The Wolf Man (1941)

The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………

The Wolf Man Movie Review

The Wolf Man is a 1941 horror film directed by George Waggner and starring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr. It is such a good, really well crafted film.

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I believe a man lost in the mazes of his own mind may imagine that he’s anything

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
This is the kind of film that is so effective at telling its admittedly simplistic story. And even though its simplicity was a problem to me as well as its tendency to just give us the obvious in terms of plot points and ending, I still enjoyed the movie a lot as that plot was so well crafted. Not a single scene is wasted here owing to such a good editing as well.
 
I loved the opening scene with that castle shot being breathtaking. I liked the introduction of Gwen and the relationship between the two was great. All of the forest scenes were so effective as they possessed some awesome cinematography and imagery. The transformation sequence is one of the highlights, so well done. And even though I didn’t particularly like the conclusion, it was still far from bad or abrupt.

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
The Wolf Man features some pretty good characterization for a horror flick and Larry is such a well developed protagonist and such a tortured soul that you certainly root for him. I also really liked his father and Claude Rains gave such a good performance. Lon Chaney Jr. is so good in this role and even though his father was most certainly a better actor, he came close here with such a subtle, emotional and complex performance.
 
I really liked the gypsies here and that mystic element in its plot was great and fitting. The film is fueled with that awesome mysterious and ominous quality to it that I really enjoyed. However, it definitely lacks in terms of the actual scares as there aren’t any to be had here. And even the atmosphere isn’t as great as I hoped it would be. Yes, the technicalities are great, but the atmosphere itself felt disappointing to me.
 
The Wolf Man features some terrific shots and it is so well filmed and its intense forest scenes are perfectly accentuated by fog and right camera angles. The make-up is also great as are the effects, especially for its time. But the appearance of the werewolf itself was disappointing as it felt dated to me and not at all scary. But at least the transformation is superbly done.

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
The direction, the score as well as the dialogue are all pretty good and I liked the slow build-up here. It may seem slow to some, but to me it was essential and effective. The running time is short, but the film fulfills it with everything you need basically and it is so entertaining and never uninvolving. I also really adored its emotional investment as it is so heartbreaking at times. It is also realistic in the people’s reactions and even funny in some very clever moments with the townsfolk. I liked the various discussions about werewolves and the film is so clever and sophisticated in tackling this subject matter in a very grounded in reality manner. In the end, The Wolf Man did leave me wanting for more actual horror and some originality, but it is so well crafted and made that you can’t help but enjoy it.

The Wolf Man lacks in terms of originality and actual scares, but it executes its story very well as it is so well crafted, edited, directed and of course acted. The imagery is so effective, the characterization is surprisingly good and it is also pleasantly emotional, realistic and above all always engaging, entertaining and just so superbly made that you can’t help but appreciate it.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1940s, 1941, FILM DECADES, Horror, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , .

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