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The Ghost of Frankenstein is a horror film from 1942 in which the Doctor’s plans to replace the monster’s brain are thwarted by Ygor’s machinations.
Directed by Count C. Kenton (Cat Crips, House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein) based on a screenplay by W. Scott Darling (Cobra Woman, Strange Woman, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon), based on a story by Eric Taylor (Spiderwoman Strikes Back, Son of Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Black Cat), the Universal Pictures production includes Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi and Evelyn Ankers.
In 1942, three years after the death of the Son of Frankenstein, Universal Pictures continued the story of the Frankenstein family with Ghost of Frankenstein!
However, the film Ghost of Frankenstein was very different from the previous three. The budget was lower. The story was less complicated. The operating time was significantly shorter. While previous films in the franchise are clearly set in Germany, the setting for Ghost of Frankenstein is not so easy to define. (Given that the film was shot during the Second World War, this is not surprising). The biggest change is that in Ghost of Frankenstein the monster is not played by Boris Karloff. Instead, Lon Chaney Jr. took over the role; his physique was perfect for a monster, but his face was never as expressive as that of Karloff. While Karloff has turned the monster into a victim, Chaney plays the monster as…a monster.
From Son of Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi returns as Ygor. At the beginning of the film we learn that Igor hasn’t really been killed before. Instead, he was only wounded. He spent the last few years in hiding in the old castle, trying to revive the monster. When the villagers try to blow up the castle, he and the monster escape.
It appears that there is another son of Frankenstein, and his name is Ludwig (played by the very decent Cédric Hardwicke). Ludwig, who hides his identity and denies his ancestry, has a thriving medical practice nearby. With his assistants, Dr. Kettering (Barton Yarbrough) and the very poor Dr. Bohmer (Lionel Atwill, who played a very different role in Son of Frankenstein), Ludwig is developing a procedure to remove a damaged brain from the skull, repair it and then reintegrate it into the skull…..
Uh… wow, I don’t know how to respond to that. This is a real medical breakthrough, but….
When Igor and the monster come to the village looking for Ludwig, the monster is arrested. The local prosecutor (Ralph Bellamy) asks Ludwig to investigate the prisoner. Ludwig is shocked to hear that the prisoner is his father’s creation!
Igor wants Ludwig to do a monstrous brain transplant. At first Ludwig hesitates, but then he gets a visit from the ghost of Henry Frankenstein. (Since Colin Clive died 5 years before the release of Frankenstein’s Ghost, Hardwicke plays both Ludwig and Henry). The spirit asks Ludwig to perfect the monster.
Ludwig finally gave in and agreed to give the monster a new brain. Ludwig wants to use the brain of a good colleague, but the intriguing Ygor has other plans…
Ghost of Frankenstein is only 67 minutes long, but strangely enough it still seems a bit too long. Director Earl C. Kenton does the work of a craftsman, but in Ghost he doesn’t have the spirit that distinguished James Whale’s films or Rowland W. Lee’s work on Son of Frankenstein. Chaney is not a particularly interesting monster, but Bela Lugosi is a lot of fun as Igor. With Chaney showing even less emotion than usual and Hardwick appearing to slip away from time to time throughout the film, Lugosi has to keep the audience occupied, and he succeeds. Lugosi’s performance may be too theatrical, but it’s exactly what Frankenstein’s spirit needs.
Unfortunately the Phantom of Frankenstein, although sometimes entertaining, is finally forgetful.
Lisa Marie Bowman, guest critic through Broken Lens.
Other exams :
…The production value is still important (Ludwig Frankenstein’s lab has as many cool gadgets as his father and brother), and the story, which has more action than the three previous films, caught my attention. The cardinal sin of the Phantom of Frankenstein is not that it is terrible, but that it is mediocre. And with a trio of classic films that precede it, that’s enough to reveal its flaws. 2,500 Film Contest
The Frankenstein Universal series has moved from category A to category B with The Frankenstein Ghost, although production values are still far above average and distribution is excellent. AllMovie
The film looks a little cheaper visually than the previous one, which is a pity. With a little pruning and a better appearance this could be a decent monster movie. Monster is still a cool movie, but the movie could have been better with a bigger budget. Cellar installations
In Ghost, he [Earl C. Kenton] would do well to give us nice close-ups of the various characters and show them some of their work. There is also a large photograph of the little girl’s gaze on the creature dominating her, as well as the shadow of the creature’s hand moving over Igor when he wakes up. It shows that he was actually trying to make a decent film, not just make one film and move on to the next. Crypto Keatley.
After three of the best gothic horror movies of all time, Ghost of Frankenstein is pretty fantastic. But by the general standards of the genre in the 1940s, Val Lewton’s efforts aside, Ghost is actually a fairly high quality, very entertaining film of 67 minutes. This island tribe
…very sad to see what this show has become. It lacks the polish and interesting medium of the previous entries, dipping the sample lower, and wasting a large mould. Even with a duration of 67 minutes, it feels as if the medicine is ready and not even needed. Video cemetery
…Much of the fun in Ghost comes from the fact that the usual global company comes together to play different roles (Cheney, Lugosi, Atwill, Ralph Bellamy and Evelyn Ankers were also in Wolf Man last year). Lon becomes an unforgettable Frank, but Bela steals the show. Every time he’s on the screen chewing on the set, Ghost is on fire. Vacuum for video
It’s about Igor’s desire for a brain transplant. Ludwig gets a visit from his father’s ghost who tells him to replace Frankenstein’s brain, and then Ygor goes into Frankenstein’s brain. The whole story quickly and seriously descends into a farce, without even coming close to the comic absurdity that could at least have turned a complicated narrative into a work in its own right. The yellow barrel
The return of Lugosi in his best role since Dracula and the murder legend in White Zombie is more than satisfactory and brings the action forward quickly. Faster than Kenton Lon Chaney, Jr.’s portrait of the monster, you can at least edit it yourself […] From this film, Frankenstein’s monster becomes a stagehand of enormous proportions. Zombie closet.
Elsa Frankenstein (Evelyn Ankers): It all seems so strange and so awful!
Igor (Bela Lugosi): A new brain, you know? A new brain! A new brain!
The actors and characters:
Lon Chaney, Jr. … Cedric Hardwick Monster… Ludwig Frankenstein / The Ghost of Henry Frankenstein (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke) Ralph Bellamy … Eric Ernst-Lionel Athill… Dr. Theodore Bohmer-Bela Lugosi… Igor Evelyn Ankers… Elsa Frankenstein-Janet Ann Gallow… Clousteen HussmanBarton Yarborough… … Dr. Kettering-Doris Lloyd… Martha Island Hodgson… Police Commissioner Olaf Hayten… HussmanHolmes Herbert… Magistrate Richard Alexander… Villagers (not credited) Lionel Belmore… Council Member (not accredited) Chet Brandenburg . Fellow Colin Clive… Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Archive) Harry Cording… Front (unaccredited) George Eldredge… Policeman Dwight Frye… Countryman Lawrence Grant… Mayor Otto Hoffman… Villager (no credit) Brandon Hurst … Hans (not credited) Michael Mark… Councilman (unaccredited) Jimmy Phillips… Indian (not credited) William Smith… A country boy in court. Ernie Stanton… Agent Julius Tannen… Sectors (not credited) Harry tenbrook … Village Hearing (no credit) Glen Walters … The mother of a village of starving children (without credit) Janet Warren … Goose girl (no credit)
Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
Technical details :
Black and white image format
: 1.37 : 1
Audio : Mono (Western Electric Mirror Recording)
13. March 1942.
Shortened versions were then released on 8mm under the title New Brain Frankenstein and Trial of Frankenstein.
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