Film (1958; vt Frankenstein 1975). Aubrey Schenck Productions/Allied Artists. Produced by Aubrey Schenck. Directed by Howard W Koch. Written by Richard Landau and George Worthing Yates from a story by Charles A Moses and Schenck loosely based on Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1811; rev 1831) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, not credited. Cast includes Charlotte Austin, Donald Barry, Tom Duggan, Boris Karloff, Mike Lane and Jana Lund. 83 minutes. Black and white.
Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Karloff), was tortured and disfigured by the Nazis during World War Two, is the last of the Frankensteins. Running low on funds, he rents the ancestral castle to a US film crew led by Douglas Row (Barry). Appropriately enough, Row is making a Horror movie, starring Carolyn Hayes (Lund) and Mike Shaw (Duggan). The film opens with a portion of this movie-within-a-movie as preface to the actual story, which involves Frankenstein's continuing efforts to perfect a Monster (Lane) of his own. Funded by the film crew, he has installed an atomic reactor in the hidden sub-basement laboratory where he is assembling the creature. The Baron begins picking off members of the film crew including script-girl Judy Stevens (Austin) and some others. When ordered to kill Carolyn for additional parts, though, the creature rebels and escapes. Predictably it destroys the laboratory, killing both itself and the Baron. In what was meant as a surprise ending, the removal of the monster's facial bandages reveals the face of a young Karloff as he was before his disfigurement. In a taped message, the Baron relates that since he himself was unable to father children, the creature was meant to perpetuate the Frankenstein line.
This modest film marked Karloff's return to Cinema after a few years' absence, and is of some note as his sole portrayal of Frankenstein himself rather than the Frankenstein Monster. Karloff still had several worthwhile films left in him, besides the TelevisionHorror anthology series Thriller (1960-1962) which he hosted and sometimes guest-starred in. A restored print of this film is available as a home video release. [GFi]
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