Sunday, June 21, 2009
Day 124: The Undying Monster (1942) - Rank 2.5/5
When Universal cranked out "The Wolf Man" in 1941 and the film raked in a fair amount of dough, Fox Studios declared "Holy shit! Werewolves equal dough-ray-me! " Well, I doubt studio execs declared exactly that, but it's obvious that times haven't changed. Hollywood takes a successful formula and churns it back out again and hence we get "The Undying Monster."
A string of mysterious deaths are taking place in a remote area. Two detectives are sent to investigate, one the skeptic and the other that believes in the supernatural, and after a lot of "Butler did it" hijinks, we learn that werewolves are real. The film also has a "Thin Man" formula intertwined with the detective couple. However, they're no Nick and Nora Charles. Give me William Powell staggering about for an hour and a half and I don't care what the plot is about. That's a schtick that gets funnier the more I see it. Star James Ellison was clearly going for this angle, but fell short. The film was cranked out by John Brahm, who would go on later to direct "The Lodger" and "Hangover Square." I won't hold the entry in his filmography against him. It gave him the opportunity to experiment with atmospheric compositions that would serve him well later on (his direction adding more to the film than anything else). Apart from that, this short film (around seventy minutes) crawls by like half a day.
Watch the Trailer