Happy new year to all! (As usual, I’m probably the last to say that. This year.) Well, better late than never, right? 🙂
Anyhoo, let’s get down to business. Here’s the review of Son of Frankenstein! (Part One.)
In what is quite obviously the inspiration for Young Frankenstein, this movie starts with a town meeting in the village of … Frankenstein. The residents are all in a lather and uproar about the coming of the son of—who else?—Baron Von Frankenstein (which makes him Frankenstein, Jr. (I guess)), the Monster creator. Then we see Baron Von Frankenstein, Jr., coming with his wife and son by train. Except, instead of Gene Wilder (who played Franc-en-shteen in Young Frankenstein), the Baron is played by Sherlock Holmes. He and the wife chat merrily as the train rolls through the dreariest landscape ever. But Mrs. Frankenstein thinks the foggy wasteland is lovely.
Anyhoo, they arrive at the village of Frankenstein, where a crowd of citizens has gathered in the pouring rain to meet them. And Sherlock Holmes Frankenstein bloviates at length about the work of his Dear Old Dad and how sorry he is about the whole Monster Thing. Eventually, the crowd gets bored and disburses, but Holmes chatters on, oblivious.
Then, they go to the mansion, which is apparently a set left over from the making of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, judging from the Escher-like stairs to the second floor. Baron Von Sherlock makes himself at home in the library, because houses like these always have one.
But, lo—the Baron has a late-night visitor. It’s none other than the local Inspector Krogh, played by Professor Moriarty! Well, really, Lionel Atwill, but same difference, right? And the Inspector/Professor tells the Baron/Holmes about how his father’s monster tore off his arm, and as a result, he’s forced to do Doctor Strangelove impressions for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile, the rainstorm becomes fierce. Lightning cracks the sky and thunder crashes. And, while Mrs. Baron Frankenstein is slightly freaked out about the storm and the fact that the mansion resembles a funhouse, the Baron/Holmes seems delighted by the place and finds the storm thrilling.
Later, Baron/Holmes/Frankenstein steals off to the lab-OH-ratory, which looks a bit like a collapsed geodesic dome a la R. Buckminster Fuller. There he runs across Igor (not Eye-gor—yet!) lurking about. Igor had been hanged, but (despite suffering a broken neck) managed to survive—hump and all, thanks to the magic of total suspension of disbelief.
Igor leads Baron Von Holmes to a hidden room, where his dead dad and granddad lie … dead. This is also where the Monster lies, not quite dead, as it turns out. When the Baron/Sherlock reaches out and touches the Monster, he moves! And Baron Von Holmes Frankenstein shouts, “It’s alive!” Holmes Von Frankenstein spits the words out so fast, it’s frankly a bit anti-climactic.
Did I mention that the lab-OH-ratory has a boiling pit of molten … something? Double double, boil and trouble! But, there I go, being Shakespeare.
The Monster is supposed to remain confined to the lab. But Igor it seems has other plans.
Part Two next week! 🙂