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.

wolfman

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.

Lon-Chaney-Jr-The-Wolf-Man-1941-acting-16369193-325-217

  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.

Wolf Man 1941 5

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.

wolfman

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

wolfman-strangle

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 nigh as 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!

the_wolf_man_1941_larry_is_talking_to_gwen

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.

should-have-listened-to-me

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.

the-wolf-man-lon-chaney-jr-evelyn-ankers-1941

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

John_Talbot_vs._the_Wolf_Man

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.

padme-youre-breaking-my-heart-gif-1

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. 

3_WolfMan

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

halloween banner

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

A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

Romantic Moment #14

persuasion2007

Persuasion (2007)

So first of all:

Valentine-Wallpapers-For-Facebook

So last year I ended the Romance is in the Air posts with Northanger Abbey. I thought this could become a tradition, always ending on a Jane Austen film. Hmmm…I wonder what next year will bring? Who knows?

Anyways, so two of my favorite Jane Austen books/films are Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I mean I love the others, but I feel like these two are really forgotten by the fans and never gets any love.  Which is just not fair because they are fantastic books and movies. They deserve fans!!! Love them!

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

Okay, let’s step back from the crazy. Sorry.

So Persuasion is a wish fullfillment piece by Jane Austen. Jane fell in love with a rich man from a good family, very Pride & Prejudice, but his family strongly disapproved and took him away from her in order to make sure their attraction didn’t turn into something scandalous like marriage. While Jane had offers from other men, she never stopped loving him and waited for him to come back into her life. (So now that you know this you will understand this movie/book even better.) Another fun,  fun is not the right word let’s go with interesting  an interesting fact, Jane died before this and Northanger Abbey were published so she didn’t name them. Her brother, who had them published, decided what they should be called based on what he thought would be interesting.

So, anyways, the film begins with nineteen-year old Anne Elliot getting engaged (secretly) to young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. However, her mother figure (as her mom is dead) and family friend, Lady Russell, convinces her to end the engagement. She tells her she is too young, that it is risky marrying an officer going off to war, he could die, she could end up a widow, she could be penniless, etc. (Lady Russell brings up some good points, but she also wanted to end the marriage as Anne was a higher station and had more money. She thought Fredrick Wentworth wasn’t good enough for her Anne.) Anne really values Lady Russell’s opinion and breaks off the engagement, even though it breaks her heart and she regrets it everyday.

Fast forward eight years and things have drastically changed. Anne’s father, Sir Walter, and older sister, Elizabeth, have squandered A LOT of the family fortune on their vanity. Anne tried to reign in the spending, but no one would listen as her sister has the position of running the home (that is until she is married). They now have to lease out their home and reside somewhere else. And just who should be living in their home, Admiral Croft and Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft just happens to be Frederick Wentworth’s sister. And to even add to it, her brother has had an increase in his fortunes. He made so much money in maritime victories during the Napoleonic wars. (He had no one to live for so he took A LOT of risks and they paid, boy did they pay.) He also was promoted to Captain.

Her father and sister leave for Bath, where they will be spending the season. Anne goes to see her bratty, hypochondriac, annoying, selfish, younger, sister, Mary. (As you can tell I don’t like her.) Mary is married to Charles Musgrove, a guy who wanted to marry Anne but she turned down as she still loved Frederick. He then married his sister to spite her, and spent the rest of his life (and family’s life) regretting that choice. Mary lives nearby the old Elliot homestead, so wouldn’t you know it, she runs into Frederick several times.

awkward-look-on-face1

To make matters worse, Frederick is so hurt and still heartbroken that he just ignores her and won’t say anything. This pains Anne as she still loves him and is just bursting to tell him how she feels but scared. And then to further rub salt in the wound, Charles’ younger, pretty, single, sisters are both making a play for him.

ouch

And not only does he like it (of course, duh); but he totally plays it up in front of her. Just like a guy.

jerk

Although I totally get what he’s doing. I mean she turned him down and didn’t do it in the best way. He started thinking she was only interested in the fact that he had no money, otherwise a “Good Charlotte Witch“.

Anyways, so the rest of the family has no clue what happened between Anne and Capt. Wentworth. So they purposely keep trying to bring Wentworth over. The one sister, Henrietta, stops her flirtations with Wentworth as her cousin is deeply into her. Everyone believes that Wentworth will ask for Louisa’s hand, but he still hasn’t gotten over Anne, but is just trying to get at her.

The whole family decides to travel down to Lyme Regis, with Wentworth to visit his friend,  Captain Harville and Captain James Benwick. Benwick recently lost his fiancé, the sister of Harville, and is stilll grieving her. He loves poetry and he and Anne become close. People start speculating about more happening between them, which does not make Wentworth happy.  Anne also attracts the attention of the Elliots’ long-estranged cousin, and her father’s heir, William Elliot. Also disturbing Wentworth.

Jealous

Things change when Louisa suffers from a fall and gets a serious concussion, because of her stubborn behavior (she’s the girl that does whatever she wants). Anne is the only able to keep her head and assist her. The Musgroves care for her and Anne goes to Bath. Captain Wentworth faces the fact that when Louisa recovers he may be tied to her forever, which is something he is not so sure he wants to do.

In Bath, Anne finds out that her father and Mr. Elliot, her cousin, have fixed their relationship. Elizabeth assumes that he wishes to court her while Lady Russell more correctly suspects that he admires Anne.  Anne doesn’t really like Mr. Elliot, she feels like something is not right about him and tries to avoid him as much as possible.

Admiral Croft, having heard a rumour of Mr. Elliot’s proposal to Anne, sends Wentworth to ask Anne if she and her new husband require them to quit Kellynch Hall. Anne informs Wentworth that Admiral Croft has been  misinformed.

24629465There’s hope!

Soon the Crofts, Musgroves, Benwick, Harville, Wentworth, etc; the whole crew comes to Bath. Louisa is engaged, but not to Wentworth, but Benwick. Wentworth is not happy about Mr. Elliot’s attentions to Anne, not at all. Anne also goes to visit her friend, Mrs. Smith, who is a struggling widow. She tells Anne that Mr. Elliot is not a nice guy at all. He has been so determined to inherit everything that he has been going after Sir Walter’s love interest in order to ensure he doesn’t remarry and have a son. Anne is shocked, but it reaffrims her feelings of mistrust toward him.

Wentworth is moved by what he overhears Anne says about women never giving up their feelings of love even when all hope is lost. This makes him brave enough to share his feelings and he writes her a letter telling her how he feels.  Anne recieves the letter and runs after Wentworth, there he proposes and she accepts. We fast forward, and Wentworth is surprising Anne with a gift. It’s her old house!

Most Romantic Moment: 

He writes one of the most beautiful letters ever! Now the thing I really love about Persuasion is you can just feel for the characters, everyone has experienced rejection and heartbreak; and the hardest thing can be trying to put yourself out there. So we have Wentworth who loved Anne, had his heart thrown through a shedder. He realizes that he loves Anne, but should he say something? Does she still love him? Is she angry over the way he treated her? Has she moved on? Will she reject him again? This has to be one of the bravest and romantic things ever.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never. 

So romantic!

So romantic!

That is so romantic, just laying everything out like that. He totally threw caution aside and just told her everything.

daa60b1f6c026bd69f9c463717a90c9f

So romatic! And that is just one of the best ways to try and win a girl back. Conclusion:

BoysinBksSo now because it is my blog, and I want to, I am going to review my favorite parts of the letter.

You pierce my soul

not too late

offermyheart

lovedyou

For you alone

A word look

614-02394247

So that ends this Valentine countdown. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday whether you are single or in a relationship. Eat lots of candy, wear red, watch sappy movies; that’s what I’ll be doing. 😀

hearts banner

For more Persuasion go to A Frederick Wentworth Sighting, Let’s Hear it for the Boysand On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

hearts banner

In other news:

Yay!

 

For the 100th post, go to Wanna Grow Old With You: The Wedding Singer (1998)

For the 300th post, go to That’s What You Get

hearts banner