Legend of the Werewolf (1975)

LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF (1975)
Article 3282 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-16-2010
Posting Date: 8-9-2010
Directed by Freddie Francis
Featuring Peter Cushing, Ron Moody, Hugh Griffith
Country: UK
What it is: Faux Hammer werewolf tale

A child raised by wolves is captured by a travelling showman for display in his circus. When the boy grows up, he takes on a job at a zoo in Paris, but his wolf upbringing has come with him… especially on the nights of the full moon.

There is such a wealth of Hammer stalwarts in this Tyburn production that it’s no surprise it feels like a Hammer movie, albeit one that feels somewhat anomalous in the mid-seventies. Yes, it feels like a rehash of CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, but that should be no surprise, given that both scripts were written by Anthony Hinds. Still, despite the fact that it’s a rehash of sorts, I really like this movie, at least partially due to the excellent cast. Yes, David Rintoul is no Oliver Reed, but the surrounding characters are all quite interesting, and I think the story has a better flow. It has some interesting touches; my favorite is that the werewolf doesn’t appear to be quite as devoid of reason as werewolves usually are; he can speak, and he does seem to be able to tell his friends from his enemies. The end is particularly touching, as we sense that this is one monster that could have been redeemed. The best thing about the movie, though, is Peter Cushing. For a while, I was wondering if he was only going to serve as narrator as he does during the opening section of the movie, but once he appears, he steals the movie; his police surgeon/coroner character would have made a fine protagonist in a TV or film series; it’s a shame something like that never developed.

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