Day 13: My favorite of the classic Universal monsters, The Wolf Man, was released in 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr. Lawrence Talbot, having returned home to Wales, enjoys an evening out with performances by a traveling gypsy caravan. A gypsy girl is attacked by a wolf an Lawrence goes to her aid, killing the wolf, but being bit in the fight. As it turns out, the creature was not a mere wolf, but one of the other gypsies, cursed with lycanthropy. Lycanthropy is the supernatural transformation of man in wolf or hybrid. In most folklore, it is a curse, being a involuntary and often extremely painful shift usually brought on by the full moon. The curse can be transferred through bite.
So here is poor Larry Talbot, becoming the wolf man and hunting unsuspecting villagers and nobody will believe him. The one who does believe him is a fantastic character, Meleva played by Maria Ouspenskaya. The movie also give us a great score and Chaney reprises the role in many sequels.
The Wolfman was remade in 2010 starring Benicio Del Toro as the lead. I found this to actually be a rather good movie, capturing much of what made the original so good. It’s unfortunate the ending was kind of goofy and didn’t seem to fit.
“Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
Did you know: The church scenes were shot on the old “Hunchback of Notre Dame” set where Chaney’s father had played Quasimodo in 1923.