Thursday, 23 October 2008

It's the Wolf (Man) !! It's the Wolf (Man) !!

I've been spending some time watching lovely old black-and-white DVDs these last few months. I've been slowly working my way through the old Johnny Weismuller Tarzan flicks (what a hoot! That Cheeta!!) and am currently giving serious time to Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in a lovely boxset of all his movies which can now be yours Dead Cheap if you cast around online.

I've also been rooting around my (not-inconsiderable) DVD collection and realised that I've managed to pick up quite a few of the classic Universal monster movies on the two-disc sets which were released just prior to the release of Stephen Somer's best-forgotten Van Helsing a few years back. Dracula, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon...they're all there. So's The Wolf Man...

And it's The Wolf Man - I call him Woolfie (but not to his...er...face) which I've just finished watching. It's a cheap but hugely atmospheric 1941 effort starring Lon Chaney Jnr as the doomed Larry Talbot who becomes infected with the werewolf curse after a tussle with a gypsy werewolf out on one of those unlikely misty moors only ever found in black-and-white horror films. Of course by today's standards it's not really horror; we're back in the early days of the talkies here, in essence, and the era of CGI and super-convincing prosthetics is decades in the future. But Universal made a good fist of these movies by populating them with good actors playing characters the audience can actually care about and root for and, yes, even feel a bit sorry for. Nice stuff. Here's Wolfie as he was depicted on screen in the 1940s...



No laughing at the back please!!! Anyway, it appears that Wolfie's on his way back to a cineplex near you. Director Joe Johnston (best known for the rather good - if short - Jurassic Park 3 - is currently, I'd imagine, putting the finishing touches to a 21st century reboot of the old Wolf Man franchise, with the talented Benicio del Toro on board as the titular hirsute one. And to show how times - and FX - have changed - here's a sneak early peak at how my mate Wolfie is going to look when the film arrives on cinema screens in February 2009...



Ulp. Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving also star in this new movie which, I sincerely hope, is going to take a slightly more artistic and interesting look at one of the horror greats than the tiresome CGI-fest which was the risible afore-mentioned Van Helsing. Don't have nightmares...

Coming soon: Stuff on the road!! I'm off to Stratford on Saturday to see the RSC's latest production of Hamlet (and, no, not just because David Tennant's in it, actually!!)...Back in Bondage: Stuff cuts open the new Bond bonanza Quantum of Solace...Survivors...Sarah Jane: Day of the Clown and the mad new one with Russ Abbott...

2 comments:

Richard James said...

Spent a week at Pinewood filming scenes for this movie. I was in a scene which featured a transformation from Benicio Del Toro to Wolf Man - I witnessed a little piece of cinematic history! I think the lagacy is in safe enough hands with Joe Johnston who really spent time and care on his direction.

Paul Mount said...

Interesting, thanks for that. The pics certainly look as if the film's got a lot going for it.