Thursday, October 14, 2010

Capsule Review: The Wolf Man (1941)

For many, Lon Chaney Jr. will be forever be associated with his role as the unfortunate Larry Talbot, who finds himself cursed with lycanthropy after being bitten by an attacking wolf (who, just moments before, was Bela Lugosi). Chaney Jr. went on to play the role numerous times, and he correctly manages to balance good humor with pathos in the character. He's ably supported by Claude Rains as his father, who manages to make a role that could easily be a cliche into something more substantive. A great performance. Some might find the make-up work (by genre giant Jack Pierce) to be rather dated, but compare it to almost any of the Wolman pictures that followed and you'll see what an accomplishment it truly was. Recently re-made (with an unfortunately troubled production) with the already rather wolf-like Benicio Del Toro in the Talbot role.

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