The Mummy (1932 film)
The Mummy is a 1932 American pre-Code horror film directed by Karl Freund. The screenplay by John L. Balderston was from a story by Nina Wilcox Richard Schayer. Released by Universal Studios, the film stars Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan and Arthur Byron; the film is about an ancient Egyptian mummy named Imhotep, discovered by a team of archeologists and inadvertently brought back to life through a magic scroll. Disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy searches for his lost love, who he believes has been reincarnated into a modern girl. In 1921, an archaeological expedition led by Sir Joseph Whemple finds the mummy of an ancient Egyptian high priest named Imhotep; when an inspection of the mummy by Whemple's friend Dr. Muller reveals that the viscera were not removed, Muller deduces that although Imhotep had been wrapped like a traditional mummy, he had been buried alive. Buried with Imhotep is a casket with a curse on it. Despite Muller's warning, Sir Joseph's assistant Ralph Norton opens it.
He reads aloud an ancient life-giving scroll, the "Scroll of Thoth". Imhotep rises, the sight of which snaps Norton’s mind and causes him to laugh hysterically, as the Mummy shuffles off with the scroll. Ten years Imhotep is masquerading as a modern Egyptian named Ardath Bey, he calls upon Sir Joseph's son Frank and Professor Pearson and shows them where to dig to find the tomb of the princess Ankh-es-en-amon. After locating the tomb, the archaeologists present its treasures to the Cairo Museum and thank Bey for making their discovery possible, it is further revealed that Imhotep's horrific death was punishment for sacrilege: attempting to resurrect his forbidden lover, Princess Ankh-es-en-amon. Imhotep soon encounters Helen Grosvenor, a half-Egyptian woman bearing a striking resemblance to the princess. Believing her to be Ankh-es-en-amon's reincarnation, he attempts to kill her, with the intention of mummifying her, resurrecting her, making her his bride. Helen is rescued when she remembers her ancestral past life and prays to the goddess Isis to come to her aid.
The statue of Isis emits a flash that sets the Scroll of Thoth on fire. This breaks the spell. At the urging of Dr. Muller, Frank calls Helen back to the world of the living while the Scroll of Thoth continues to burn. In credits orderBoris Karloff as Ardath Bey / Imhotep / The Mummy Zita Johann as Helen Grosvenor / Princess Ankh-es-en-Amon David Manners as Frank Whemple Arthur Byron as Sir Joseph Whemple Edward Van Sloan as Dr. Muller Bramwell Fletcher as Ralph Norton Noble Johnson as The Nubian Kathryn Byron as Frau Muller Leonard Mudie as Professor Pearson James Crane as Pharaoh Amenophis Henry Victor as The Saxon Warrior. C. Montague Shaw as Gentleman Inspired by the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 and the Curse of the Pharaohs, producer Carl Laemmle Jr. commissioned story editor Richard Schayer to find a literary novel to form a basis for an Egyptian-themed horror film, just as the novels Dracula and Frankenstein informed their 1931 films Dracula and Frankenstein. Schayer found none although the plot bears a strong resemblance to a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle entitled "The Ring of Thoth".
Schayer and writer Nina Wilcox Putnam learned about Alessandro Cagliostro and wrote a nine-page treatment entitled Cagliostro. The story, set in San Francisco, was about a 3,000-year-old magician who survives by injecting nitrates. Laemmle was pleased with these ideas, he hired John L. Balderston to write the script. Balderston had contributed to Dracula and Frankenstein, had covered the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb for New York World when he was a journalist so he was more than familiar with the popular tomb unearthing. Balderston moved the story to Egypt and renamed the film and its title character Imhotep, after the historical architect, he changed the story from one of revenge upon all the women who resembled the main character's ex-lover to one where the main character is determined to revive his old love by killing and mummifying her reincarnated self before resurrecting her with the spell of the Scroll of Thoth. Balderston invented the Scroll of Thoth. Thoth was the wisest of the Egyptian gods who, when Osiris died, helped Isis bring her love back from the dead.
Thoth is believed to have authored The Book of the Dead, which may have been the inspiration for Balderston's Scroll of Thoth. Another source of inspiration is the fictional Book of Thoth that appeared in several ancient Egyptian stories. Karl Freund, the cinematographer on Dracula, was hired to direct, making this his first film in the United States as a director. Freund had been the cinematographer on Fritz Lang's Metropolis and photographed the television series I Love Lucy; the film was retitled The Mummy. Freund cast Zita Johann, who believed in reincarnation, named her character'Ankh-es-en-Amon' after the only wife of Pharaoh Tutankhamun; the real Ankhesenamon's body had not been discovered in the tomb of King Tut and her resting place was unknown. Her name, would not have been unknown to the general public. Filming was scheduled for three weeks. Karloff's first day was spent shooting the Mummy's awakening from his sarcophagus. Make-up artist Jack Pierce had studied photos of Seti I's mummy to design Imhotep.
Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi, known professionally as Maila Nurmi, was a Finnish-American actress and television personality who created the campy 1950s character Vampira. The daughter of a Finnish immigrant, Nurmi was raised in Oregon and relocated to Los Angeles in 1940 with hopes of being an actress. After several minor film roles, she found success in the Vampira character, television's first horror host. Nurmi hosted her own series, The Vampira Show, from 1954-55 on KABC-TV. After the show's cancellation, she appeared in the Ed Wood cult film Plan 9 from Outer Space, she is billed as Vampira in the 1959 film, The Beat Generation, where she appears out of character and instead plays a beatnik poet. She appeared in the crime film The Big Operator, she was portrayed by Lisa Marie in Tim Burton's Oscar-winning 1994 biopic Ed Wood. Maila Nurmi was born Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi in 1922 to Onni Syrjäniemi, a Finnish immigrant, Sophia, an American, her place of birth is disputed: According to biographer W. Scott Poole in Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror, Nurmi was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
However, during her career, Nurmi claimed to have been born in Petsamo, claiming she was the niece of Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi, who began setting long-distance running world records in 1921, the year before her birth. Public U. S. immigration records show her father's immigration at Ellis Island in 1910. Additionally, Dana Gould claimed in a 2014 public interview that he had seen Nurmi's birth certificate, which listed her birthplace as Gloucester, Massachusetts. During her childhood, Nurmi relocated with her family from Massachusetts to Ashtabula, before settling in Astoria, Oregon, a city on the Oregon Coast with a large Finnish community, her father worked as a lecturer and editor, her mother worked as a part-time journalist and translator to support the family. She graduated from Astoria High School in 1940. In 1940, Nurmi relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career, in New York City, she modeled for Alberto Vargas, Bernard of Hollywood, Man Ray, gaining a foothold in the film industry with an uncredited role in Victor Saville's 1947 film, If Winter Comes.
She was fired in 1944 by Mae West from the cast of West's Broadway play, Catherine Was Great, because West feared she was being upstaged. On Broadway, she gained much attention after appearing in the horror-themed midnight show Spook Scandals, in which she screamed, lay in a coffin, seductively lurked about a mock cemetery, she worked as a showgirl for the Earl Carroll Theatre and as a high-kicking chorus line dancer at the Florentine Gardens along with stripper Lili St. Cyr. In the 1950s, she supported herself by posing for pin-up photos in men's magazines such as Famous Models and Glamorous Models. Before landing her role as'Vampira', she was working as a hat-check girl in a cloakroom on Hollywood's Sunset Strip; the idea for the Vampira character was born in 1953 when Nurmi attended choreographer Lester Horton's annual Bal Caribe Masquerade in a costume inspired by Morticia Addams in The New Yorker cartoons of Charles Addams. Her appearance with pale white skin and tight black dress caught the attention of television producer Hunt Stromberg, Jr. who wanted to hire her to host horror movies on the Los Angeles television station KABC-TV, but Stromberg had no idea how to contact her.
He got her phone number from Rudi Gernreich the designer of the topless swimsuit. The name Vampira was the invention of Dean Riesner. Nurmi's characterization was influenced by the Dragon Lady from the comic strip Terry and the Pirates and the evil queen from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. On April 30, 1954, KABC-TV aired a preview, Dig Me Later, Vampira, at 11:00 p.m. The Vampira Show premiered on the following night, May 1, 1954. For the first four weeks, the show aired at midnight, moving to 11:00 p.m. on May 29. Ten months the series aired at 10:30 p.m. beginning March 5, 1955. Each show opened with Vampira gliding down a dark corridor flooded with dry-ice fog. At the end of her trance-like walk, the camera zoomed in on her face as she let out a piercing scream, she would introduce that evening's film while reclining barefoot on a skull-encrusted Victorian couch. Her horror-related comedy antics included ghoulish puns such as encouraging viewers to write for epitaphs instead of autographs and talking to her pet spider Rollo.
She ran as a candidate for Night Mayor of Hollywood with a platform of "dead issues". In another publicity stunt, KABC had her cruise around Hollywood in the back of a chauffeur-driven 1932 Packard touring car with the top down, where she sat, as Vampira, holding a black parasol; the show was an immediate hit, in June 1954 she appeared as Vampira in a horror-themed comedy skit on The Red Skelton Show along with Béla Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr.. That same week Life magazine ran an article on her, including a photo-spread of her show-opening entrance and scream. A kinescope of her Red Skelton Show appearance was discovered in 2014, it is available. When her KABC series was cancelled in 1955, Nurmi retained rights to the character of Vampira and took the show to a competing Los Angeles television station, KHJ-TV. Several episode scripts and a single promotional kinescope of Nurmi re-creating some of her macabre comedy segments are held by private collectors. Several clips from the rare kinescope are included in the documentaries American Scary and Vampira: The Movie.
The entire KABC kinescope, plus selections of the KABC pitchman who introduced the clips, is available in the 2012 documentary Vampira and Me. Vampira and Me featur
Edward Davis Wood Jr. was an American filmmaker and author. In the 1950s, Wood directed low-budget films in the science fiction and horror genres, intercutting stock footage. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime and sex novels. In 1975, he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time, renewing public interest in his work. Following the publication of Rudolph Grey's 1992 oral biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. a biopic of his life, Ed Wood was directed by Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp as Wood, the film received two Academy Awards. Wood's father, Edward Sr. worked for the U. S. Postal Service as a custodian, his family relocated numerous times around the United States, they settled in Poughkeepsie, New York, where Ed Wood Jr. was born in 1924. According to Wood's second wife, Kathy O'Hara, Wood's mother Lillian would dress him in girl's clothing when he was a child because she had always wanted a daughter.
For the rest of his life, Wood crossdressed. During his childhood, Wood was interested in pulp fiction, he collected comics and pulp magazines, adored movies Westerns and anything involving the occult. Buck Jones and Bela Lugosi were two of his earliest childhood idols, he would skip school in favor of watching pictures at the local movie theater, where stills from the day's movie would be thrown in the trash by theater staff, allowing Wood to salvage them to add to his extensive collection. On his 12th birthday, in 1936, Wood received as a gift his first movie camera, a Kodak "Cine Special". One of his first pieces of footage, one that imbued him with pride, showed the airship Hindenburg passing over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, shortly before its disastrous crash at Lakehurst, New Jersey. One of Wood's first paid jobs was as a cinema usher, he sang and played drums in a band, he fronted a singing quartet called "Eddie Wood's Little Splinters", having learned to play a variety of string instruments.
In 1942, Wood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, just months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the 2nd Defense Battalions, he reached the rank of corporal, he was involved in the Battle of Tarawa, among others, during the entire war, he lost his two front teeth to a Japanese soldier's rifle butt and was shot several times in the leg by a Japanese machine gunner. Wood claimed that he feared being wounded in battle more than he feared being killed because he was afraid a combat medic would discover his secret due to wearing a bra and panties under his uniform during the Battle of Tarawa. In 1947, Wood moved to Hollywood, where he wrote scripts and directed television pilots and several forgotten micro-budget westerns with names such as Crossroads of Laredo and Crossroad Avenger: The Legend of the Tucson Kid. In 1948, Wood wrote, produced and starred in Casual Company, a play derived from his unpublished novel, based on his service in the United States Marine Corps, it opened at the Village Playhouse to negative reviews on October 25.
In 1952, Wood was introduced to actor Bela Lugosi by friend and fellow writer-producer Alex Gordon, Wood's roommate at the time, who went on to help create American International Pictures. Lugosi's son, Bela Lugosi Jr. has been among those who felt Wood exploited the senior Lugosi's stardom, taking advantage of the fading actor when he could not refuse any work, while most documents and interviews with other Wood associates in Nightmare of Ecstasy suggest that Wood and Lugosi were genuine friends and that Wood helped Lugosi through the worst days of his depression and addiction. Lugosi had become dependent on morphine as a way of controlling his debilitating sciatica over the years, was in a horrendous physical state. Wood billed himself including Ann Gora and Akdov Telmig. In 1953 Wood directed the semi-documentary film Glen or Glenda with producer George Weiss; the film starred Wood, his girlfriend Dolores Fuller, Lugosi as the god-like narrator. In 1954, Wood directed and produced a crime film, Jail Bait, along with co-writer Alex Gordon, which starred Lyle Talbot and Steve Reeves.
Bela Lugosi was supposed to play the lead role of the plastic surgeon, but was busy working on another film project when filming started and had to bow out. In 1955 Wood produced and directed the horror film Bride of the Monster, based on an original story idea by Alex Gordon which he called The Atomic Monster, it starred Bela Lugosi, Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson, Loretta King. In 1956 Wood produced and directed the science fiction film Plan 9 from Outer Space, which starred Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Tom Mason, the Amazing Criswell as the film's narrator. Plan 9 premiered at a small screening in 1957, was only released theatrically under the title Plan Nine from Outer Space in 1959, was sold to late night television in 1961, thereby finding its audience over the years, it became Wood's best-known film an
Femme Fatales (magazine)
Femme Fatales is an American men's magazine focusing on film and television actresses. Femme Fatales was founded by Frederick S. Clarke in the summer of 1992, as the sister publication of his science fiction film magazine Cinefantastique. Published by Clarke, it was edited by pin-up photography collector and expert Bill George. Cinefantanstique contributor Dan Cziraky joined the staff as Associate Editor several months prior to its launch, it focused on science-fiction and horror actresses, from B-movies to Academy Award winners, featuring provocative non-nude photography pictorials, alongside extensive career interviews. It was unique in that it encouraged contributions from the actresses themselves, featured articles penned by "scream queens" Brinke Stevens, Tina-Desiree Berg and Debbie Rochon, amongst others. Interviews with filmmakers that helped bolster the "scream queen" market, such as Andy Sidaris and Fred Olen Ray, were featured, it was a publishing success, at one time producing an issue every three weeks.
Cziraky left the magazine in 1994 over creative differences with George, was replaced as Associate Editor by Rochon. Clarke committed suicide in 2000, for two years, both magazines were published by his widow, Celeste Casey Clarke. At the end of 2002, Femme Fatales was published bi-monthly, had an unaudited circulation of 70,000. In 2002, Clarke contacted Mark A. Altman, the president and chief operating officer of Mindfire Entertainment, a film/TV writer and producer, the former editor-in-chief of Sci-Fi Universe and a regular contributor to both Cinefantastique and Femme Fatales, allowing Mindfire to take over their publication. David E. Williams, a former executive features editor at The Hollywood Reporter, became editor-in-chief of both publications. Both magazines' operations were moved from Chicago to Culver City. Williams planned the 2003 revamp of Femme Fatales as a version of the men's magazine Maxim focusing on actresses in science fiction and horror films. After a brief hiatus, Mark Gottwald took over publication and Femme Fatales began printing again in at the end of 2007 as a bi-monthly magazine.
The final issue of Femme Fatales was printed in September 2008 and featured Jolene Blalock on the cover. Femme Fatales was purchased by Williams in 2010; the magazine became the basis of the film noir-inspired HBO/Cinemax series Femme Fatales, 13 episodes of which were ordered and began to air on May 13, 2011. On July 15, 2011 it was announced that 13 more episodes of the show have been ordered and were to early 2012. Mark A. Altman is the co-creator and executive producer of the show while Williams is credited as co-executive producer. Cinefantastique
DVD is a digital optical disc storage format invented and developed in 1995. The medium can store any kind of digital data and is used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs. Prerecorded DVDs are mass-produced using molding machines that physically stamp data onto the DVD; such discs are a form of DVD-ROM because data can only be not written or erased. Blank recordable DVD discs can be recorded once using a DVD recorder and function as a DVD-ROM. Rewritable DVDs can be erased many times. DVDs are used in DVD-Video consumer digital video format and in DVD-Audio consumer digital audio format as well as for authoring DVD discs written in a special AVCHD format to hold high definition material. DVDs containing other types of information may be referred to as DVD data discs; the Oxford English Dictionary comments that, "In 1995 rival manufacturers of the product named digital video disc agreed that, in order to emphasize the flexibility of the format for multimedia applications, the preferred abbreviation DVD would be understood to denote digital versatile disc."
The OED states that in 1995, "The companies said the official name of the format will be DVD. Toshiba had been using the name ‘digital video disc’, but, switched to ‘digital versatile disc’ after computer companies complained that it left out their applications.""Digital versatile disc" is the explanation provided in a DVD Forum Primer from 2000 and in the DVD Forum's mission statement. There were several formats developed for recording video on optical discs before the DVD. Optical recording technology was invented by David Paul Gregg and James Russell in 1958 and first patented in 1961. A consumer optical disc data format known as LaserDisc was developed in the United States, first came to market in Atlanta, Georgia in 1978, it used much larger discs than the formats. Due to the high cost of players and discs, consumer adoption of LaserDisc was low in both North America and Europe, was not used anywhere outside Japan and the more affluent areas of Southeast Asia, such as Hong-Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
CD Video released in 1987 used analog video encoding on optical discs matching the established standard 120 mm size of audio CDs. Video CD became one of the first formats for distributing digitally encoded films in this format, in 1993. In the same year, two new optical disc storage formats were being developed. One was the Multimedia Compact Disc, backed by Philips and Sony, the other was the Super Density disc, supported by Toshiba, Time Warner, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Thomson, JVC. By the time of the press launches for both formats in January 1995, the MMCD nomenclature had been dropped, Philips and Sony were referring to their format as Digital Video Disc. Representatives from the SD camp asked IBM for advice on the file system to use for their disc, sought support for their format for storing computer data. Alan E. Bell, a researcher from IBM's Almaden Research Center, got that request, learned of the MMCD development project. Wary of being caught in a repeat of the costly videotape format war between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s, he convened a group of computer industry experts, including representatives from Apple, Sun Microsystems and many others.
This group was referred to as the Technical Working Group, or TWG. On August 14, 1995, an ad hoc group formed from five computer companies issued a press release stating that they would only accept a single format; the TWG voted to boycott both formats unless the two camps agreed on a converged standard. They recruited president of IBM, to pressure the executives of the warring factions. In one significant compromise, the MMCD and SD groups agreed to adopt proposal SD 9, which specified that both layers of the dual-layered disc be read from the same side—instead of proposal SD 10, which would have created a two-sided disc that users would have to turn over; as a result, the DVD specification provided a storage capacity of 4.7 GB for a single-layered, single-sided disc and 8.5 GB for a dual-layered, single-sided disc. The DVD specification ended up similar to Toshiba and Matsushita's Super Density Disc, except for the dual-layer option and EFMPlus modulation designed by Kees Schouhamer Immink.
Philips and Sony decided that it was in their best interests to end the format war, agreed to unify with companies backing the Super Density Disc to release a single format, with technologies from both. After other compromises between MMCD and SD, the computer companies through TWG won the day, a single format was agreed upon; the TWG collaborated with the Optical Storage Technology Association on the use of their implementation of the ISO-13346 file system for use on the new DVDs. Movie and home entertainment distributors adopted the DVD format to replace the ubiquitous VHS tape as the primary consumer digital video distribution format, they embraced DVD as it produced higher quality video and sound, provided superior data lifespan, could be interactive. Interactivity on LaserDiscs had proven desirable to consumers collectors; when LaserDisc prices dropped from $100 per
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear. Inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century; the macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, thriller genres. Horror films aim to evoke viewers' nightmares, fears and terror of the unknown. Plots with in the horror genre involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage into the everyday world. Prevalent elements include ghosts, extraterrestrials, werewolves, Satanism, evil clowns, torture, vicious animals, evil witches, zombies, psychopaths, ecological or man-made disasters, serial killers; some sub-genres of horror film include low-budget horror, action horror, comedy horror, body horror, disaster horror, found footage, holiday horror, horror drama, psychological horror, science fiction horror, supernatural horror, gothic horror, natural horror, zombie horror, disaster films, first-person horror, teen horror.
The first depiction of the supernatural on screen appear in several of the short silent films created by the French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès in the late 1890s. The best known of these early supernatural-based works is the 3-minute short film Le Manoir du Diable known in English as The Haunted Castle or The House of the Devil; the film is sometimes credited as being the first horror film. In The Haunted Castle, a mischievous devil appears inside a medieval castle and harasses the visitors. Méliès' other popular horror film is La Caverne maudite, which translates to "the accursed cave"; the film known for its English title The Cave of the Demons, tells the story of a woman stumbling over a cave, populated by the spirits and skeletons of people who died there. Méliès would make other short films that historians consider now as horror-comedies. Une nuit terrible, which translates to A Terrible Night, tells a story of a man who tries to get a good night's sleep but ends up wrestling a giant spider.
His other film, L'auberge ensorcelée, or The Bewitched Inn, features a story of a hotel guest getting pranked and tormented by an unseen presence. In 1897, the accomplished American photographer-turned director George Albert Smith created The X-Ray Fiend, a horror-comedy that came out a mere two years after x-rays were invented; the film shows a couple of skeletons courting each other. An audience full of people unaccustomed to the idea would have found it frightening and otherworldly; the next year, Smith created the short film Photographing a Ghost, considered a precursor to the paranormal investigation subgenre. The film portrays three men attempting to photograph a ghost, only to fail time and again as the ghost eludes the men and throws chairs at them. Japan made early forays into the horror genre. In 1898, a Japanese film company called Konishi Honten released two horror films both written by Ejiro Hatta. Though there are no records of the cast, crew, or plot of Bake Jizo, it was based on the Japanese legend of Jizo statues, believed to provide safety and protection to children.
The presence of the word bake—which can be translated to "spook," "ghost," or "phantom"—may imply a haunted or possessed statue. Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomón, regarded as one of the most significant silent film directors, was popular for his frequent camera tricks and optical illusions, an innovation that contributed to the popularity of trick films in the period, his famous works include Satan at Play. The Selig Polyscope Company in the United States produced one of the first film adaptations of a horror-based novel. In 1908, the company released Mr. Hyde, now a lost film, it is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic gothic novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, published 15 years prior, about a man who transforms between two contrasting personas. Georges Méliès liked adapting the Faust legend into his films. In fact, the French filmmaker produced at least six variations of the German legend of the man who made a pact with the devil. Among his notable Faust films include Faust aux enfers, known for its English title The Damnation of Faust, or Faust in Hell.
It is the filmmaker's third film adaptation of the Faust legend. In it, Méliès took inspiration from Hector Berlioz's Faust opera, but it pays less attention to the story and more to the special effects that represent a tour of hell; the film takes advantage of stage machinery techniques and features special effects such as pyrotechnics, substitution
The Wolf Man (1941 film)
The Wolf Man is a 1941 American horror film written by Curt Siodmak and produced and directed by George Waggner. The film features Lon Chaney Jr. in the title role, features Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi. The title character has had a great deal of influence on Hollywood's depictions of the legend of the werewolf; the film is the second Universal Pictures werewolf film, preceded six years earlier by the less commercially successful Werewolf of London. Lon Chaney Jr. would reprise his classic role as "The Wolf Man" in four sequels, beginning with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943. Sometime in the early twentieth century, after learning of the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns to his ancestral home in Llanwelly, Wales to reconcile with his estranged father, Sir John Talbot. While there, Larry becomes romantically interested in a local girl named Gwen Conliffe, who runs an antique shop; as a pretext to converse with her, he purchases a silver-headed walking stick decorated with a wolf.
Gwen tells him that it represents a werewolf Throughout the film, various villagers recite a poem, whenever the subject of werewolves comes up: Even a man, pure in heart, says his prayers by night. That night, Larry attempts to rescue Gwen's friend Jenny from what he believes to be a sudden wolf attack, he is bitten on the chest in the process. A gypsy fortuneteller named Maleva reveals to Larry that the animal which bit him was her son Bela in the form of a wolf, she reveals that Larry will transform into a wolf as well since he, bitten by a werewolf and lives will turn into one himself. Talbot transforms into a wolf-like creature and stalks the village, first killing the local gravedigger. Talbot retains vague memories of being a werewolf and wanting to kill, continually struggles to overcome his condition, he is bludgeoned to death by his father with his own silver walking stick after attacking Gwen. Sir John Talbot watches in horror. Gwen cries for her friend's condition as the local police arrive on the scene.
The poem, contrary to popular belief, was not an ancient legend, but was in fact an invention of screenwriter Siodmak. The poem is repeated in every subsequent film in which Talbot/The Wolf Man appears, with the exception of House of Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, is quoted in the film Van Helsing, although many films change the last line of the poem to "And the moon is full and bright". In episode 944 of Dark Shadows, Christopher Pennock recites this version of the poem; the original Wolf Man film does not make use of the idea that a werewolf is transformed under a full moon. Gwen's description and the poem imply; the first sequel, made explicit use of the full moon both visually and in the dialog, changed the poem to specify when the moon is full and bright. This is what popularized the full-moon connection in the 20th century; the sequel visually implies that the transformation occurs as a result of direct exposure to light from the full moon. Other fiction has assumed the transformation is an inescapable monthly occurrence and does not examine whether it is caused by light, tidal effects, or some cycle that happens to coincide with the moon's phases.
In the original film, Chaney did not undergo an on-screen facial transformation from man to wolf, as featured in all sequels. The lap-dissolve progressive make-ups were seen only in the final ten minutes, discreetly. In the first transformation, Talbot removes his shoes and socks and it is his feet which are seen to grow hairy and become huge paws. In the final scene, the werewolf does return to Larry Talbot's human form through the standard technique. Stories about the make-up and transformation scenes have become legendary, are apocryphal; the transformation of Chaney from man into monster was laborious. The series of makeups took five to six hours to apply, an hour to remove. Jack Pierce had designed it for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London but Hull argued that the disguise made no sense within the plot, since two characters had to recognize "Dr. Glendon" in his werewolf form. Pierce was ordered to design a second version. Pierce recycled his original design for the 1941 film. Chaney claimed. At times he claimed he was left to remain sitting while the crew broke for lunch and was equivocal about using the bathroom.
Chaney went as far as saying special effects men drove tiny finishing nails into the skin on the sides of his hands so they would remain motionless during close ups. However, there may be some exaggeration involved - studio logs indicate during the filming of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein the entire crew, including Chaney took a two-hour break during the filming of a transformation and filmed the rest of the scene that day. What happened was a plaster mold was made to hold his head still as