The Wolf Man (1941)

69-70 mins | Horror | 12 December 1941

Director:

George Waggner

Writer:

Curt Siodmak

Producer:

George Waggner

Cinematographer:

Joseph Valentine

Editor:

Ted J. Kent

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Destiny . Although HR news items and production charts include Dick Foran in the cast, he did not appear in the released film. According to Var , this was the first film in which actor Lon Chaney dropped the "Jr." from his name. Universal press materials claim that makeup artist Jack Pierce spent five years researching werewolves and worked for five months to find the correct combination of rubber, color and hair to create the character of "The Wolf Man." Modern sources add the following names to the crew credits: Mus H. J. Salter and Frank Skinner; and Spec eff John P. Fulton. Modern sources add to the cast: Eddie Polo ( Churchgoer ) and Gibson Gowland ( Villager ). Modern sources also state that this was Universal's highest grossing film of 1941. The success of The Wolf Man led to the creation of a new Universal horror series. Chaney played the role of Larry Talbot in four more films, ending with the 1948 horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (See Entry.) Universal Pictures revived the Wolf Man character in 2007 with a new version of the original film, also entitled The Wolf Man , directed by Joe Johnson and starring Benecio del Toro as Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as his father. That film is set for release in early 2009.
       Other werewolf films include the 1913 Bison short film The Werewolf ; the 1935 Universal production Werewolf of London , starring Henry Hull and Warner Oland and directed by Stuart Walker (see AFI ... More Less

The working title of this film was Destiny . Although HR news items and production charts include Dick Foran in the cast, he did not appear in the released film. According to Var , this was the first film in which actor Lon Chaney dropped the "Jr." from his name. Universal press materials claim that makeup artist Jack Pierce spent five years researching werewolves and worked for five months to find the correct combination of rubber, color and hair to create the character of "The Wolf Man." Modern sources add the following names to the crew credits: Mus H. J. Salter and Frank Skinner; and Spec eff John P. Fulton. Modern sources add to the cast: Eddie Polo ( Churchgoer ) and Gibson Gowland ( Villager ). Modern sources also state that this was Universal's highest grossing film of 1941. The success of The Wolf Man led to the creation of a new Universal horror series. Chaney played the role of Larry Talbot in four more films, ending with the 1948 horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (See Entry.) Universal Pictures revived the Wolf Man character in 2007 with a new version of the original film, also entitled The Wolf Man , directed by Joe Johnson and starring Benecio del Toro as Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as his father. That film is set for release in early 2009.
       Other werewolf films include the 1913 Bison short film The Werewolf ; the 1935 Universal production Werewolf of London , starring Henry Hull and Warner Oland and directed by Stuart Walker (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4993); Twentieth Century-Fox's 1942 production The Undying Monster , directed by John Brahm and starring James Ellison and Heather Angel (See Entry); the 1944 Columbia feature Cry of the Werewolf , directed by Henry Levin and starring Nina Foch and Stephen Crane (See Entry); the 1956 Columbia film The Werewolf , directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Steven Ritch and Don Megowan; American International Pictures' 1957 film I Was a Teenage Werewolf , directed by Gene Fowler and starring Michael Landon and Yvonne Lime; the 1960 Hammer production The Curse of the Werewolf , directed by Terence Fisher and starring Oliver Reed and Clifford Evans; the 1961 Austrian-Italian co-production Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory , directed by Richard Benson (Paolo Heusch) and starring Carl Schell and Barbara Lass; two 1973 films: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf , directed by Nathan Juran and starring Kerwin Mathews and Elaine Devry and The Werewolf of Washington , directed by Milton Moses Ginsberg and starring Dean Stockwell and Biff McGuire; the British 1975 production Legend of the Werewolf , directed by Freddie Francis and starring Peter Cushing and Ron Moody; Universal's 1981 An American Werewolf in London , directed by John Landis and starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne and it's 1997 sequel An American Werewolf in Paris , directed by Anthony Waller and starring Tom Everett Scott and Julie Delpy; Avco Embassy's 1981 The Howling , directed by Joe Dante and starring Dee Wallace and Patrick Macnee (which was followed by five sequels); and Atlantic's 1985 Teen Wolf , directed by Rod Daniel and starring Michael J. Fox and it's 1987 sequal Teen Wolf Too , directed by Christopher Leitch and starring Jason Bateman. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Dec 1941.
---
Film Daily
10 Dec 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 41
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 41
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Dec 41
p. 420.
New York Times
22 Dec 41
p. 24.
Variety
17 Dec 41
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
[Sd] tech
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Destiny
Release Date:
12 December 1941
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 9 December 1941
Production Date:
8 September--25 November 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
15 December 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10910
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
69-70
Length(in feet):
6,285
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
7874
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Lawrence Talbot returns to his family estate in the English countryside after an eighteen-year absence in America and is greeted by his father, Sir John Talbot. While Larry offers his regrets over the recent death of his older brother John in a hunting accident, his father apologizes for neglecting Larry for years, and the two resolve to start their relationship anew. Soon thereafter, Larry puts together his father's new telescope and spies upon the beautiful Gwen Conliffe. He then goes into town and meets Gwen at her father's store. There, Larry buys a cane decorated with a wolf's head and a pentagram, which Gwen explains is the sign of the werewolf. Later, she agrees to go with Larry to visit a nearby gypsy camp, but only with her friend, Jenny Williams, as chaperon. While reading her fortune, Bela the gypsy sees the sign of the werewolf on Jenny's palm. Jenny is soon attacked by a wolf, and despite Larry's efforts to rescue her, she is killed, along with the animal. Back at Talbot Castle, Larry is questioned by his old friend, Colonel Paul Montford, the local constable, who tells him that Bela has also been murdered and that Larry's cane was found nearby. In order to prove his innocence, Larry attempts to show Montford where he was bitten by the wolf, only to discover that his wound has disappeared. Later, Larry returns to the gypsy camp, accompanied by Gwen and her fiancé, Frank Andrews, the game keeper for the Talbot estate. There, Larry meets Maleva, Bela's mother, who tells him that her son was a werewolf, and that, having been bitten by ... +


Lawrence Talbot returns to his family estate in the English countryside after an eighteen-year absence in America and is greeted by his father, Sir John Talbot. While Larry offers his regrets over the recent death of his older brother John in a hunting accident, his father apologizes for neglecting Larry for years, and the two resolve to start their relationship anew. Soon thereafter, Larry puts together his father's new telescope and spies upon the beautiful Gwen Conliffe. He then goes into town and meets Gwen at her father's store. There, Larry buys a cane decorated with a wolf's head and a pentagram, which Gwen explains is the sign of the werewolf. Later, she agrees to go with Larry to visit a nearby gypsy camp, but only with her friend, Jenny Williams, as chaperon. While reading her fortune, Bela the gypsy sees the sign of the werewolf on Jenny's palm. Jenny is soon attacked by a wolf, and despite Larry's efforts to rescue her, she is killed, along with the animal. Back at Talbot Castle, Larry is questioned by his old friend, Colonel Paul Montford, the local constable, who tells him that Bela has also been murdered and that Larry's cane was found nearby. In order to prove his innocence, Larry attempts to show Montford where he was bitten by the wolf, only to discover that his wound has disappeared. Later, Larry returns to the gypsy camp, accompanied by Gwen and her fiancé, Frank Andrews, the game keeper for the Talbot estate. There, Larry meets Maleva, Bela's mother, who tells him that her son was a werewolf, and that, having been bitten by him, he too is now a werewolf. Back at Talbot Castle, Larry watches in horror as he slowly transforms into a werewolf. That night, he attacks and kills Richardson, a grave digger. Montford and Dr. Lloyd arrive at the murder scene and find wolf tracks near the murdered body. That morning, Larry wakes to find wolf tracks leading to his bed. He asks his father about the legend of the werewolf, who tells him it is about the good and evil in a man's soul. Later, Montford and Frank set traps for the wolf and the transformed Larry steps into one. After watching him transform back into a man, Maleva releases the confused Larry. Back in town, Larry awakens Gwen and tells her that he is leaving. She offers to go with him, but after seeing the mark of the werewolf on her hand, he refuses. Larry then tries to tell all to his father, but Sir John simply thinks that his son is insane. As a precaution, however, Sir John agrees to tie Larry to a chair and lock him in his room. As his father leaves, Larry asks Sir John to take the silver cane with him. As the hunters take their places in the foggy countryside, Sir John sees Maleva, who tells him he is safe while possessing the cane. Gwen then arrives in search of Larry, and goes into the woods despite Maleva's warnings. As the werewolf attacks her, Sir John arrives and strikes it with the cane. Sir John kills the animal, then watches with Maleva as it transforms back into Larry. As the others arrive, Montford surmises that the wolf attacked Gwen, and Larry must have been killed saving her. Knowing the truth, however, Gwen collapses into Frank's arms. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.