", and his, 1944, "Lifeboat".




Above, Douglas Montgomery and Heather Angel

David Manners portrayed "Edwin Drood". He had just been in 1934's, "The Moonstone", based on a mystery novel by Wilkie Collins. Manners followed this feature with a comedy crime film, 1935's, "The Perfect Clue".



Above, left to right, Douglas Montgomery, Claude Rains and David Manners.

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Helena Landless". Hobson had just been seen, by a very view people, in 1935's, "Life Returns", and would follow this film, co-starring with Ralph Bellamy in 1935's, "Rendezvous at Midnight".

Above, Valerie Hobson and Heather Angel.

The screenplay is based upon the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens and is about a choirmaster, "John Jasper", obsessed with a student, "Rosa Budd". However, his nephew, "Edwin Drood", is also in love with the girl. When suddenly "Edwin", disappears and the mystery begins.




The motion picture was thought lost until, in 1980, a print was donated to the "UCLA Film and Television Archives". It was Directed by actor turned director, Lowell Sherman. This was the last of his forgotten feature films.

The screenplay was based upon a novel by Thorne Smith. The creator of the popular, 1930's into 1950's, movie and television characters, "Cosmo Topper", and the fun-loving ghosts of "George and Marion Kerby".

The screenplay was by Barry Trivers. Trivers had a successful "B" screenplay career and moved into television from 1952 through 1976.

Alan Mowbray portrayed "Hunter Hawk". Character actor Mowbray was one of the founding members of the "Screen Actor Guild (SAG)". His motion pictures include, 1931's, "Alexander Hamilton", 1932's, "Sherlock Holmes", starring Clive Brook as "Holmes", 1933's, "A Study in Scarlet", starring Reginald Owen as "Holmes", 1934's, "The House of Rothchild", 1936's, "Mary of Scotland", starring Katharine Hepburn and Directed by John Ford, 1937's, "Topper", starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, and 1946's, "Terror By Night", starring Basil Rathbone as "Sherlock Holmes".

Peggy Shannon portrayed "Daphne Lambert". Shannon started out as a "Ziegfeld Girl" and had a "B" movie career from 1930 to 1941.She was only 34 when she passed away.



This film really isn't a Horror entry as most lists have it. I believe that designation was because of the title and the fact the film was deemed lost for 45 years. It could be considered science fiction, or more properly fantasy.

"Hunter Hawk" is an eccentric scientist, who nearly blows himself up in one of his experiments, but discovers he now has a ring that can turn any living thing into stone and the reverse. This comedy takes place during one evening and at the end, "Hawk", awakes in an ambulance to discover it was all a dream caused by a blow to his head during the explosion at the start of the story.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN released in Chicago, on April 19, 1935.

James Whale was back to Direct the sequel to his, 1931, motion picture. John L. Balderston adapted Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel once more. 

William Hurlbut got the on-screen credit for the screenplay. However, there were eight other non-credited screenplay writers. These were, Josef Berne, Lawrence G. Blochman, Robert Florey, author Philip McDonald, Tom Reed, R.C. Sherriff, Edmund Pearson and Morton Cavon.

KARLOFF was "The Monster" for his second time in a Jack Pierce make-up. It now reflected the mill fire at the end of the 1931 feature. Boris Karloff would follow this picture, reunited with Bela Lugosi, in 1935's, "The Raven".


Colin Clive was back as "Henry Frankenstein". Clive had just been seen in, 1935's, "The Right to Live". That was based upon author W. Somerset Maugham's novel, "The Sacred Flame". He would follow this feature co-starring with Bette Davis, in 1935's, "The Girl from 10th Avenue".

Valerie Hobson now portrayed "Elizabeth Frankenstein". Hobson's next feature would solidify her association with "Universal Pictures" classic Horror. However, her marriage to the British Secretary of State, John Profumo, had unforeseen consequences for the actress.

My article, "Valerie Hobson: From Frankenstein's Bride To Bringing Down the British Government", looks at her film career and those "Unforeseen Consequences", at:

Ernest Thesiger portrayed "Doctor Pretorius". Thesiger had been seen in a forgotten British musical with a forgotten cast, 1935's, "My Heart Is Calling". He would follow this picture with another British film, from a scenario written by H.G. Wells, 1936's, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles", from producer Alexander Korda.

Elsa Lanchester had the dual roles of "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley" and "The Monster's Mate", not the title "Bride". That is actually, "Elizabeth", in the screenplay. The following year Lanchester would again appear with her husband, actor Charles Laughton, in "Rembrandt". In 1933, the two appeared together in 1933's, "The Private Life of Henry VIII". In 1964, the actress was "Katie Nanna", in Walt Disney's, "Mary Poppins". She was also in the "Beach Party" movie, 1964's, "Pajama Party", starring Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello.



Unlike, 1931's, "Frankenstein", "The Bride of Frankenstein", was now subject to the new "Motion Picture Production Code".  Joseph Breen, the head censor of the "Hays Office", started on the dialogue in the original screenplay. He objected to "Henry Frankenstein" and his work being compared to God's. He kept objecting to the reference, even as it was reworded from script to script, but kept the concept intact.

Breen objected to a planned scene of the monster rushing into the graveyard to rescue the figure of "Jesus from the Cross". The figure is seen in the following stills in the reworked scene with the Monster looking at a statue of a Priest.

However, Breen had no objections to having the Monster appear to be crucified in a sequence.




Breen felt Elsa Lanchester's breasts were showing to much as Mary Shelley and ordered editing, but had no problem with the implied homosexuality of "Dr. Pretorius".


Breen objected to a scene with Dwight Frye's character, "Nephew Gertz", killing his uncle and blaming the Monster. James Whale cut the scene and Frye's character was reduced to a caricature of "Fritz" from the 1931 film.





The movie opens on a stormy night, as "Mary Shelley", "Lord Byron", played by Gavin Gordon, and "Mary's" husband, "Percy Bysshe Shelley", played by Douglas Walton, tell ghost stories and the two men learn that the original 1931 movie wasn't the whole story, and now, the audience learns the rest of the tale.


The Monster has survived the end of the previous film, meets a blind hermit, and learns to speak and smoke cigars. He meets "Dr. Pretorius", and this leads to "Henry Frankenstein" be forced into making a mate for his creation. Who in the end, showing its humanity, realizes the real love between "Elizabeth" and "Henry. Then destroys the evil "Pretorius", himself, and his mate, by blowing up the laboratory.



Valerie Hobson moved from having her husband creating a Monster. To having her husband being---

THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON released on May 13, 1935

In what was the First Hollywood mainstream production about a werewolf, Jack Pierce created a simple make-up to better see Henry Hull's facial features.

For those of my readers with a thing for "Werewolves". My article, "67 Years of WEREWOLF Movies and Variations: 1913 to 1980", will bite you at:

The motion picture was Directed by Stuart Walker. 

The story came from the film's Producer, Robert Harris, and he is also credited as one of the two adaptors of that story idea into a screenplay. The other was Harvey Gates, who had been creating scenarios since 1913. By the end of Gates' career, in 1948, the number of films he worked upon reached 222.

John Colton wrote the actual screenplay and would do the same for 1936's, "The Invisible Ray", and 1939's, "Gunga Din". He also was a playwright and wrote 1922's, "Rain", starring Jeanne Eagles, 
as "Miss Sadie Thompson". Which was based upon author, W. Somerset Maugham's, 1921, short story. The play would be turned into three feature films, the first in 1928, starring Gloria Swanson, the second in 1932, starring Joan Crawford, and the third in 1953, starring Rita Hayworth.

Henry Hull portrayed "Dr. Wilfred Glendon". Among the films in Hull's career are, 1938's, "Boys Town", starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, 1939's, "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, and its sequel, 1940's, "The Return of Frank James", starring Henry Fonda. Additionally, he appeared in 1941's, "High Sierra", starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino, and Alfred Hitchcock's, 1944. "Lifeboat".

Warner Oland portrayed "Dr. Yogami". Oland had just been seen in 1935's, "Charlie Chan in Paris", in the title role, and would follow this picture with 1935's, "Charlie Chan in Egypt".  Warner Oland played many character roles, but never a person from his native Sweden. My article, "Warner Oland: A Jewish Cantor, A Werewolf, a Chinese Evil Master Mind and a Chinese Detective", can be investigated at:


Above the adversaries, Henry Hull and Warner Oland.

Valerie Hobson portrayed "Lisa Glendon". Hobson was just in "The Bride of Frankenstein" and would follow this feature with a 1935 crime drama, "Chinatown Squad".


Above, to the left of Valerie Hobson is Spring Byington as "Miss Ellie Combes". This was Byington's third on-screen role and I first saw her on television's "December Bride", from 1954 through 1959. Her other roles included 59 episodes of the television Western series, "Laramie", as "Aunt Daisy Cooper", from 1961 through 1963. She was, "J. Pauline Spaghetti" in the 1966, "Batman" episode, "The Catwoman Goeth". While, Spring Byington's movies include, 1935's, "Mutiny on the Bounty", starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, 1936's, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1938's, "The Buccaneer", Directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Frederick March, and 1938's, "Jezebel", starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda.

Lester Matthews portrayed "Paul Ames". At this time, Matthews, was a solid supporting actor. Among his feature films would be the Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains, 1938, "The Adventures of Robin Hood". In 1939, he portrayed the "Duke of Buckingham", in a musical comedy version of Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers", starring singer Don Ameche and comedians, the Ritz Brothers.



Above, Henry Hull, Valerie Hobson and Lester Matthews.

Botanist, "Dr. Glendon", goes to Tibet to find the rare "Mariphasa Lupine Lumina" plant.

He finds it, but also a werewolf that bites him.




For decades many fans of "Universal Pictures Horror", because of the first season of the syndicated television series "Shock Theater". Had believed that Lon Chaney, Jr. was the studio's first werewolf. With the running of this picture, that impression changed, but Henry Hull was also not the first werewolf. That honor went to Warner Oland, seen above, in the only clear shot of him in make-up by Jack Pierce.

"Dr. Glendon" returns home to his loving wife, "Lisa". The strange, "Dr. Yogami", appears and knows more about what happened in Tibet then he should. "Yogami" explains that "Glendon" will become a werewolf on the next full moon, if the moonlight blooming "Mariphasa Lupine Lumina's" blossom is not used to stop the transformation. "Dr. Glendon" is using an artificial moonlight lamp to make the plant bloom. There are three buds on the plant, but only one blooms and "Dr. Yogami" steals it. As "Glendon" becomes the title character.

The Werewolf will kill a prostitute, have a final battle with "Dr. Yogami" and go after the one he loves, "Lisa". 







In the end "Paul Ames" shoots the werewolf in the back and he falls down the stairs from the second floor of the house to the living room. As "Lisa" and "Paul" watch, the werewolf turns back into the tortured "Dr. Wilfred Glendon". There are no silver bullets in this story.

The following is the original Jack Pierce make-up on Henry Hull that wasn't used.

THE RAVEN released in July 1935.



The motion picture was Directed by Lew Landers, once again using the name Louis Friedlander.

The screenplay is credited to, David Bohem. Bohem was a "B" film writer and this was his only Horror film, but it should be noted there were seven other contributing writers. I want to point out two of them.

The first was Dore Schary, a playwright, screenplay writer, but most importantly. In 1947, he became the head of all Production at "RKO Pictures", and in July, 1948, he moved into the same position for "MGM".

The second was Guy Endore. Endore wrote the screenplays for Tod Browning's, 1935, "Mark of the Vampire" and 1936's, "The Devil Doll". He won the Oscar for his screenplay for 1945's, "The Story of G.I. Joe". His novel, "The Werewolf of Paris", is considered as equal  for Werewolf lore, as Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula", is to vampires. It was also turned into "Hammer  Films", 1961, "The Curse of the Werewolf". However, Guy Endore was also a Communist and was blacklisted by the studios. My article, "Guy Endore: Black Listing and Communism In The Motion Picture Industry", can be read at:

KARLOFF portrayed "Edmond Bateman". Boris Karloff had just been seen in "The Bride of Frankenstein" and after this picture would be in "Columbia Pictures", 1935, "The Black Room".




Bela Lugosi portrayed "Dr. Richard Vollin". Bela, was billed as:

Bela (Dracula) Lugosi

Lugosi had just been the vampire (?), "Count Mora", in Director Tod Browning's remake of his 1927, "London After Midnight", from "MGM",. "Universal Pictures" didn't want any audience confusion over who he had originally played and reminded the potential audience of the 1931, "Dracula".. My article, "Tod Browning: Lon Chaney Meets Bela Lugosi: A Tale of Two Motion Pictures", is ready to read from your comfortable coffin at:




Lester Matthews portrayed "Dr. Jerry Halden" in the on-screen credits, but his role was "Dr. Jerry Holden" in the script. He had proceeded this film with, "The Werewolf of London", and the Victor McLaglen and Gloria Stuart,1935, "Professional Soldier", followed.

Irene Ware portrayed "Jean Thatcher". Described as either a "also ran", or "might have been", was starlet Ware. She just couldn't get a following, even playing "B" leading roles starting in 1932, and her career ended eight years later with a total of 29 feature film

Samuel S. Hinds portrayed "Judge Thatcher". Between 1926 and 1949, character actor Hinds had 219 film roles. 


Above, Lester Matthews, Irene Ware and Samuel S. Hinds.

"Jean Thatcher" is badly injured in a car accident and her fiancé, "Jerry Halden Holden", and her father "Judge Thatcher", take her to retired surgeon, "Dr. Vollin", to perform the operation. It's a success and the doctor and “Jean” become friends. As their time together passes, he reveals his love, or is it his obsession with Edgar Allan Poe. 

While, "Vollin" reveals his love for "Jean" to her father and asks for his blessing. "Judge Thatcher" discourages him, by telling "Dr. Vollin" about "Jerry". As this is transpiring, the murderer "Edmond Bateman", comes to "Vollin's" house to get a new face, at any cost, to escape the police. 


"Vollin" now hatches a double plan to get "Jean" for himself. First, he performs surgery on "Bateman", turning him into a horrid looking person. Thereby, being able to control the murderer with the promise of correcting the face he must live with otherwise.

Second, he invites "Jean", "Jerry" and the "Judge" to his house for a dinner party. Along some others he wants revenge upon. One by one, the insane doctor uses the Edgar Allan Poe inspired torture devices, in his basement, on his guests.






At the climax, "Bateman" rescues "Jean" and "Jerry", but is fatally shot by "Vollin". Whom the murderer throws into the chamber with walls that mechanically close on each other.

The Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi films continued with:

THE INVISIBLE RAY released on January 20, 1936.

The picture was by screenplay writer and director, Lambert Hillyer. He started in 1917 and become a very accomplished "B" film director. Hillyer directed several of "B" Cowboy actor, Johnny Mack Brown's features, and in 1943, Lambert Hillyer directed the 15 Chapter Cliff-Hanger, "Batman". 

The original story was by another writer and director, Howard Higgin, and Douglas Hodges, his only feature film story. The actual screenplay was written by John Colton, as mentioned above.

Boris Karloff portrayed "Dr. Janos Rukh". He had just been in 1935's, "The Black Room", and would follow this picture as 1936's, "The Walking Dead".



Bela Lugosi portrayed "Dr. Felix Benet". Lugosi had just been in the forgotten, but very good, 1935, "The Mystery of the Mary Celeste" aka: "The Phantom Ship". He would follow this picture with, 1936's, "The Postal Inspector", starring Ricardo Cortez.




Francis Drake portrayed "Diana Rukh". She had portrayed, "Eponine", in the 1935, version of Victor Hugo's, "Les Misérables", starring Fredrick March and Charles Laughton. Drake had co-starred with Peter Lorre and Colin Clive in 1935's, "Mad Love", based upon the Horror Thriller, "The Hands of Orlac". After this picture, Francis Drake was in, 1936's, "The Preview Murder Mystery", co-starring with Reginald Denny.

Frank Lawton portrayed "Ronald Drake". Lawton portrayed the "Adult-David", in the 1935 version of Charles Dickens', "David Copperfield", and would follow this feature with, Director Tod Browning's, 1936, "The Devil Doll".




Above, Frank Lawton and Frances Drake.

Visionary astronomer, "Dr. Janos Rukh", has invented a telescope that can look into the Andromeda Galaxy and photograph light rays that will show him events from the Earth's past. With his wife, "Diana", two skeptics, "Dr. Benet" and "Sir Francis Stevens", played by Walter Kingsford, his wife, "Lady Arabella Stevens", played Beulah Bondi, and their nephew "Ronald Drake". The group watch a large meteorite smash into the Earth billions of years in the past, 






"Dr. Rukh" locates the meteorite, but is exposed to what he calls "Radium X". It has two bad side effects for the scientist, he now glows in the dark. and his touch kills any living thing.

As time passes, "Dr. Janos Rukh" starts to slowly go insane, but has found a temporary antidote that slows down the affects of the radium on his body. He discovers that "Radium X" can cure blindness and uses it on his mother.

"Dr. Benet" takes a sample to France to test it there, but "Rukh" believes he's stealing his discovery. Meanwhile, "Dr. Rukh" discovers that his wife is falling in love with "Ronald Drake". He now wants to take revenge upon both his wife and "Dr. Benet. He murders a man that has the same body build as himself to make people believe there was a "Radium X" accident and he died in it. Next, "Rukh" takes on a new identity, but after believing in her husband's death, "Diana" marries "Ronald".

"Dr. Rukh" kills "Dr. Benet", but can't bring himself to kill his wife. His mother appears, the two have a verbal confrontation, and her son decides to kill himself. He jumps through a window and disappears in an explosive flame.

The Laemmle family had taken out loans to keep "Universal Pictures" going during the "Great Depression" and for a short time the company slipped into receivership. Like many studios of the period, the Laemmle's owned a small theater chain. The theaters would be sold to make ends meet, but Carl Laemmle, Jr. held onto the studio Production and Distribution arms of the business. 

Then came Director James Whale's dream production, see the above link, of Jerome Kearns and Oscar Hammerstein II's, Broadway musical. "SHOWBOAT". 



To start production on "Showboat", the Laemmle's were forced to borrow $750,000 dollars, from "Standard Capital Corporation". The movie went, $444,943 over budget for a total of $1,194,943 dollars. In comparison, "The Invisible Ray", had a budget of $166,875 dollars and went over by $68,000. It still was $960,068 less than the final cost of "Showboat".

The motion picture had yet to be released, 
when, the "Standard Capital Corporation", called in their loan and the Laemmle's lost control of the studio on April 2, 1936.  Carl Laemmle, Sr. and Carl Laemmle, Jr., were unceremoniously told to leave and John Cheever Cowdin took over as "President and Chairman of the Board of Directors" and cost cutting measures began.

It should be noted that both Laemmle's names remained on the, May 17, 1936, release of "Showboat", and the motion picture was a financial success for the studio they no longer owned. 


FLASH GORDON released on April 6, 1936 with 13 Chapters.


In 1934, Alex Raymond created the newspaper comic strip, "Flash Gordon". At the time, Raymond was working for the "King Features Syndicate".



Frederick Stephani is the credited Director of the Cliff-Hanger and this was his first directing assignment. Stephani was a film producer, but this was not one of his. He would direct one other serial and stop directing until 1952. When he started directing on television. Otherwise, he was a "B" film and television producer.

Actually, without credit was "Cliff-Hanger" director, Ray Taylor. Who may have been the actual director of "Flash Gordon".

The screenplay was credited to four Cliff-Hanger writers, starting with Stephani, and including, Ella O'Neil, George H. Plympton and Basil Dickey.

Larry "Buster" Crabbe portrayed "Flash Gordon". Crabbe had already portrayed, "Kaspa the Lion Man", in 1933's, "King of the Jungle", and was, "Tarzan the Fearless", the same year. My article, "Tarzan. Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, Billy the Kid, and LARRY 'BUSTER' CRABBE", may be read at:

Jean Rodgers portrayed "Dale Arden". "B" Leading Lady, Rodgers, started on-screen acting in 1933. Her first Cliff-Hanger was based upon a popular radio program and was 1935's, "Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Race". Rodgers started 1936, with another Cliff-Hanger, "The Adventures of Frank Merriwell", based upon a series of books by George H. Plympton. This serial would be followed by another Cliff-Hanger, "Ace Drummond", based upon another popular comic strip created by World War One flying ace, Eddie Rickenbacker.



Above, Jean Rodgers and Buster Crabbe.

Charles Middleton portrayed "Ming the Merciless". Among Middleton's roles were the "The Prosecutor", in the 1933, Marx Brothers feature, "Duck Soup". the Sheriff, "Vallon", in 1936's, "Showboat" and the "Man with the Stove Pipe Hat in Charge of Convict Workers", in 1939's, "Gone with the Wind".



Frank Shannon portrayed "Dr. Alexis Zarkov". Of Frank Shannon's 70 motion picture roles, 37 were without on-screen credit.





The audiences watched "Flash", "Dale" and "Dr. Zarkov" attempt to stop the seemingly runaway planet. "Mongo", on a collision course with Earth, but discover it is under the control of "Ming".

As the Chapters proceeded, the three had to deal with "The Tunnel of Terror", being "Captured by Shark Men", facing the "Tournament of Doom", and "The Claws of the Tigron".





FIVE YEARS after Bela Lugosi was "Dracula", the sequel was made and released.

DRACULA'S DAUGHTER released on May 11, 1936.



Note in the upper left of the above poster is:


The reason his name remined with this feature, was that production began and was completed prior to the take-over of "Universal Studios". "Dracula's Daughter" was one of the last films to have the name "Laemmle" associated with it. 

Bram Stoker did not write the first vampire novel and that was the 1819, "The Vampire", by John William Polidori.  In,1872, Irish author, Sheridan Le Fanu wrote the classic "Carmilla".

Although, Stoker's, "Dracula's Guest", is credited as the basis for "Dracula's Daughter", and has a female vampire and a large wolf. Many film historians believe the source is really "Carmilla". As the Bram Stoker short story was really part of the original manuscript for "Dracula", but his publisher removed it to shorten the novel as unrelated to the main story line. 

Whereas, "Carmilla", is about a Lesbian vampire and even after the "Hayes Office" did its work on the screenplay. So is "Dracula's Daughter"!

About that Screenplay:

Garrett Fort has the on-screen credit, but to get to that final version is a trip.

It started with "MGM's" David O. Selznick who negotiated a contract in 1933 with Bram Stoker's widow, Florence, for "Dracula's Guest". The project never went any further and "Universal Pictures" purchased the rights from "MGM" in October 1934, or perhaps it might have been as late as September 1935. However, if a movie wasn't in production by October 1935, those rights reverted back to "MGM". The date was agreed changed to February 1936, and a start on the production was rushed.

However, this is just one part of the story. Back in 1933, David O. Selznick hired John L. Balderston to write a screenplay. Balderston tied up the loose ends from "Universal Pictures", 1931, "Dracula".   "Van Helsing" returns to "Castle Dracula" and destroys the three vampire brides, but overlooks a hidden tomb containing "Dracula's Daughter". She follows "Van Helsing" back to London under the name of the "Countess Szekelska" and attacks a young aristocrat. His fiancée, with "Van Helsing", track the vampire back to Transylvania and destroy her. This screenplay was submitted in January 1934 to Selznick.

Balderston's screenplay went to "Universal Pictures" with the "MGM" rights. 

In July 1935, R.C. Sherriff started a rewrite of John L. Balderston's screenplay and submitted it to the "Universal Executives" on September 5, 1935. Joseph Breen returned it as being very offensive and Sherriff resubmitted a second draft, on October 21, 1935. Breen still objected to some scenes set in the 14th Century with "Dracula". A third Sherriff draft was submitted on October 24, 1935 and still rejected. R.C. Sherriff once again worked on a draft of the screenplay and his fourth draft was submitted on November 10, 1935.

On January 14, 1936, producer E.M. Asher informed Joseph Breen the R.C. Sherriff screenplay will not be used at all and Garrett Fort was writing a completely new screenplay. It was submitted in February 1936, but had scenes rewritten by Charles Belden and was resubmitted and finally approved in March 1936.

The motion picture was Directed by Lambert Hillyer.

Otto Kruger portrayed "Dr. Jeffrey Garth". Kruger started on-screen acting in 1915. Among his films would be Director Alfred Hitchcock's 1942, "Saboteur", the Dick Powell, Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley, 1944, Raymond Chandler detective mystery, "Murder My Sweet", and 1952's, "High Noon", starring Gary Copper and Grace Kelly.

Gloria Holden portrayed "Countess Marya Zaleska". This was her third motion picture and Holden followed it with fourth billing in 1937's, "The Life of Emile Zola".