The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Article #191 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-23-2001
Posting date: 2-6-2002

Ygor and the Frankenstein Monster visit a son of the original Dr. Frankenstein, who decides to replace the monster’s brain.

It seems that whenever this movie or its immediate predecessor in the series SON OF FRANKENSTEIN are mentioned, eventually the discussion turns on which of the two movies are better. These are interesting movies to compare, as SON marked the end of an era, being the last of the Universal Frankenstein movies that was intended as a top-of-the-line production and the last to feature Karloff as the monster, whereas GHOST marks the beginning of an era where the movies were seen as product and largely churned out; the production values do appear to have dropped quite a bit in this entry. My own preference is a little towards SON, but on rewatching this one, I was surprised at how well it stood up. Cedric Hardwicke has been accused of walking through his role as Ludwig Frankenstein, and there may be some truth to that, but I still enjoy the performance; it makes a striking contrast to either Colin Clive’s or Basil Rathbone’s performances. There is always Lionel Atwill on hand here to take up any slack on that account. I also think it was the last time the monster had much in the way of dimension or really played much of a role in the proceedings; from the next movie onwards he would spend most of his time being upstaged by other monsters or lying on a slab looking tired. Bela Lugosi is back as Ygor, with Lon Chaney, Jr. as the monster. Also in the cast are Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy, and in smaller roles, Dwight Frye (playing both a villager and Fritz the hunchback in a flashback), Michael Mark, and Brandon Hurst. My favorite moment in the movie is when the monster presents his suggestion as to whose brain he should get. And as a side note, I think the actress who plays the little girl in this movie is worlds better than the actor who played the little boy in SON.


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