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directed by Erle C. Kenton

US 1944

 

In many ways the most endearing of Universal's B-grade "monster rallies" of the 1940s, House of Frankenstein manages within its 70-minute time span to make room for Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula (John Carradine) the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.), and a couple of new recruits, mad scientist Boris Karloff and demented hunchback J. Carroll Naish. Escaping from prison, Karloff vows to continue his diabolical efforts to emulate Dr. Frankenstein's "eternal life" experiments; he also swears vengeance on the three men (Sig Ruman, Frank Reicher and Michael Mark) who were responsible for sending him to prison. With the help of fellow escapee Naish, Karloff murders a travelling-carnival impresario (George Zucco) and assumes his identity. He travels first to the village where Ruman is burgomaster. Since his carnival is a "chamber of horrors", Karloff utilizes one of those horrors--Count Dracula--to settle his account with Ruman. Dracula does so, but dies when the first rays of sunlight stream across his body. En route to the next village, Naish gives shelter to runaway gypsy girl Elena Verdugo, who joins the caravan (though she remains incredibly naive concerning Karloff's intentions!) Coming to the village when the Frankenstein monster and the Wolfman were presumably drowned at the end of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1944), Karloff revives the latter, who when he's not baying at the moon is the comparatively good-looking Lawrence Talbot. Karloff secures Talbot's cooperation by promising to perform some brain surgery that will relieve him of his lycanthropy. Later on, Karloff kidnaps and kills his other enemies Mark and Reicher, intending to use their brains to cure Talbot and to reactivate the Frankenstein monster. Jealous of Verdugo's attentions towards Talbot, Naish rebels against Karloff, and is killed for his troubles. Talbot turns into the Wolfman, whereupon Verdugo kills him before expiring herself. And Karloff, rendered immobile by the requisite attack of angry villagers, is dragged by the lumbering Monster into a pit of quicksand. Thus House of Frankenstein has something in common with Hamlet: No one is left alive at fade-out time. It's to scenarist Robert Siodmak's credit that he was able to fashion a coherent screenplay out of the crazy-quilt of copyrighted horror characters handed to him by Universal Pictures.

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Theatrical Release: December 1st, 1944

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DVD Review: Elephant Films - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution

Elephant Films

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:07:34 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.81 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby; French Dolby
Subtitles French, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Elephant Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
Frankenstein par Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Le Film Par Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Galerie Photos
5 Bands-Announces

Advert booklet (in French)

DVD Release Date: October 21st, 2015
Transparent Keep case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 12

Elephant Films in France have been bringing many classic Universal Horrors with Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff to REGION FREE Blu-ray for the first time.

 

Revenge of the Creature (1955) Blu-ray

House of Dracula (1945) Blu-ray Werewolf of London (1935) Blu-ray Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) Blu-ray Son of Frankenstein (1956) Blu-ray

On DVD from Elephant Films

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Son of Dracula (1943) She-Wolf of London (1946) Werewolf of London (1935) The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

 

 

 

Comments

House of Frankenstein is stacked with monsters, a mesmerized babe, a mad scientists-type, his hunchback lackey and less tolerant villagers carrying torches. It's nirvana for Universal vintage horror fans. Helmed by Erle C. Kenton (Island of Lost Souls) it has good pace and is rich with the mood we love.

The dual-layered SD transfer with solid bitrate looks excellent - adept contrast and consistent grain are hallmarks of this video quality. Exceptionally clean and impressive indeed for the lower format.

Lossy Dolby audio in both original English or a French DUB. There are optional French subtitles (and they are removable) and the score by Hans J. Salter (Man Without a Star, Cover Up, The Wolfman, The Mole People) and Paul Dessau sounds supportive, dramatic and atmospheric. It is in the sped-up PAL standard and is region free.

Extras include some discussion in French by Jean-Pierre Dionnet about both Frankenstein and another on this particular film but neither are English-friendly (no subs). There is a photos gallery and 5 trailers of films from this collection.

This title hasn't made it to Blu-ray from Elephant films, but it was a must-own for moi. Not quite in the league of Son of Frankenstein, but I thoroughly enjoyed the tale.... I'm probably going to have to get all of them now - just too addictive.

  - Gary Tooze


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

     

 

Distribution

Elephant Films

Region 0 - PAL

Elephant Films in France have been bringing many classic Universal Horrors with Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff to REGION FREE Blu-ray for the first time.

 

Revenge of the Creature (1955) Blu-ray

House of Dracula (1945) Blu-ray Werewolf of London (1935) Blu-ray Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) Blu-ray Son of Frankenstein (1956) Blu-ray

On DVD from Elephant Films

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Son of Dracula (1943) She-Wolf of London (1946) Werewolf of London (1935) The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

 



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