The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi


The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) Poster

Dr. Frankenstein's plans to replace the brain of his monster are hijacked by his scheming and malevolent assistant Ygor.


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17 May 2004 | bsmith5552
6
| You Can't Keep a Good Monster Down!
"The Ghost of Frankenstein" was the fourth film in Universal's Frankenstein series. Although both the budget and running time had been cut back, it nevertheless remains an entertaining film.

The story picks up following the ending of "Son of Frankenstein" (1939) where the monster and his friend Ygor had apparently perished. Not so. You can't keep a good monster down these days. The villagers (including Dwight Frye) plan to destroy what is left of Frankenstein's castle. As they prepare to blow it up Ygor (Bela Lugosi) is spotted on the castle walls. He had been keeping a vigil over the spot where the monster was believed to have perished.

The explosion reveals the monster (Lon Chaney Jr.) to be alive. Ygor spirits him away just in time and takes him to the village of Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke), the second Frankenstein son. The monster takes a liking to a little girl Cloestine Hussman (Janet Ann Gallow) but kills two villagers who try to rescue her. The monster is overpowered and arrested. A trial ensues and the prosecutor Erik Ernst (Ralph Bellamy) tries to find out who and what the monster is. Dr. Frankenstein testifies that he does not know the monster. This sends the monster into a rage and he escapes with Ygor.

Ygor takes the monster to Frankenstein's home and convinces the doctor to help restore the monster to his former strength. Meanwhile his daughter Elsa (Evelyn Ankers) discovers her father's papers and we are shown in a flashback to the original film, how the monster was created. Frankenstein decides that the only thing to do is to destroy the monster.

His father's ghost (i.e. the "Ghost" of the title also played by Hardwicke) appears to him and suggests that giving the monster a new brain would be a better solution. Frankenstein agrees and wants to use the brain of a colleague whom the monster has just murdered. But Ygor convinces Frankenstein's assistant Dr. Bohmer (Lionel Atwill) otherwise and......

Chaney plays the monster as a total mute and shows little emotion except when the little girl is involved. It would be Chaney's only appearance as the monster. Hardwicke lacks the passion of Colin Clive in the two first installments which weakens his performance. Atwill who had played the police inspector in the previous film is suitably sinister as the mad doctor who joins with Ygor. Lugosi again turns in an excellent performance as the evil Ygor. Ankers lets go with a couple of her patented ear splitting screams. Bellamy has little to do as Ankers' love interest and prosecutor.

Oddly enough, even though Colin Clive (who died in 1937) is clearly seen in the flashback sequence as Henry Frankenstein, it is also clearly Hardwicke portraying Henry's "Ghost". Dwight Frye also seen in the flashback, has a small role as a villager at the beginning of the film.

Although the ending is a little over the top, the film is still pretty good thanks to its excellent cast of veteran performers.

Followed by "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" (1943) in which Lugosi plays the monster.

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