02 October 2014

Werewolf of London (1935)
75 min.
Directed by Stuart Walker.
With Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Spring Byington, Lester Matthews, Lawrence Grant, Ethel Griffies, Zeffie Tilbury.
Poor Werewolf of London.

This 1935 horror from Universal often plays second fiddle to its better known cousin, 1941's The Wolfman.

Yet, Werewolf has a certain charm all its own.

While on a botany expedition in Tibet, Dr. Wilfrid Glendon (Hull) is bitten by a strange wolf-like beast (Oland). When he returns to his hometown of London, Glendon finds himself feeling a bit under the weather.

Soon, he begins mutating into a hideous werewolf possessed by uncontrollable urges to kill!

This ain't your typical jet lag.

Can the mysterious Marifasa plant that Glendon brought back from Tibet save him from his deadly transformations? Or will it merely postpone the inevitable?

Buoyed by some remarkable makeups courtesy of Jack Pierce, and aided by a somber performance from Hull, this low key horror is passable fun.

(Credit for the earliest lycanthropy flick has to go the 1913 silent, The Werewolf).

Kudos to some of the supporting cast here, including Byington - who nearly steals the show as a histrionic socialite - and Hobson, who gives some feist to the normally restrained '30s heroine role.

Also known as Unholy Hour.

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