Film, video and television productions based on the novel by Mary Shelley:
Director James Whale; writers John Balderston, others; featuring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye
Director James Whale; writers William Hurlbut, John Balderston; featuring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester
Director Rowland V. Lee; writer Wyllis Cooper; featuring Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
Directors Erle C. Kenton, Roy William Neill, Charles Barton; writers Scott Darling, Eric Taylor, Curt Siodmak, Edward T. Lowe Jr.; featuring Lon Chaney Jr., Cedric Hardwicke, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello
Director Terence Fisher; writers Jimmy Sangster; featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee
Directors Terence Fisher, Jummy Sangster; writers Sangster, Hurford Janes and others; featuring Peter Cushing, Michael Gwynn, David Prowse and others
Directors Paul Morrissey, Mel Brooks, Roger Corman, Robert Tinnell; writers Tonino Geuerra, Morrissey, Brooks, Corman, and others; featuring Udo Kier, Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeleine Kahn, John Hurt, Burt Reynolds and others.
A new Dr. Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), centre, joins Ygor (Bela Lugosi), right, in reviving the monster.
Chip off the old blockhead
Rathbone as young Frankenstein
Actually, the "son" Son of Frankenstein(1939) in the next sequel is progeny of the mad scientist named Henry Frankenstein in the previous films, not of the monster.
Wolf von Frankenstein is played by Basil Rathbone, who had achieved fame the previous year as the swashbuckling villain in The Adventures of Robin Hood and was just starting his run as the sleuth in the Sherlock Holmes films.
Frankenstein, Jr. takes over the old man's castle and is convinced by evil blacksmith Ygor to revive the monster. The story also extends the Frankenstein family further, bringng the doctor's wife and son into the plot.
Ygor is Bela Lugosi, the equally famed portrayer of Dracula, unrecognizable here with full beard, peasant clothes, and a stooped walk—reinforcing the hunchbacked assistant sterotype. (This role may be making up for Lugosi having originally turned down the part of the monster, which Boris Karloff has since played to acclaim.)
Karloff and Lugosi
Son of Frankenstein again stars Karloff in his last serious film as the flat-headed creation, as he is obviously tiring of the role. Somehow the monster, now sporting a fur vest, has forgotten his language lessons of the second film and is back to grunting and screaming.
But this was also the first Frankenstein film without the stylish, expressionist direction of James Whale, who had left Universal.
Yet it is still a relatively well-told, intelligent and relatively nuanced story. Perhaps the most intricately plotted of the great American-made Frankensteins.
Not quite at the level of its two predecessors, but still miles above what was to follow.
Incidentally, Mel Brooks's hilarious Young Frankenstein is said to take the first four Frankenstein movies as material for spoofing, but for my money the comedic treasure lode is based on this one, Son of Frankenstein.