Werewolf of London (1935)

werewolf of london poster 1935 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Early werewolf film

Not as fun as The Wolf Man

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Werewolf of London

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 13, 1935

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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I really need a razor

A botany expedition to Tibet leads Dr. Glendon (Henry Hull) to a confrontation with a monster over a flower called mariphasa which only blooms by moonlight.  Returning to London with the plant, Dr. Glendon nurses his wounds and tries to return to his wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson) and his plants.  As the full moon approaches again, Glendon finds himself warned by a man named Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) that he’s been curse by lycanthropy and will transform into a werewolf without the healing properties of the mariphasa.  Glendon finds himself battling Yogami for the plant and battling the monster within himself that longs only to kill.

Directed by Stuart Walker, Werewolf of London was Universal Pictures’ first foray into werewolf pictures and predates their popular Universal Monster The Wolf Man by six years.  The film faired poorly at the box office, but is now considered a horror classic.

werewolf-of-london-doctor-glendon-henry-hull

I want to eat your face!

Werewolf of London was the first mainstream werewolf movie, and it is a pretty enjoyable film.  Much of the film’s failure was blamed on the similarities to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which had been released a few years before.  The story was a bit more cerebral than The Wolf Man (though like many I do enjoy The Wolf Man more).

The story of Werewolf of London is a bit odd.  It is rather a low-key werewolf movie where the werewolf is the thrust but it doesn’t pan out like later werewolf movies which have the beast killed by love.  The quest for the cure seems to dominate the film and you get two werewolves for the price of one.  Yes, the movie does end with Glendon being shot after going after his wife, but the movie feels more about the battle than the romance (which is unnecessarily confused by a rival romance).

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I just wanted to be werewolf buddies…thanks!

Henry Hull is a decent werewolf.  He was benefited by rather minimal make-up and this allows him to be a bit more expressive than other werewolves.  I like that the movie kind of becomes a mind game between Hull and Oland.  Bela Lugosi was originally pursued for Dr. Yogami, but Warner Oland almost seems to be channeling him at points.

As with all werewolf films, the werewolf is key and I do like the werewolf design.  The minimal face make-up was actually a change and the filmmakers had intended to use make-up like The Wolf Man’s make-up.  I like how some of the transformation scenes are done…especially the scene where Hull is walking and transforming with columns dividing the make-up changes.

Werewolf of London is a classic movie that many might have skipped due to the popularity of The Wolf Man but deserves an audience of its own.  The movie did spawn some greats in that Warren Zevon based the title of his song “Werewolves of London” on the title and An American Werewolf in London was also a play on the title.  The film is often collected with Universal’s other Wolf Man pictures.

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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