Before Universal’s “The Wolf Man” from 1941, the studio had originally explored the werewolf subject with “Werewolf of London” in 1935. For a long time this film was widely overlooked and underrated.
Starring: Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
Directed by: Stuart Walker
Ratings: Internet Movie Data Base; 6.4/10 …Rotten Tomatoes; 77%
Our Rating; 7.5/10
Werewolf of London (1935). The movie opens in Tibet under the light of a brilliant full moon. Dr. Wilfred Glendon is in search of a mysterious flower which grows only in this location and draws it’s life from the light of the moon.
While trekking through the rocky terrain of the mountains it’s apparent that strange forces are at play.
The Dr. discovers his plant but is immediately attacked by some unknown beast and of coarse, bitten.
Back in England Glendon is approached by a Dr. Yogami who explains that they have indeed already met while he was in Tibet and goes on to tell that the rare flower which uncannily grows in the moonlight is also a antidote for werewolfery!
A Beast Emerges…
Soon Glendon begins to notice a change for the worse and hastens to use his flowers as a remedy but alas, the flowers have been cut and taken!
A werewolf begins to prowl the fog-thick streets of London. It’s howls being heard by the terrified citizens.
A murder takes place, then another. Meanwhile a deadly jealousy is building within Glendon toward his wife and a past love.
Tragedy is sure to follow for, “A werewolf will instinctively seek to kill those he loves the most…”
An effective original piece with very good cinematography from the beginning and including the transformation scenes. The werewolf make-up is comparatively minimal but cleverly done and while not being as elaborate as later designs still conveys the intent.
Good use of humor toward the end of the film between two elderly land ladies trying to outwit one another while befuddled with drink.
Music score is done excellently for it’s time, with the only drawback being that the film is somewhat slow in it’s dinner party scenes. Apparently it also lacked the benefit of having a familar star like Karloff or Lugosi as the leading man.
Maybe it is this which caused the film to be largely overlooked.
Werewolf of London from 1935 is a great offering of early horror. Anyone with an interest in werewolf films should definitely check out this initial feature of the genre. And, as with all of the films reviewed here, those with a love for early cinema would do well to experience this piece.
Any comments? Likes and dislikes? Please feel free to write them in the space below. Thanks very much for reading. Jamie