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ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)
Article #1 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-16-2001
Posting date: 7-30-2001

 

Two postal clerks get tangled up with Dracula, the Wolfman and the Frankenstein monster.

This movie served as both a swan song for Universal's most famous monsters, and as a shot in the arm to the comedy team that had been the studios biggest moneymakers in the early forties but had begun to fade away. When I first saw it as a kid, I was somewhat disappointed by it, but I think that was because I had already reached my saturation point with the boys' monster comedies; watching it again years later, I was able to appreciate just how much care was put into this movie. Unlike their other encounters, this one began as a straightforward horror script, and it shows; it has nowhere near the offhand sloppiness of the other horror comedies of the duo. It brought both Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. back to play the roles that made them famous; the monster's character, however, had degenerated so much over the years that maybe it was just as well Karloff wasn't on hand for this one.

Unlike the later comedies, it doesn't rely quite as much on Lou Costello being scared for its laughs. In fact, my favorite scene is one in which Lou is not scared, though he has every right to be. It's the one where he returns to Larry Talbot's room to take him his luggage, not knowing that he's turned into the Wolfman (though it doesn't say much for the cunning of the Wolfman that Costello gets away from him without a single scratch). This one is definitely a model for the better horror comedies.

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