The Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942)

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Overall Rating 61%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,497
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Connections: Frankenstein

Ygor resurrects Frankenstein's monster and brings him to the original doctor's son, Ludwig, for help. Ludwig, obsessed with the idea of restoring the monster to full power, is unaware that his various associates all have different ideas about whose brain is to be transplanted into the monster's skull. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: November 28, 2015
After the mediocre Son of Frankenstein, I was more than a little leery of moving on to its sequel, especially since the infamous Boris Karloff was no longer manning the creature. While we certainly haven't reattained the stature of those first two classics, Ghost of Frankenstein does serve as a nice return to form.

After Wolf Frankenstein turned his family estate over to the local population, their first reaction is to raze it to the ground to end the curse the castle is holding over the village. While the superstitious mob is blowing it to kingdom come, the ever resilient Ygor, having survived being shot, retreats deeper into the fortress. As bad luck would have it, the explosions free the creature from the sulfur pit he fell into at the end of the last movie, and the pair disappear into the countryside. After seeing lightning rejuvenate his friend from the effects of the sulfur, Ygor decides to once again blackmail its creator's child into perfecting the beast. Unfortunately, Wolf's brother Ludwig is not so easily manipulated and plans to destroy the creature by taking it apart piece by piece. While preparing for the operation, he is visited by an apparition, his long deceased father! The ghost explains that the experiment failed due to its criminal brain, and seeing as Ludwig is a neurosurgeon, he could perfect the creature and redeem the Frankenstein name. Once again, a Frankenstein readies his table to play God. You'd think they'd have learned by now.

You see, this is the sequel Son of Frankenstein wanted to be, and most of it boils down to how much Ludwig overshadows his brother in pretty much every aspect you can imagine. He's much more rational, and has every intention of destroying the creature before switching to a logical course of action that might actually perfect it. I'm not even sure Wolf had a plan; he was just going to revive it and hoped things turned out better for him than for his father. Had the brain transfer been the main plot of Son of Frankenstein, it would have given it some much needed direction. Also, I wish they had had him deduce that the brain was the problem from his notes and gotten rid of the whole ghost bit. It was far too random and out of sorts with the rest of the series' tone. It just felt like a lazy way of moving the plot along, and worst of all, Colin Clive had long been taken by pneumonia, so we weren't even treated to another performance of his, even if it would have been a short cameo.

Cedric Hardwicke's steady portrayal of Ludwig wasn't the only performance bolstering the movie. The big story here is the monster's boots no longer being filled by the inimitable Boris Karloff. Fresh off his role as the wolf man, Lon Chaney Jr. has taken up the torch. As much as I loved that movie, Karloff defined this role, and I wasn't expecting much of any replacement. Turns out, Chaney was definitely up the challenge, and put plenty of emotion in the body language of the still-mute creation. Finally, Bela Lugosi once again shines as Ygor. I absolutely loved how they used him to provide the true menace and continue to show that the monster is not an inherently evil creature.

The Ghost of Frankenstein has certainly restored some faith in me as we head into a sequel I've been looking forward to since I started this franchise: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. It's just a shame that understanding the set-up for this one is so heavily dependent on the watching the last film, as it easily could have replaced it. 7/10.
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