Son of Frankenstein (1939)

October 31st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Rowland V Lee | Cast: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Béla Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson | US Horror 99′

In Gods and Monsters Ian McKellen (playing the director James Whale) derisively barks “I only directed the first two, the rest were made by hacks”. This is a bit hard on Roland V. Lee who delivers an extremely atmospheric addition to the canon, and derives full value, aided by cameraman George Robinson, from Otterson & Riedel’s ‘psychological sets’, complete with a portrait of Colin Clive.

Billed as ‘A Roland V. Lee Production’, to add to its credibility, this was the last Frankenstein movie of the thirties, and marks the final appearance of Karloff’s monster – who had apparently lost the ability to speak since we last saw him – flanked by a memorable performances from Basil Rathbone in the title role. Lionel Atwill also star as the police inspector deliciously spoofed by Kenneth Mars in Young Frankenstein, and Bela Lugosi as the vengeful Ygor (possibly the last role he ever played that counted for something). @RichardChatten


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