Son of Frankenstein (1939)

94-95 mins | Horror | 13 January 1939

Director:

Rowland V. Lee

Writer:

Willis Cooper

Producer:

Rowland V. Lee

Cinematographer:

George Robinson

Editor:

Ted J. Kent

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

According to a pre-production news item in HR , Universal originally wanted to team Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre in this film. The deal collapsed when Lorre rejected the role, claiming he had left the "menace" field to star in the Mr. Moto series. After this picture completed production on 4 Jan 1939, Universal rushed its editing in order to deliver it for a 13 Jan release. In an interview in NYT , Jack Pierce, the makeup man who created the monster, estimated that it would take him four hours to transform Boris Karloff into the monster. For additional information about film adaptations of the Mary Shelley book, please consult the Series Index and See Entry for Frankenstein ... More Less

According to a pre-production news item in HR , Universal originally wanted to team Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre in this film. The deal collapsed when Lorre rejected the role, claiming he had left the "menace" field to star in the Mr. Moto series. After this picture completed production on 4 Jan 1939, Universal rushed its editing in order to deliver it for a 13 Jan release. In an interview in NYT , Jack Pierce, the makeup man who created the monster, estimated that it would take him four hours to transform Boris Karloff into the monster. For additional information about film adaptations of the Mary Shelley book, please consult the Series Index and See Entry for Frankenstein . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Jan 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Jan 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Jan 39
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Jan 39
p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Jan 39
pp. 40-41.
New York Times
29 Jan 1939.
---
New York Times
30 Jan 39
p. 9.
Variety
18 Jan 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Rowland V. Lee Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel Frankenstein
or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (London, 1818).
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 January 1939
Production Date:
7 November 1938--4 January 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
24 January 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8574
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4987
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The memory of horror provoked by the man-made monster still endures when Baron von Frankenstein, accompanied by his wife Elsa and young son, arrives from America at his ancestral home in a small European mountain village to claim his late father's estate. Soon after, the baron meets his father's demented assistant, Ygor, who has robbed death by coming back to life after being cut down from the hangman's scaffold. Ygor tells the baron that his father's monster lives, and leads the young scientist through a secret passage to an outside mountain laboratory where the monster slumbers deep in a coma. Determined to prove that his father's experiments were meant to aid and not injure humanity, the baron restores the monster to life. Before he can transform the monster's brute nature, however, Ygor uses the creature as an instrument of revenge, ordering it to kill the jurors who had sentenced him to hang. The renewed terror in the village holds special significance to police inspector Krogh, who, as a boy, lost his arm in an attack by the monster. Krogh enters into a battle of wits with the baron, who is determined to conceal the monster for further experiments. However, when Ygor and the monster threaten the life of his young son, the baron finally realizes the evil that the creature embodies and, after shooting Ygor, obliterates the monster in a seething sulphur spring, thus ending the threat of evil ... +


The memory of horror provoked by the man-made monster still endures when Baron von Frankenstein, accompanied by his wife Elsa and young son, arrives from America at his ancestral home in a small European mountain village to claim his late father's estate. Soon after, the baron meets his father's demented assistant, Ygor, who has robbed death by coming back to life after being cut down from the hangman's scaffold. Ygor tells the baron that his father's monster lives, and leads the young scientist through a secret passage to an outside mountain laboratory where the monster slumbers deep in a coma. Determined to prove that his father's experiments were meant to aid and not injure humanity, the baron restores the monster to life. Before he can transform the monster's brute nature, however, Ygor uses the creature as an instrument of revenge, ordering it to kill the jurors who had sentenced him to hang. The renewed terror in the village holds special significance to police inspector Krogh, who, as a boy, lost his arm in an attack by the monster. Krogh enters into a battle of wits with the baron, who is determined to conceal the monster for further experiments. However, when Ygor and the monster threaten the life of his young son, the baron finally realizes the evil that the creature embodies and, after shooting Ygor, obliterates the monster in a seething sulphur spring, thus ending the threat of evil forever. +

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.