Monday, 26 November 2012

The Evil Of Frankenstein (1964)

Written by Anthony Hinds, and directed by Freddie Francis, The Evil Of Frankenstein is another of the consistently entertaining Hammer movies focusing on the ongoing difficulties of Herr Baron (played once more by the great Peter Cushing). It's not as good as some of the other Frankenstein movies but it's still worth seeing if you're a fan of the character.

The Baron tries, once again, to return to a place he was once driven out of with an assistant (Hans, played by Sandor Eles) in tow. This time it is the town of Karlstaad. It will be worth it if he can resurrect his creature and come up with some way to communicate with its damaged mind. That method of communication may be found in the shape of a hypnotist named Zoltan (Peter Woodthorpe) if everything goes according to plan but, alas for poor Baron Frankenstein, things rarely go according to plan.

I like the character of Baron Frankenstein when he's portrayed as he is in this movie, a man who really does have the answers to the big questions in life but is beset by attacks from the morally indignant masses and attempts to ruin his good name.

Peter Cushing, if you don't realise how good he is by now then I can't help you but, rest assured, he's one of my all-time favourites for good reason. Sandor Eles is okay, though he doesn't get too much to do, and Peter Woodthorpe is a lot of fun as Zoltan, the hypnotist who quickly realises how he can use the situation to feather his own nest a little. Duncan Lamont is enjoyable as the Karlstaad Chief Of Police and Katy Wild does just fine in the rather thankless role of "beggar girl". The creature this time around is played by wrestler Kiwi Kingston so there's certainly a solid physicality to the monster, if little else. The design work may hark back to the Universal flicks of old but it ends up being quite a disappointment.

Hinds laces the script with a few good lines, as per usual when it comes to dialogue uttered by the good Baron, but the direction from Francis is flat and lifeless. There's enough here to please Hammer fans but that's probably more to do with goodwill than good film-making on this occasion.


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