Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

abbott and costello meet frankenstein poster 1948 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Perfect timed comedy, classic Universal Monster mash-up

Weak story, slapstick isn't for everyone

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Studio:  Universal Studios

Genre(s):  Comedy/Horror

Release Date(s):  June 15, 1948

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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All your favorite monsters are here!

Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) and Chick Young (Bud Abbott) are baggage clerks at train station.  When the bodies of Count Dracula (Béla Lugosi) and the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange) are bought by McDougal House of Horrors, Wilbur and Chick must deliver them.  Wilbur quickly realizes that Dracula and the Monster are real…and out for blood.  Wilbur becomes the unlikely target of Dracula, Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lénore Aubert), and an insurance investigator named Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph) who think Chick and Wilbur have stolen the bodies.  Wilbur must prove to Chick that monsters are real and find a way to clear themselves.  Fortunately, Chick and Wilbur have an ally in Lawrence Talbot…the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.).

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Look Who’s Stalking!

Directed by Charles Barton, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is also referred to as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein or even Budd Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein.  The film is a follows Abbott and Costello’s The Noose Hangs High…also released in 1948.  The movie was praised by critics and a massive hit for the studio.  The film was named by the Library of Congress to the National Film Registry for preservation.

Abbott and Costello are classics and this is one of their best films.  It is great because not only is it a good comedy, but it reunites some of Universal’s greatest monsters in the Wolf Man, Dracula, and the Frankenstein Monster.

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It is either really easy or really hard to hypnotize an idiot

The story of the movie is quite weak, but it would be hard to bring all the characters together for any reason.  Costello supposedly hated the script, and the movie does run the risk of becoming just a continuous routine of Bud Abbott not believing Lou Costello.  Fortunately, near the end of the movie, Abbott does see the monsters and the plot changes.  It is noted that the movie doesn’t really seem to be a sequel to the monsters’ previous appearance in House of Dracula in 1945, but none of the original Monster films seemed to line up well.

The cast is perfect…with one exception.  Abbott and Costello’s timing is perfect (like usual) and their slapstick is along the lines of the classic straight-man and goofball.  It is great to see Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man again (though he was cured in House of Dracula) and he had to stand-in a few time as the Monster when Strange broke his foot.  Béla Lugosi appeared for only the second time as Dracula and this was his last major studio role.  Unfortunately, Boris Karloff didn’t participate in the film (he did appear with Abbott and Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff and Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and did help market the film.  There is also a small “cameo” by the Invisible Man voiced by Vincent Price (who played the Invisible Man in The Invisible Man Returns).

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We’ve never been formally introduced, though we are supposed to meet

The movie looks pretty good.  Granted, Lugosi and Chaney, Jr. have aged, but they still look great as their monstrous counterparts.  Glenn Strange does look like Karloff, but it just isn’t the same.  The animated transformation of Dracula into a bat was illustrated by Walter Lantz who was known for Woody Woodpecker.

Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein is a must for fans of classic comedy and for fans of horror.  The early “comedy horror” laid the framework for a genre that has evolved over the years into films like Ghostbusters and Arachnophobia.  For one of the original fun rides, check out this Abbott and Costello classic.  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was followed by Mexican Hayride (also in 1948).

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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