Vic’s Classics – “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948) (Re-Edited)

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Hey, gang! Vic here with another re-edited and re-vamped review from a while back. This review was originally part of a Blog-a-thon from 2012 started by Andy from “Andy Watches Movies.” I have been wanting to come back to it for some time now and the opportunity has presented itself for me to fix it up a bit and re-post a fresher and newer review. Hope you like it and don’t miss out on the all new images in the gallery below!

Thanks and Enjoy, everyone!

Vic

What’s it About?

Two hapless freight handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man.

Directed by Charles Barton

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein”

By Vic

Rating – 10 out of 10

“A & CMF”  is hands down one of my favorite Horror Comedies. Right up there with John Landis’ An American Werewolf  in London, Tremors and Shaun of the Dead.  The insanely popular status that this movie has garnered over the years is definitely warranted. It is witty, funny and yes even scary. It is the razor sharp template to follow if you want to get a horror / comedy done right. The best quality besides the impeccable timing of Abbott and Costello is the fact that that Director Charles Barton and writer Robert Lees treat the Universal Monsters with amazing respect and genuine admiration.

The movie does not parody or pander regarding our beloved monsters In this case – Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man. Yep, the whole gang is here and what a fun and hilarious ride it is. It is hands down a very nostalgic piece of movie perfection for me.  Eventually A & C would go on to team up with Jekyll and Hyde, The Mummy and even the Invisible Man (Another one of my faves). For now though we get not just one monster but 3 in this one.

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 Chick (to Wilbur) – “Answer the bell! Answer the phone!”

Wilbur – “Which one do you want me to answer first?”

Chick – “Both of ’em!”

The boys, in this film Bud is Chick and Lou is Wilbur, are baggage clerks at a Railway Station in Florida. Wilbur receives a phone call from none other than Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) from “The Wolf Man” Talbot tells Wilbur that he is a man named McDougal and tries to warn Wilbur that a shipment due to arrive to them for “McDougal’s House of Horrors” contains the actual bodies of Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange) and that they should alert the authorities. Wilbur is convinced that he is being crank called and doesn’t believe him.

Soon enough, Talbot watches as the full moon breaks through the clouds and he begins to transform. Wilbur overhears the change and brilliantly responds to The Wolf Man’s growling by saying:  “You’re awful silly to call me all the way from London just to have your dog talk to me.” Just epic. After this early scene the film solidifies itself into displaying an insane amount of humor and witty repartee. Lou gives this performance of Wilbur his all. He is never better than he is here.

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The real McDougal shows up and is pretty angry as he gets impatient with Wilbur and his goofing around –

Wilbur – “Well that’s gonna cost you overtime because I’m a union man and I work only sixteen hours a day.”

McDougal –  “A union man only works eight hours a day. ”
Wilbur – “I belong to two unions!”

More awesome repartee and it continues throughout the whole movie. As the story progresses the boys deliver the shipment to McDougal’s HOH. Wilbur, already frightened, suspects that something is wrong.  We are then introduced to Dracula as he wakes up and tries to revive the Frankenstein monster. Wilbur of course sees all of this and can’t get Chick to see what he has seen in time. Chick never believes him. Drac and The Monster escape unnoticed. McDougal arrives and he and his insurance agent after finding the crates empty accuse the boys of stealing his prized exhibitions.

Dr Sandra Mornay (The beautiful Leonore Aubert) plays Wilbur’s girlfriend and she receives Dracula and the Monster at her creepy island castle. It seems that she and Dracula are planing to follow Dr. Frankenstein’s notebook and have Wilbur’s brain inserted into the Monster’s. Sandra is just using Wilbur for this very purpose.

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Without doing a huge recap, I just want to go into why this movie rocks to no end!

– There is a very cool animation opening credit scene!

– There is an epic animated transformation scene where Drac turns into a bat and vice versa.

– Glenn Strange as the Monster gets to speak! “Yes, Master.”

– Bud Abbott is really incredible here. I can’t give Lou all the credit. His turn as “Chick” is spot on and even though he plays the straight man to Lou he gets in a funny part here and there like when he pretends to be hypnotized by Wilbur. Great stuff.

– The film looks great in black and white. No other way to watch these great monsters. It sports some great cinematography and some great sets and effects.

– Lugosi and Chaney give great performances. Chaney is sympathetically crazed here and Lugosi is very suave and menacing in his last turn as Dracula. He is way more charming here than in the 1931 film.

– Charles Barton keeps the pace fast and furious always giving the actors a ton of room to improvise.

– There is a surprisingly shocking scene where Frankenstein’s Monster literally tosses Sandra out of a window to her death below on the Castle rocks. Just as brutal as when Karloff dispatches the small girl in the first film.

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Finally the last act of the movie is INSANE! There are crazy face off’s between Dracula, Frankenstein and the boys as they try to escape the lab and the castle but not before they suffer through some great physical comedy. There are walls that revolve (a classic device in these horror films), a great lab scene that has The Wolf Man and Dracula fighting each other resulting in Dracula turning into a bat to try and flee but not before The Wolf Man grabs him and dives out a high castle window. It’s a classic sequence that is quite successful in being entertaining and suspenseful at the same time.

The best reason to watch is two fold though. Watching these great monsters in a battle royale of sorts and having the opportunity to watch A & C do their thing here. Great dialog, great timing,  great chases and excellently staged comedy and slapstick. Yep, Wilbur gets a few slaps across the face here and there. Now everyone knows why I get Nostalgic for this great Horror / Comedy!

Enjoy the image gallery below!

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20 comments

    • Same here! My kid and I watch it all the time. It is always in rotation at my house.

      Thanks for checking in, Michael. Always appreciated, man!

  1. One of my Faves Too, Vic! Great pics. This was my introduction to the Universal Monsters. I saw this long before the films that each monster came from (on a Sunday morning, on WPIX). Still watch it every year around Halloween. 🙂

    • I used to catch it on WPIX all the time! I never missed an airing, lol.
      This movie is a pretty cool way to get introduced to these iconic characters. Glad you liked the pics, Mike. Thanks for checking in man!

    • I’m always up for a viewing of this one, Paul! This movie is so much fun. The nostalgia is thru the roof for me every time I watch it.

      Glad you liked the review and thanks, always, for stopping by 🙂

    • Oh man, I LOVE “Tremors” That movie is just too much fun, Hope you like this one. I think you’ll have a blast with it. It is so funny and the monsters were spot on in this film.

      Thanks for checking out the post, Maurice. I appreciate it 🙂

  2. I remember watching this a number of times as a kid (also on a Sunday morning, on WPIX). This brings back memories. I haven’t watched it in a long time, though. I have to change that. Thanks for this review.

    • I practically lived on a diet of what ever was on WPIX when I was a kid. Especially with this movie. I have such amazing memories watching it with my cousin and my friends growing up. I used to love the line up of The Odd Couple, The Honeymooners, Star Trek then The Twilight Zone every weeknight.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Thanks for checking in, Wendell. I appreciate it!

      • Are you kidding me? We must be related somehow. I watched that line up every night, too. I especially made sure not to miss The Honeymooners. If you tell me you love the Yankees, but used to cringe at and/or make fun of Phil Rizzuto’s announcing then I’ll know we’re kin somewhere down the line.

  3. Love the Yankees! Loved Rizzuto! I used to crack up at Rizzuto’s calls. He was a blast to listen to. As far as The Honeymooners, I learned just about every episode verbatim from watching them over and over again on WPIX. I could recite them line for line in my sleep.

    Do you remember that lame game they used to air for the kids where they would call up random children to play and they had to yell out “PIX! PIX!” to play and win a gift? Oh man, that was so goofy…

    It was WPIX and WOR, as well, for all the cool monster movies, too!
    So, yeah, we must be related, lol 🙂

    • Hell, I tried to get on the Pix game everyday for like a month. Never got through, though.

      WOR for the monster movies and The Morton Downey Jr. Show.

      But THE place to be was Channel 5 every Saturday at 3:00 for that week’s kung-fu flick.

      • Yes! Morton Downey Jr! Haha. That show was a trip! My Uncle was addicted to that program. And yes, channel 5 had the best kung fu movies. I remember hanging out with my older cousin on the weekends and no matter where he was (most of the time he played basketball) we would rush home to watch kung fu flicks!

        He actually owned a few of those velvet Bruce Lee posters they used to make back then. Oh man. The nostalgia, lol!

    • It is genius, Josh! I think you will get a kick out of the great slapstick, jokes and even the creepy monsters in this movie. The nostalgia is through the roof.

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Hope you get to watch it soon. Enjoy!

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