Son of Frankenstein/Ghost of Frankenstein [DVD]

Universal originally produced special edition DVDs of their classic horror movies , including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Mummy. For the sequels to most of these films, Universal decided to include two full-length features for the price of one on each disc. After The Bride of Frankenstein came two more sequels: 1939's Son of Frankenstein, with Boris Karloff in the role with which he will forever be identified, and 1942's Ghost of Frankenstein with Lon Chaney Jr. filling in as the Monster. Both transfers for these films are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. With the age of these films, the excessive amount of grain, nicks, and scratches on the prints is to be expected. However, even with these imperfections, the image quality is very good for movies well over 50 years old. Black-and-white levels show some fading, but overall the images look very good. Audio is presented in Dolby 2.0 Mono on both Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein. Dialogue is usually clear with some distortion throughout the movie. Music and effects sometimes blur in and out, but once again, with the age of these films, distortion and hiss are to be expected. English, French, and Spanish audio tracks in Dolby Mono are available on both features, as are Spanish and French subtitles. Unlike the previous releases, the double feature of Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein comes with very few supplemental materials. Both Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein feature some production notes about the making of the films, as well as some cast and film information. Ghost of Frankenstein also features a full-frame scratchy theatrical trailer that is a lot of fun to watch. Though the extra material is slim on this disc, the fact that viewers get two movies for the price of one certainly makes up for it.
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Overview

Special Features

  • "The Ghost of Frankenstein" trailer
  • Production notes
  • Cast and filmmakers

Synopsis

The Ghost of Frankenstein
Universal's "Frankenstein" series descended from the "A" to the "B" category with The Ghost of Frankenstein, though production values were still well above average and the cast is first-rate. The story picks up where Son of Frankenstein (1939) left off, with both the Monster (Lon Chaney Jr.) and his crazed companion Igor the shepherd (Bela Lugosi) being chased out of the village of Frankenstein by the irate citizens (actually both Monster and Igor had been killed at the end of Son of Frankenstein, but that's neither here nor there). The gruesome twosome head to the tiny Balkan community where dwells the son (Sir Cedric Hardwycke) of the original Dr. F. At the urgings of both Igor and the disgraced Doctor Bohmer (Lionel Atwill), Frankenstein Jr. is coerced into repeating his father's experiment of placing a fresh brain in the head of the monster. Seeking vengeance against his enemies, Igor wants to have his own brain grafted into the Monster's skull, but the big lug himself has other ideas: having befriended cute little Cloestine (Janet Ann Gallow), the only person in the village who doesn't fear him, the Monster insists upon receiving Cloestine's brain. In the end, however, Dr. Frankenstein goes with Igor's graymatter-and the result is disaster for practically everyone in the cast. Highlights of this 68-minute scarefest include Lionel Atwill's outraged reaction when he is reminded of the "slight miscalculation" that ruined his medical career, and the uncredited appearances of several "Frankenstein" movie veterans, including Dwight Frye, Holmes Herbert and Lionel Belmore. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Son of Frankenstein
The most elaborate--and longest--of Universal's Frankenstein series, Son of Frankenstein represents Boris Karloff's last appearance in the role of the Monster. The title character is played by Basil Rathbone, who with wife Josephine Hutchinson and son Donnie Donegan returns to the Old Country to take over his late father's estate. Rathbone receives a cool reception from the local villagers, who remember all too well the havoc wreaked by his father's monstrous creation. Though he assures his neighbors that he has no intention of following in his father's footsteps, Rathbone is hounded by suspicious town constable Lionel Atwill, whose stiff artificial arm is an unfortunate legacy of an earlier confrontation with Karloff. Also hanging around Frankenstein Castle is crazed shepherd Bela Lugosi), whose neck was broken in an unsuccessful hanging attempt. Lugosi wishes to exact revenge on the city fathers who'd tried to execute him, and to that end persuades Rathbone to revive the hideous Karloff. At first resistant, Rathbone becomes as obsessed as his father with the notion of creating artificial life. Now the fun begins, directed with Germanic intensity by Rowland V. Lee. Though Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein has rendered Son of Frankenstein virtually impossible to take seriously, the film remains an excellent marriage of the slick, sanitized production values of the "New Universal" and the Gothic zeitgeist of the earlier Frankenstein epics. Best line: Lugosi, looking over the dormant body of The Monster, explains raspily that "He does...things...for me." Hans J. Salter's intense musical score for Son of Frankenstein would continue to resurface in Universal's Mummy B pictures of the 1940s. Watch for Ward Bond in a bit part as a police officer...and see if you can spot Dwight Frye, whose supporting part was excised from the final release print, among the villagers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Lon Chaney, Jr. - Monster
  • Cedric Hardwicke
    Cedric Hardwicke - Frankenstein
  • Ralph Bellamy
    Ralph Bellamy - Erik Ernst
  • Lionel Atwill
    Lionel Atwill - Dr. Theodor Bohmer
  • Bela Lugosi
    Bela Lugosi - Ygor
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