The Wolfman (1941)
Monster? Or perhaps a savage beast within?
As legends have foretold, "Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf." In this classic monster film, it tells the story of a young man named Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who visits his father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Rains), up in Talbot Manor. Sadly, the reason for Larry's visit isn't on good terms, as he visit's his father's estate upon hearing the news that his brother died. Hence, moving up Larry to become the successor of the Talbot estate. During Larry's visit, he meets a lovely girl, who he falls madly in love with but she's engaged to another man. Upon one night when escorting her and her friend to a gypsy parlor, to get their fortunes told, they encounter the mysterious Wolfman. Sadly, one of the girls is killed by this creature, as Larry manages to kill the beast using a cane with a silver handle. Unfortunately, he gets bitten by the wolf as he beats it to death, which causes him to transform into the savage beast.
Now unsure of his condition, as many believe it's a sickness of his mind that causes him to have hallucinations of turning into a werewolf, but what if they're wrong? Perhaps the savage beast is nothing more than the symbolic evil that lies within us all? And if that evil lies within all of us, then who's to say where the human part of us ends and the animal part begins.
Although the original "Wolfman (1941)" is dated by today's standards, it's still a pretty good movie. As I found the story to be quite charming and potent, as it shows symbolically how anyone can be succumbed to the evil within us all. Even the most noblest of men can turn evil quite easily. As this film masterfully plays on that symbolic meaning. Unlike it's new remake where it relies on gore and violence to illustrate the beast's effect on the main protagonist's soul and everyone else around him, this movie relies more on mystery and story element. Creating somewhat of a film noir element to it, as even Larry himself is unsure he is the Wolfman until it's too late.
Even the make up for "The Wolfman (1941)" was fairly decent, although it's dated by today's standards.
Sadly, that's not to say this film isn't without it's flaws. As the love story does come off as bit rushed at times, nor does it ever explain the estranged relationship between Larry and his father. As it's explained around the beginning of the movie, Larry and his father aren't that close, but they never elaborate as to why that is. However, it doesn't ruin the film by any means, as the symbolic meaning of how the Wolfman represents the darkness within us all is still carried out quite beautifully.
"The Wolfman (1941)" maybe dated by today's standards of modern CGI effects when it comes to monster films, but it fails to disappoint for those who appreciate the classic style of monster movies. Definitely a must see monster movie, as it'll leave any viewer questioning the darkness and beast within us all.
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