An Invisible Man Can Rule the World. Nobody Will See Him Come, Nobody Will See Him Go…He Can Rob, and Wreck, and Kill!: The Invisible Man (1933)

 

An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob, and wreck, and kill!

Choosing a movie to open and close is hard-very, very hard. My drama teacher always told us the opening, before intermission, after intermission, and the closing are the most important-basically the opening and closing are what people remember. If you goof, make a mistake, or something doesn’t quite go right-they will forgive. As long as the begining is good and the end is powerful. That’s a lot of pressure.

Hmmm…

I was very unsure what to do-

Hmmm….

But then I had an idea. I read the book The Invisible Man and did not like it. I had never seen the film-in fact it is the only classic Universal Film I have yet to review.

Idea!

That being the case, it is the perfect one to end on. Will it be as good as the other classic films? Will it be better than the book? Will it be worse? Hmmm…?

On with the review!

When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn’t have one; all they had were 14 “treatments” done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that was a closer adaptation of the book.

What?

But there is one thing they did to help-they gave him a girlfriend. Having a girlfriend is very important to this character who otherwise is crazy, cruel, maniacal, evil, etc. The girlfriend humanizes him-when they are together we see there is more to him-another softer side, he isn’t just a monster.

So everyone wanted Boris Karloff to play the lead-but he turned it down as the character isn’t really on screen. The director overheard Claude Rains auditioning for another part and thought he was perfect. Rains had never been in a film before this, only stage acting, and did it perfectly as his voice was clear-even in all the costuming.

So let’s do the review:

A stranger arrives in the snow to the small village of Iping. All stop when they see how strange he looks-dressed in much heavier clothing than one would even in the cold. He wants a room.

They are more of a summer place, but agree to give him a room to sleep and an extra room-for his experiments.

The townspeople are wary of him-after all what innocent person covers themselves and tries to obscure thier identity. When the owner’s wife brings Griffin his dinner she sees that half of Griffin’s face is GONE!!

They didn’t have the technology we have today, so in order to make Rains invisible they dressed him in a full black bodysuit and placed him in front of a black screen.

Elsewhere, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) is woking in his laboratory. Dr. Cranely is Griffin’s mentor and his daughter Flora (Gloria Stuart) was engaged to him. Both are puzzled by his disappearance, and Flora is extremely worried about him, as she hasn’t heard from him in over a month. Dr. Arthur Kemp-Griffin’s friend and the other worker in Dr. Cranely’s lab, has also had zero word. And because Griffin was always working in secret, none know even what he was doing, so no clues where to find him.

A week later, Griffin is still at the inn working trying to find his way “back”. The only one who goes into the rooms is Jenny, the innkeeper’s wife. She doesn’t want Grifffin here-she wants him gone as his rooms are a mess, he is incredibly mean, and just creepy.

When they try to get him out, Griffin refuses and tosses the innkeeper down the stairs. They call the police. Constable Jaffers (E.E. Clive) comes to arrest him, but then Griffin does what no one expected.

Griffin attacks the men guarding the door and then takes off.

So this where I have a problem in the book. All the other classic monsters had something that made you feel for them. The Phantom? Thrown out because disfigured, abused, mistreated, used, and people have tried to kill him because he is ugly. Finds a girl who he thinks loves him but doesn’t care a fig about him-you understand why he goes all crazy. Dr. Frankenstein wants to help humanity, believes he knows better than God, but learns his harsh lesson. His monster is just trying t make it but people are afraid and trying to kill him. In Bride of Frankenstein? Frankenstein wants to live his life but blackmailed into creating another monster. Frankenstein’s monster just wants love. The Mummy is crazy and bad, but his main goal is to bring his love back to life. Dracula is an evil monster, but very charming. The Wolf man, poor guy just trying to reconnect with his dad, grieve his brother, and take over family business-wrong place wrong time. The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Just wants love.

Griffin is not charming, he’s not trying to help people, he’s not looking for love. He’s a wackadoo murderer-evil, insane, cold, etc.

Dr. Cranely and Kemp go through Griffin’s stuff to try and find clues to where he is. They do find a list of drugs, one being monocaine, which destroys everything and turns whatever creature that gets into it-insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

Griffin goes to Kemp as he needs help. He threatens him and blackmails him into being his errand boy. Griffin and Kemp discuss what happened and Griffin tells him he started working his experiments five years ago. He threatens Kemp to get his notes for him so that he can create the antidote.

The Chief Detective starts investigating and questioning people. Meanwhile, Kemp and Griffin head to the inn to get the notes. Griffin gets his stuff and attacks the Detective, killing him. This causes more panic and hysteria.

The police murder has lit a fire under them and they begin searching for Griffin. They start looking 20 miles in all directions and more and more volunteers join in. At 10:30pm  radio broadcast goes out and warns everyone that it isn’t a hoax. A reward for £1000.00 is offered.

Dr. Kemp is worried and calls Dr. Cranely to tell him about Griffin and warns him that Griffin has gone crazy. Dr. Cranely tells Kemp to take care to keep him there and that he will be there the next day. Kemp calls the police to tell them Griffin is in his house. Griffin becomes enraged at him for telling in him.

Flora goes to see Griffin and here we have a shred of humanity as he softens toward her and we see a sliver of the man he was-the one Flora fell in love with. But then he is gone and only the crazed killer remains.

One who has created this invisibility and wants to auction it off to the highest bidder.

While they are talking the police arrive. Griffin escapes and flees, but not before he tells Kemp he will murder him at 10:00 pm. The police come up with a plan as to how they will catch him. They will use Kemp as bait, but Kemp doesn’t like that idea. He takes off in his car but Griffin is already waiting there. He ties him up and pushes Kemp and the car off the cliff.

Griffin stays in a barn that night and a farmer spots the hay moving and calls the police. They decide to burn down the barn and follow the Invisible Man’s footprints on the snow to take aim. He’s hit and as he does his body is revealed slowly.

I thought it was pretty good, but let’s be honest it wouldn’t be nearly as good if it wasn’t for Claude Rains.

The thing that is mindblowing is the special effects. Really good for 1933. So there we go I have reviewed all of the Universal Classic Monster Films!

There we go. All 31 posts finished! Yay!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Mr. Hyde Versus the Werewolf: Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

For more Claude Rains, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For more mad scientists, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

Fantastic Fantasies

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Well here we are with part three of my fangirl posts. As shown above, I am obsessed with quite a few things and fangirl over them hard core. To make this easier on me and you, I have decided to break this up into a series of posts, with each fandom listed alphabetically. For post one, go to Fanning All Over the Place. For post two, go to Simply Fantastic.

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Alfred Hitchcock

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Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite absolute favorite director. I just love how the man thinks and what he creates. He is a true genius. Now I know he has some serious issues, like the way he treated the women he worked with, (especially Vera Miles and poor, poor Tipi Hedren); but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a true revolutionary. He not only created the psychological thriller genre, blending horror and mystery; but the first slasher horror genre, and influenced millions of writers and directors. Oh his works are just glorious. I’ve seen nearly every film he’s ever made and I just love him and all his work.

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This past year I reviewed three of his films for Horrorfest III and that is just the beginning. I hope to one day completely review every film he has ever done. For those of you who don’t know him, here is a short list of my favorites (that I recommend watching): Blackmail (1929), The 39 Steps (1935), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1942), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), Strangers on a Train (1950), Dial “M” for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Trouble With Harry (1955), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Torn Curtain (1966), and Frenzy (1972)

Besides films you also have his TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents in which he picked some of the greatest writers of the day, for example Ray Bradbury. And as mentioned before many great actors were on his show: such as Claude Rains, Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, etc. In fact, one of Steve McQueen’s early gigs was on that TV show. The show was similar The Twilight Zone, but unlike that show, you never knew if things would turn out good or bad for the main characters.

He is an amazing artist, using film as his medium, and I strongly recommend checking out anything that has his name on it.

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

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Criminal Minds

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Ah this show. How I love thee. Every Wednesday I would watch the new episode. It was set on stone. At least until my sophomore year at college, when classes I needed to take got in the way. 😦 Teachers just don’t understand.

So when I saw previews for this show, I was like I so gotta watch this. And for three reasons.

1) I was deeply interested in behavioral analysis. I mean you have just read how obsessed I was with Alfred Hitchcock. This show is logically the next step. In fact when I first went to college I studied psychology, hoping to work for the FBI one day. However, I hated the psychology classes as we kept having to talk about ourselves. I ended up switching to history as I wanted to talk about other people. I still love this show and what they do very much.

2) Thomas Gibson

So Handsome!!!

So Handsome!!!

Yep, if you have read my This Isn’t Love, This is Ectasy, post you know that I just find this man incredibly attractive. A fan from Dharma and Greg to Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas to Criminal Minds– I’ve got to watch them all. 🙂

Thomas Gibson plays the leader of the unit, Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner.

3) Inigo Montoya

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Just kidding. It’s not Inigo Montoya, but the actor who played him, Mandy Patinkin. He plays the amazingly smart agent Jason Gideon.Patinkin left the show, as he felt the content was too dark, and was replaced by FBI Agent David Rossi. Rossi is okay, but Gideon was much better.

So the FBI unit is comprised of the leader Agent Hotchner and Gideon who I have already talked about. There is also Elle Greenaway, Cuban and the sexual predator profiler. She only lasts for the first season as she gets shot during a case, and after that can’t really deal with the stresses of the FBI. We have Derek Morgan (played by the very handsome Shermar Moore) and appears to be the standard tough guy, ex-athlethe, charming, ladies’ man-but you find out there is far more to him than what appears at first glance. Spencer Reid is a super genius and the youngest member of the unit. He is only 22 in the first episode but already has three PhDs, two BAs, and has a photographic memory. Reid is utterly adorable.

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And you just can’t help but love him. Now Agent Hotch is the leader but Agent Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau is the liasion between the FBI and the town they move into to help out. She’s sweet, kind, adorable; and when the show dropped her the fans revolted, bringing her back. Rounding the team out is Penelope Garcia, the computer whiz and as quirky adorable as NCIS‘ Abby.

Now we head out to the character I hate. Emily Prentiss.

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She’s brought in to replace Greenaway after she leaves the BAU. She’s the daughter of a special agent and is too good. They make the character just too much that she is unreal and annoying. She knows like forty different languages and can speak them flawlessly, she used to work for Interpol, she is so “beautiful” that no guy can keep from asking her out, etc. It’s just too much. But one of the worse things about her, was when she first joined the show she would make fun of Reid.

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Reid is an adorable puppy. Anyone who is cruel to him has no soul.

But besides her, the show is amazing, the characters and storylines are truly great and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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CSI

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CSI was a revolutionary show. It brought back the cop drama, but instead focusing on the forensic side of the investigations. Of course the show isn’t completely realistic as they immediately get lab results and always manage to find their killer in a day or two. But the show was really good as the characters and storylines worked really well.

So if Wednesday was reserved for Criminal Minds I would typically spend my Fridays with AMC watching reruns of CSI.

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Yep, they’re pretty exciting.

So the orginal show was just CSI and took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now besides some great storylines, the real reason this show was so awesome was Dr. Gilbert “Gil” Grissom played by William Peterson. He’s a forensic entomologist and was just great. He was always cool and collected, no matter how tense the situation got. He was also always a wiseguy (in wit and sarcasm). When he left, the show ended for me. It was just not the same. The show has gone through a lot of upheaval this past year;  losing their original characters, bringing in more and causing it to just not be for me anymore.

With the extreme popularity of CSI the producers decided to do a spin-off and create the same show in a different location. What was born was CSI:Miami. Now many people don’t like this, but I admit it. It was my favorite of the CSI franchise. It had some silly moments and silly characters, but I loved it most. My favorite character was Ryan Wolfe played by Jonathan Togo. He came in after one of the team members was killed. His beginnings are hard as the crew are still hurt over the death of their colleague and aren’t exactly warm to to him. He’s smart, detailed, funny, and hot. What more could you want?

 You also have the lead detective Horatio Caine, who is a very smart man, but more loved for his hilarious puns.

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And the third character I enjoyed, Eric Delko. He is the Derek Morgan of this show; strong, athletic, hot. He’s just a fun guy and I was one of the many fans upset with his death and happy when he overcame it and came back into the show.

Like CSI this show went through a  lot of dropping and adding characters and I stopped watching.

With the popularity of CSI and CSI: Miami, the producers decided to try again and created CSI: NY, but I never got into this version. It just didn’t appeal to me.

Now before I stop talking about this show, there is one more awesome thing that I have to mention. One of the most awesome things about this show is that they chose to use The Who songs for each show’s theme. CSI used Who Are YouCSI: Miami used Won’t Get Fooled Again, and CSI: NY used Baba O’Riley.

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Danosaurs

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This Youtube star is Dan from Danisnotonfire. It is a hilarious show as Dan just highlights funny moments and the awkwardness of his life.

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Not to mention being entertaining, he is also  really cute and has an English accent! Definitely a win. His videos are all amazing, so I’m just going to post one of my favs, but I definitely suggest checking all his stuff out.

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Deathbats

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So if you have read some of my previous posts, you might already be aware of my Avenged Sevenfold obsession. It all started when my loser ex and I first started dating. He was obsessed with the band. He gave me one CD to listen to, but not the others; having promised to make “the perfect” playlist, burn CDs, and mail me care packages. Of course he never did. In fact he never sent me anything but I sent him stuff. Rude, huh.

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Anyways, when we broke up I was sad and decided that I was going to check out a bunch of Avenged Sevenfold CDs and listen to their music. I did and I became OBSESSED with them.

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Now some of you may be asking, is the band really that good? Well I think so. I love the musical choices they make. One of my favorite things is that they are always trying something new and different, but it still remains uniquely them.

One thing I absolutely love is M. Shadows’ voice. It isn’t what mainstream would say is great, but totally works with the music created by the band. He’s also pretty hot.

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You also have Synyster Gates who is the attractive guitarist and an amazing musician.

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And Zachy Vengence. Killer name, killer looks, and killer talent. The trifecta!

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So here are a few of my favorite songs. I’ll only name a few so I don’t overwhelm you all. So some of my top, top favorites are: Unbound, Almost Easy, A Little Piece of Heaven, Seize the Day, Dear God, Flash of the Blade, Walk, Afterlife, Hail to the King, Nightmare, Welcome to the Family, Buried Alive, and So Far Away. There are plenty more to talk about, but that’s all for now.

AddictedtoAvengedSevenfold

For more on Avenged Sevenfold, go to Unbound

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Disney

Disney

So I am a HUGE Disney fan. I grew up on the films, TV shows, characters, etc. I am SUPER obsessed with it.

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I could go on and on about my favorite Disney things, but you know what? I’ve already done that. This summer I devoted all of June to 30 posts on Disney. I covered some of my favorite animated features, Disney Original Movies (DCOMs), Disney live action films, Disney songs, etc. To read more on it, check out 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition. I’m thinking of doing it again as there is just so much Disney wonder and fantastica that needs to be covered.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll never be to old for it.

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For more on Disney, go to The Little Moreland

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Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

 

So Downton Abbey? How do I describe this phenomenon? Hmm….

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Just kidding, it is nowhere near as confusing as that.

So this show came out a few years ago and my mother wanted to watch the TV show, not me. She had been a fan of the series Upstairs, Downstairs, what Downton Abbey is a remake of. Both series chronicle the lives of the wealthy upstairs along with the servants downstairs. It didn’t sound that interesting to me, but my mom really wanted me to watch it. I did and fell in love with. Every Sunday night became tea and Downton Abbey.

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When the winter break ended and I returned to college, I got all my friends into it as well.

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At first they were like, “will I like this?” and I was like:

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They quickly became fans as well.

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So the first season begins with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and ends with the start of WWI in 1914. The second season picks up in WWI and ends 1919. The third season picks up in the same year and moves on into the 1920s.

So the manorhouse is Downton Abbey in England where the Crawley family live. Robert Crawley, Earl Grantham, and lord of the manor; Cora Crawley, his American wife; and their three daughters Mary, Edith, and Sybil. Robert’s mother, Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, doesn’t live there but visits most days.

The Dowager is amazingly funny and witty. She is a snob, but her snobbery is sometimes due to her naiveté of what lower classes do and go through. She is hilarious as her one-liners are amazing. She is practically everybody’s favorite character.

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Lord Grantham (Robert) is pretty traditional and takes the jobs of running the estate very seriously. Lady Cora clashes with the Dowager Countess and at many times finds herself at odds as she is not English, so she “doesn’t understand” things.

Then we have the three daughters. First is Mary who is the eldest and a whiney, spoiled brat. However, as the series progresses she does change as her circumstances cause her to realize how awful she is being and what she wants to be. As the series progresses you start to love her.

Next in line is Edith. Edith is a whiny brat as well. She is always jealous of her older sister’s beauty and attention. This causes her to constantly fight and find ways to ruin things for Mary, of which all end up troublesome for her.

And last is Sybil, who in my opinion is the best character of all. She is kind, considerate, sweet, funny, beautiful, and a real revolutionary. She wears a Middle Eastern outfit with pantaloons for her coming-out-party, gets involved with protests, meetings, radical theories, becomes an army nurse, and doesn’t care about someone’s station or name. She’s awesome.

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The series starts out with the Titanic sinking. On the Titanic was Mary’s first cousin and fiancé. Everyone in the Crawley family is upset because the estate is entailed, and with the cousin and his brother killed, no one knows to whom the estate goes next.

Let me back up a minute. Entailment was something that was done a lot in England. All the money, property, i.e. the whole estate was entailed to the next male heir.  Yep, and as we see the Crawleys have three girls. They had never worried about entailment as they always planned to have Mary married off to the cousin and none of the family would have to worry.

Now they have to discover the next male heir and hope to God that they can marry him off to their eldest daughter.

Enter Matthew Crawley

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Matthew Crawley is a lawyer and discovers that he is next to inherit and will become Lord Grantham, have a seat in Parliament, and own a large estate. He is flabbergasted at this, as he is just your average person. In fact he wants to refuse it, but gets talked into accepting it. The Dowager Countess and Lady Cora try to get Mary and Matthew together. Mary finds Matthew “too low class” and tries to get a rich man interested in her. Unfortunately, very few men are interested in a girl who’s fortune is entailed. Lady Cora and Lord Grantham are also trying to get Cora’s fortune/dowry out of the entailment. Edith is trying to foil all of Mary’s plans while at the same time trying her best to catch a rich man or hook Matthew. Sybil is Sybil. Matthew falls for Mary and tries to win her heart, but Mary has some issues to overcome before considering marriage to Matthew. At one point Cora becomes pregnant and we wonder if she may have a son and solve the whole problem. Murder, mystery, scheming, drama, and comedy galore! Of course before things can truly be resolved, WWI breaks out, changing everyone’s life as they know it.

Season 2 starts right out in WWI and portrays it as accurately as possible. Matthew finds himself in the trenches with some of the servants from Downton. Downton gets set up as a hospital for soldiers. Sybil is a nurse. Lord Grantham wants to fight but isn’t allowed to. And the series continues in keeping the drama, comedy, romance, and action. I won’t reveal any more or season three and four for those of you who haven’t checked it out and are interested.

Let me just say that if PBS really wanted money, this is all they would have to do.

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Now that is the upstairs, let’s take a look downstairs.

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We have Mr. Carson the Butler who runs the whole downstairs. He is stuck in his ways, but a truly lovable stick-in-the-mud.

Then there is Mrs. Hughes the head housekeeper. She runs the kitchen staff. She is no-nonsense and buisnesslike, but always has a soft spot and helps others.

Then we have Mr. Bates head valet (pronounced the English val-let not French va-lay). He is introduced to the household in episode one to the ire of the footman Thomas Barrow. Thomas thought that he would be the one to elevate in status and is upset at being passed over. Thomas tries to make life hard for Mr. Bates and turn everyone against him. Mr. Bates falls for Anna and the two have one of the best romances. They actually weren’t supposed to stay together, but the fans called for them. Power to the fans. Mr. Bates also has a lot of mystery and drama surrounding him.

Mrs. O’Brien is the lady’s maid and a cruel and calculating woman. She is a major snoop and always rooting out gossip.

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She only cares about her best interest and causes some serious problems for the family. She leaves after a secret she has comes out.

Anna is the sweetest, kindest, woman ever. She is one of the best characters, and I absolutely love her and Mr. Bates together. She is the head housemaid and Lady Mary’s confidant, often helping her out of some pretty bad scrapes. When Lady Mary marries, Anna  is elevated to Lady’s maid.

Thomas Barrow is the under-butler and he is a mean, horrible, cruel, bully. He picks on other footman and staff members, plays with girl’s hearts, spreads rumors, steals, etc. He leaves the household and goes off to war, which softens him a bit. After the war ends, he finds himself falling back into his old ways. He has a huge secret that is only known to a few.

William Mason is one of the kindest and most adorable footman ever, but leaves in the second season. He has a crush on the assistant cook, Daisy who doesn’t deserve him.

Alfred Nugent joins the household after William leaves. He is brought in to be a love triangle between Daisy and Ivy, but he’s very boring and bland.

Jimmy Kent is brought in and increases that love triangle to rhombus as his good looks, charm, and easygoing manner wins all the ladies’ hearts.

Moseley was Matthew’s butler and was supposed to go with him to war, but failed his exam. He moves into the Crawley manor when he can’t find himself another job as a butler. You see during and after the War, many families find themselves not having the money they once had. When he comes into the Crawley household, it is a little awkward as his function is a bit fuzzy.

Mrs. Patmore is the no-nonsense cook and an awesome character. She hilarious, sarcastic, and always hitting the nail on the head.

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She has this one great storyline in which she starts going blind and is afraid to tell anyone. She thinks that if they find out then she will be fired and what will she do next? Cooking is all she knows and cares about. When the Crawleys discover this, they actually pay for an operation to fix her eyes.

Daisy is my least favorite character. Ugh, she annoys me. She is in love with Thomas because she thinks his bullying is a sign of manliness. She never gets the hint that he is not interested in her, unless he can torment sweet William who has a crush on her. She uses William to try to make Thomas jealous, which instead only hurts William more. She falls for Alfred, who doesn’t care a fig for her. Her biggest role in the series is really just complaining. She complains ALL THE TIME. And like the teenage girl “this unfair” “I never get what I want” kind of complaining. I always just want her to shut up!

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Ivy is new and her only thing that defines her character is that she is a “modern” girl not afraid to let someone know that she likes them. Translation: She’s pretty fast.

Now the last character I’m going to talk about is Tom Branson who is in the middle of the upstairs and downstairs.

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Branson is the Irish chauffer. He is very interested in politics and Sybil. Yes, we have an mixed class romance. Now at first I didn’t like him as he was hotheaded, believed his opinions were the only right ones, wants to violently achieve Irish independence, etc. However, once he and Sybil ran off and eloped, he began to grow on me. After some traumatizing events, his personality changes as this personal destruction makes him realize that violence to achieve one’s goals is not the way. What else is really great is his friendship with Matthew, as the two really understand each other and trying to figure out your place. In fact his storyline if trying to see which “floor” he belongs in is really powerful.

 So after all that I bet you are wondering what else can be said about Downton Abbey? Well I found that Petula Clark did a really great job of sharing it, (that is of you make a few small changes):

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always watch  Downtown Abbey. When you’ve got worries all the noise and the hurry seems to help I know, watch Downtown Abbey. You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares so watchDowntown Abbey. Things will be great when you’re watching Downtown Abbey. No finer place for sure. Downtown Abbey; everything’s waiting for you. Things will be great when you’re watching Downtown Abbey. Don’t wait a minute more watch Downtown Abbey.

For more on Downton Abbey, go to That’s What You Get

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For Part 1, go to Fanning All Over the Place

For Part 2, go to Simply Fantastic

And keep an eye out for Part 3!

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For more of my favorite artists and songs, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt

Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

the wolf man

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.

So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.looked to it in creating their stories.

So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb. Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s  father, Lon Chaney.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.

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So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

Look at this sweetheart

His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).

Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.

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  That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:

Even a man who is pure in heart

and says his prayers by night

may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms

and the autumn moon is bright

Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went  down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]

Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.

Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?

Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.

[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]

Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.

Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.

Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.

Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!

confused

Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.

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The gypsy woman, Maleva reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.

Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?

Maleva: The wolf was Bela.

Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?

Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.

Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.

Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.

Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?

Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”

 

Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by  Jack Pierce  for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.

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That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

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The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.

Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.

The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The night Larry as the Wolf Man steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had  felt sorry for his predicament.

Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

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He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.

“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?

Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.

Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”

Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM  THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!

And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.

So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.

Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Opera where he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.

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So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.

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But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

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The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.

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Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

right in the feels broken heart

Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time. 

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So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

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For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

I love all these films so much! I wish I owned every one.

There is nothing better than The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein,  The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, etc.

I love these classic monster movie films! and here’s my fav commercial.

Check out this really interesting article to learn cool facts about these amazing films.

Have a Feartastic Friday! More fearsome posts are on their way.

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to Some People Are Just Born Evil

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For more on Boris Karloff, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Dracula, go to Grimwood Ghoul’s Gym Teacher

For more on Frankenstein,  A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more on Phantom of the Opera, go to My Favorite Movie Lines