harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Werewolf of London, Part II of II

Scene 30: In the country manor of the Glendon's, Wilfred greets his wife at the breakfast table just as she's hanging up the phone with Paul. She reports that he'd like them all to go on a moonlight ride that evening (yeah, like you I'm sure that he meant for Wilfred to show up too). Doctor Glendon gives his apologies to his wife's disappointment, reporting he can't possibly go.

He glances at the morning newspaper, but quickly folds it back up when he sees the headline. Lisa complains that he's not the same man he was anymore. At one time, when he was absorbed in his work, he was happy, excited over his work. Now, he's sullen and short tempered even with her. He snippily tells her she's managed to find someone pleasant to make up for his ill-moods.

Lisa calls him out for being hateful (I would use the word petulant, but hers does have more power behind it). He apologizes and agrees to go on the moonlit ride if that is truly what she wants. He further expresses his love for her and they return to their morning tea when the butler returns to the room.

Scene 31: Later in the late afternoon, Dr. Glendon is in his home lab again. He interrupts his work to call for his assistant and tells Hawkins about his need to go out that evening. He leaves instructions for the man to watch over the lab carefully. Hawkins helpfully points out that the scientist does have more than the three blooms we previously saw, but none of them are opening. He suggests that the moonlight that night may do the trick where his artificial lamp failed.

Commentary: Except for the mention of the theft, this dialog feels like it should have come earlier in the movie. Back during Hawkins' first appearance would have worked better. It also annoys me that we were very clearly shown three buds only, but suddenly we have this whole other plant (off screen) that suddenly has buds, too. The weird blooming cycle of the flowers is also annoying, as they seem to bloom or not according to the script, rather than the moonlight or any other logical, natural reason.

Doctor Glendon states that the blooming would come too late and instructs his assistant to keep the moon lamp going and on those buds. He strolls back toward the main house in thought.

Lisa and Paul, decked out in horse riding clothes, intercept him. He tells his wife that he can't go riding after all, using the excuse that he must leave town over a shipment of bulbs from Burma. She insists he put it off for one night, so they can go riding, but he refuses. Further, he tells her that she is forbidden from going riding as well. He won't have her gallivanting around with a stranger in the moonlight.

Paul objects that he isn't a stranger, but I think we know that Paul should shut up. Lisa tells Wilfred that she had been planning a ride that evening, and she is going to be riding. Wilfred relents, but tries to extract a promise that if she's going to ride, she'll come back to the house before moonrise. She refuses this as well, further telling him that she'll ride that night, the next night and so on as long as the moon shines. She leaves him behind with Paul.

Commentary: Obviously, we know why Wilfred is trying to keep her indoors, but I say more power to her. He's been an insufferable ass since Paul showed up long before he had any reason to think there was anything more than a childhood relationship between them. Even now, there has been no overt reasons for him to be this jealous of Paul and Lisa's relationship, except for the general malaise of their marriage. I don't blame Lisa at all for telling Wil to f-off with his demands on her.

Scene 32: Later that night, we fade into a pub with a pair of Komedy-Old-Biddies doing shots. At the bar, we have another Komedy-Old-Biddie who buys herself two shots from the bartender. Doctor Glendon comes into the pub, asking about rooms in the neighborhood to be rented.

We have Komedy as the old ladies we met at first eating, argue over who has the rooms to rent. One Komedy-Old-Biddie punches out her 'best friend' and tells Wilfred that the woman doesn't understand the ethics of business (Oh, my sides... stop. No, really, please just stop).

She leads him off to room and he shares with her to her questioning that he is indeed 'singularly single... more single than [he] realized a man could be'. He also asks her what she'd say if he told her a man could become a werewolf, and she replies that she'd say she was red riding hood.

Commentary: I had some small bit of sympathy for the state of Doctor Glendon for a second, but then he tells a complete stranger of a whole minute about werewolves - but can't tell his wife that he's dealing with this nightmare? And all so that the Komedy-Drunk-Old-Biddie could flirt with the red riding joke? Sympathy gone.

She babbles all the way up the stairs to his room about her disappeared, drunk of a husband and thankfully soon arrives at the room for rent. Doctor Glendon receives a bit of positive feeling from me when he practically slams the door in the woman's face and locks the door without so much as a 'thank you'.

Scene 33: In the room, Wilfred begs the ether that this thing not happen to him. He crosses the darkened room and pray to God that he not change again. After he goes and closes his windows on the sounds of chirping birds, he sits down at the sill - in the moonlight - and begs that if he must change, then that he would stay away from Lisa.

Unfortunately, the first prayer is not answered as he hoped. He begins to change through some earlier timelapse and the age old cutting away and back.

Commentary: I wish I could tell you the scene was full of pathos, but I don't find it to be so. In fact, at this point, we've spent so much time with domestic scenes of a marriage in stress that I just want the movie to be over, already. I should point out that what has come up to now has not been painful or necessarily boring - but it isn't much of a monster film either (in fact I'm reminded of my review of 'The Creature Walks Among Us', but with a less repugnant main character).

Scene 34: Downstairs, the old woman landlord hears the howl of the werewolf and comes out curious as to the racket coming from upstairs. In his room, Doctor Glendon jumps out through the window from the second story. The old landlord hears the racket and hesitantly goes upstairs. She's soon joined by her Komedy-Old-Biddie partner in crime that she had punched out.

As they reach the rented room, her 'best friend' returns the favor of earlier by punching out the landlady and stealing her pass key to enter the room - it's funny, see.

The 'best friend' screams in alarm (over a broken window?)....

Scene 35: We fade out. When we come back, we're at the London Zoo where the wolves are howling and have been for some time. The guard opens the front gate to admit his floozy and they have a kissing session. What the two lovebirds don't know, is that the Werewolf is in the zoo - and that is what has the wolves acting up. They are very unhappy with his being nearby.

The guard complains about his bad behavior - as he has wife and kids at home. Floozy points out he doesn't love his wife and kids - he loves her. Obviously, she'll have to be punished for leading the family man astray, especially suggesting that he doesn't love his tykes. They repair to a bench where they can make out some more.

Somehow, Wolf Man accidentally opens a wolf cage (and despite the fact that 'wolves' is used consistently in dialog, we see one mere canine stuck in a concrete cage with some straw all on its own). With the cage door open, the wolf bolts. The werewolf continues toward the necking couple.

Commentary: This scene makes zero sense because it is so wretchedly blocked. With the editing, the wolf would have had to jump right into Glendon-Wolf to escape its cell. I also find it highly unlikely that the zoo would have doors that bumbing into slides open. It's ridiculous.

Back at the bench of love, Guard is complaining to Floozy that the wolves won't shut up. She is busy complaining about his pasty scarecrow of a wife. She tries to convince him that he's going to leave his family and run away with her - but he gives her a non-committed 'maybe' before going back to the liplocking. In the meanwhile, we can see Werewolf stalking them from the rear of the scene.

There is the sound of one of the zoo wolves making a loud... I don't know what sound... a pained howl, maybe - though that makes zero sense, too. Anyway, on the good side, we see that 'wolves' was accurate. There are three other wolves besides our escapee - each one in their own concrete cell.

Commentary: Scenes like this always make me sad for the animals. The London Zoo was obviously cruel to its animals. They're stuck in these concrete prison cells, isolated from one another (which is very bad for social animals like wolves) with no shelter from the weather. What in the hell were they thinking? Even if zoos have come a long way in creating whole environments for their animals, how could zoos at this time not understand that giving no room for the animals to wander and keeping them with no company to interact with wasn't good for them? See also, the panther in 'Cat People (1942)'.

Scene 36: Floozy takes this opportunity to look in her compact and check her makeup. She sees Werewolf and is taken aback. Unlike her idiot-sisters though, she doesn't just sit there screaming, but immediately makes a run for her life, so there's that. Of course, the Wolf Man pursues. She's presumably killed off screen.

Scene 37: Back with Komedy-Old-Biddies, landlady is on the stairs busy getting drunk on a bottle of cheap hooch. Best Friend comes in, claiming to not have been able to sleep until she checked on her. She asks if the lodger is back but the answer is no. We see landlady's bottle of alcohol sitting at her side, but when Best Friend asks if she has any drink, she says no and it's such a shame. KOMEDY.

Their *cough*humorous*cough* dialog is interrupted by a wolf howl. The landlady goes up to the second floor, wondering how her renter got in past her. Best Friend spots the bottle on the steps and *comically* grabs it to sneak a drink. It's *cough*funny*cough*.

Landlady screams as she spots through the keyhole something awful. She calls out to Best Friend to join her as she slips the bottle into her skirt. Best Friend takes a look through the keyhole:

More Komedy ensues with the scared Komedy-Old-Biddies who are possibly Komedy-Drunk-Old-Biddies... it's not worth recapping. Another howl gets them running for landlady's apartment.

Scene 38: We fade cut. We're now in Scotland Yard the next day, where the papers are reporting on the zoo killing. The Chief of the Yard is fit to be tied with the utter lack of progress on the other death, let alone this new one. The papers are questioning the force's competence and he threatens to fire the lot of them if they don't find some sort of leads to who has murdered the two women.

Scene 39: In his room, Dr. Yogami is sadly looking at the second flower blossom, which is now dead like the first. He picks up his phone. We fade cut to the Chief Inspector's office where Paul introduces the doctor to the Chief Inspector. Why Yogami called Paul is left unexplained. Especially, since Yogami and the Chief Inspector have a prior relationship, which we hear about here. Seven years in the past, Yogami involved the Inspector in a case involving a model with Lycanthropy.

Commentary: We find out here that the Chief Inspector is Paul's uncle which we may have been able to figure out earlier through scenes with the old lady with the cane, but at that time we didn't know he was going to be another major character introduced....

So, Yogami basically states they have a werewolf on their hands which is what Paul suggested earlier to his uncle. Yogami warns that there will be two more nights of murders and then they will return the following month and so on.

Yogami pleads with the Chief Inspector to seize control of the flowering plant in Glendon's lab and have England's scientists figure out the plant's secrets to head off these bloody doings. Obviously, the Inspector poo-poos all of this, telling Yogami that it is only a regular wolf causing the current mayhem (which ignores the first woman was killed prior to the zoo escape), but we have the feeling that he's gained the interest of Paul.

In fact, Paul does recall that the wolf escaped couldn't be responsible for the first woman's death, but the Inspector seems focused on capturing and killing the animal as the answer to stopping the attacks, despite the clear flaw in logic. Yogami repeats that the wolf is irrelevant.

Scene 40: Wilfred returns to his lab to find his assistant doing something with a syringe and a flask of colored liquid, because that equals SCIENCE. The bud on the plant has still refused to open, despite the night long bathing by the artificial light. The assistant is sure they just need one more night to force it opened, but Dr. Glendon recalls those newspaper headlines describing his killing spree. He imagines future headlines, including his wife's murder as one of the victims and his assistant notices his (overacted) distress.

Dr. Glendon insists to Hawkins that he can't stay and makes the man promise to tell no one that he arrived at all. He stumbles out, leaving the Hawkins staring after him, bewildered by his employer's behavior.

Scene 41: Glendon has driven to an immense castle. We'll find out that this is Lisa's parents home - before their deaths that are only now confirmed. Again, the doctor insists to the groundsman that no one from Mrs. Groundsman to his own wife be told that he is there. He states he needs to be alone in order to think.

In order to further isolate himself, he tells Groundman that he's going to go off to a mulchrest that hasn't been used in years.

Scene 42: He further gives the Groundsman more pause after they reach the disused building and Wilfred leaves instructions to lock him inside and not open the door until sunrise, even if he calls to be let out.

Scene 43: Alas, Lady Fate hates werewolves and the women who love them. Lisa, bringing Paul with her, decides to visit her family homestead and relive memories of her childhood. Paul is also happy to revisit where he spent so much of his childhood playing and/or fighting with 'Lee'.

Commentary: Also, during Paul and Lisa's speaking in the car it is clearly daylight - when they get out of the car to walk up to the house, it's nighttime. Quite the lo-o-o-o-ong driveway.

Paul takes the opportunity during rehashing childhood laughter to express is love for Lisa, but she tells him to stop saying it. She tells him they've been through it all before and it is simply no use - she cares for him deeply, but she isn't in love with him.

Scene 44: In the mulchrest (which as far as I can tell is some sort of fire spotters/fighters base in the woods), Wilfred is undergoing his transformation. Paul is continuing to tell Lisa that she isn't happy and if only she could come 'round to caring for him again....

Thankfully, she replies that even if she could, she wouldn't tell him. She also tells him that he's the one making her unhappy with his talk. It appears that Lisa is interested in her marriage, even if it is a bit rough going at the moment. Good for her.

Lisa and Paul pass the mulchrest, which allows Werewolf-Wilfred to spot them walking together. This is obviously distressing to our Wolf Man and he pulls out some iron bars over the window in order to escape and go after the 'cheaters'.

The old friends race to the wall of the mulchrest, while the Werewolf has jumped the two stories to the ground below....

Lisa wins the race, but she was given a 10-pace headstart by Paul so....

The Werewolf-Glendon creature comes out of the bushes and when Lisa spots him, she lets out a scream - and Paul should be at her side by now - the man is too old to be racing, obviously. The Wolf Man gets Lisa on the ground in a strangling grip, but is distracted by Paul's yell.

While Lisa recovers on the ground, Paul and Glendon-wolf wrestle until Paul can subdue him with a branch over the head. He picks up Lisa and they retreat to the house.

Scene 45: The following day, Paul in back in the Chief of Scotland Yard's office (his uncle, remember) and insisting that he fought with a werewolf and it was Glendon. The Chief isn't willing to take his word for it and there appears to be exculpatory evidence against Glendon being a killer werewolf as a murder matching the previous has been reported at the hotel in London. With 150 miles separating Lisa's ancestral home from the hotel, there is no way that Glendon could be their murderer if Paul is so sure he wrestled the man the night before.

Commentary: As we know, however, Dr. Yogami was in town and out of flower buds....

Scene 46: At the hotel, as the Inspector is getting the details of the chambermaid's wounds - Paul finds the mysterious buds in the trashcan. Paul tells of Dr. Yogami's assertion that Glendon has an unusual plant. That's enough to convince his uncle to at least go out to the manor to ask some questions.

Scene 47: An manhunt is called for both Doctors Glendon and Yogami for questioning. In the meanwhile, Lisa and Aunt Ettie are staying at Glendon Manor, locked in. As the police search for any trace of the two men, Wilfred is returning home through a secret door in the greenhouse floor(?!). Hawkins helps the scientist up and they go immediately to the lab where Wilfred enquires as to whether the bud of the plant has bloomed yet. The answer is no, but it looks like it wants to. Hawkins is dismissed with instructions not to mention that he's seen the doctor.

While Glendon is checking the status of the bud, down a set of stairs sneaks Dr. Yogami, who had already broken into the lab sometime earlier. Just as the flower finally blooms, Wilfred takes that rather ridiculous moment to wash his hands! Thus is it that Dr. Yogami can snip the flower and jab himself with the stem.

Wilfred confronts Doctor Yogami about his having brought the curse upon him during that attack in Tibet. Yogami makes a run for it, but Wilfred snatches him at the staircase (going where? The lab is pretty
firmly established as being on the GROUND FLOOR). They wrestle with the changing Glendon clawing at Yogami's throat, while the innoculated man beats at him with his cane.

The two men take to trying to strangle each other and Lisa and Ettie hear the sounds of the struggle through a glass shattering. Meanwhile, the two scientists wrestle around the lab like the older-middle aged men they are. Glendon has changed at this point, putting the unchanged Yogami at a distinct disadvantage. Yogami takes his exit.

Glendon follows up with a wolf howl, which Lisa and Ettie hear from the bedroom where they've locked themselves.

Scene 48: From the bedroom balcony, Lisa and Ettie spot her previous attacker crossing the grounds toward the house. Ettie jumps on the phone. She's informed that the police are already on their way to Glendon Manor. In the meanwhile, Lisa sees the Wolf Man climbing over the railing. The women make a break for downstairs, while Wilfred breaks into his wife's bedroom from outside.

He briefly pursues, punching through the bedroom door (which I think Lisa had the presence of mind to lock from the outside as she left by the looks of it - smart girl) when he's distracted by the sound of Paul arriving with a honk of his car horn, the police close behind. With his arrival spotted, the Werewolf leaps down from the second floor on top of Paul. The two men struggle against one another for the second time. Paul is only saved this time by Glendon-wolf spotting Lisa through the door glass terrified. He leaves the limp Paul to resume his pursuit of her.

Smashing his way in, Lisa stares into the wild face of her husband, while Ettie uselessly faints. Lisa backs away and up the stairs, and alas, Wilfred doesn't take the opportunity to slit the throat of Ettie while she's lying helpless. Instead he tracks up the stairs after his wife as she tries to reach him by saying her name over and over.

Just as he's reaching for her - and we don't know whether it was in violence, or because she was getting through to him - a gunshot rings out. He tumbles down the stairs and we see that the shooter is Paul's uncle. Paul has managed to recover by this time as well and joins the police force in the foyer as everyone stares at Wilfred lying on the carpet.

Glendon lies dying, but unfortunately lives long enough to give us a florid soliloquy about his being grateful for the bullet and his apologies to Lisa for not making her happier (gag). Thankfully he finally dies off before he can get around to telling her to be happy with Paul, because I was really afraid that was what was coming next.

Being a werewolf who gets killed, he naturally changes back to human face....

Commentary: The other complaint I've read for this film is that Glendon is fought off far too easily and killed with no real effort. I can co-sign that to a certain extent. Paul does quite well against him in their first confrontation and here a regular shot to the back puts him down for the count. There is no silver bullet needed, no 'having to be killed by someone who loves him' clause and no immortality as long as he's exposed to the moon out. A simple police bullet, a nauseating speech and he's dead. It also took him quite the effort to kill Yogami, despite the other man not having any claws - so clearly he wasn't the savagely strong monster we're used to seeing when we think werewolf. I don't find that particularly objectionable - just different from what we've accepted as the norm.

The Chief Inspector tells Lisa that in his reports, he will state that he shot Glendon on accident as he tried to protect his wife.

Commentary: Which is an awfully generous thing for him to do - of course, there weren't the legal buzzards hanging over the police the way there are nowadays - but still - to accept blame for an accidental shooting rather than trash Lisa's husband's reputation by reporting his attempt to kill her... well, I just find that honorable and decent of him.

Weirdly - we end not on Glendon's fallen body - but on a shot of smoky fog rising, a sunrise breaking, and what I'm presuming to be Paul's plane returning to America!

The Good: I like both Henry Hull and Warner Oland's work in this.

The secondary characters (Ettie, the grandmother, Paul) receive more than generous screen time to establish some sort of characterization.

The flower is a different spin on the werewolf mythos, which makes it interesting.

The Bad: The tertiary characters (the drunken landlord and her friend, Hawkins, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard) also receive more than generous screen time and shouldn't.

The Komedy relief.

The lack of real savagery in any of the attacks - which take place off screen and who's aftermath is never viewed is a problem to this modern set of eyes. The only blood we see is claw marks down the side of Doctor Yogami's face as he's being throttled by Glendon.

There is a misogynistic bent to the film in that all of the victims are women. Surely they could have provided one male victim of an attack - the zoo guard, perhaps? I'm not counting Dr. Yogami as avoiding this undercurrent because he was the other werewolf and ergo, had to die at Glendon's hands so it was a forgone conclusion from the beginning.

Glendon's last words... urg.

The script introduces concepts only to then bungle or suddenly drop them without comment or development: Ettie's interference in Wilfred and Lisa's marriage, the old ladies seeing the werewolf and knowing its link to Glendon, the weird blooming cycle of the flower, the escaped wolf, the animals reacting to the presence of the werewolf and Yogami's sense of guilt over Glendon's wolfish activities are all introduced, go nowhere and are forgotten.

The Score: While not a bad film at all, there is a lot of time spent on characters and situations that have nothing to do with the werewolf story. I can point to the garden party which lasts entirely too long and the comedy-stylings of the drunken biddies, which likewise go on too long. I do like the flower's background in the mythos, but it is really used as a MacGuffin here rather baldly, either blooming or not because the script needs it to. I also like the notion that the wolf is compelled to seek out that which it loves to kill, driving Glendon to seek out Lisa - although this idea could have been fleshed out more by showing the doctor struggling not to return home and failing. Instead, it comes across as him returning home voluntarily to get his hands on the flower and then transforming accidentally and stumbling toward the manor... it doesn't feel like he's being drawn to Lisa's location with any special impetus. If anything, he seems drawn to Paul to kill him more than to Lisa to kill her - and no, there is no slashtastic subtext in that observation. The story could have been focused much more on Wilfred and Yogami, curtailing much of the screen time of the secondary characters. Some of the film drags as we wait for Glendon to change and stalk but I had no problems in the presentation of the werewolf and more of a Jekyll/Hyde creature than a wolf in man's shape. I just wish it was more exciting or heartbreaking.

3.0 out of 5 - average.

This one was a real bear to post - lots of trouble with the photo upload even before the 'too long of a post' message that always irritates me.
Tags: review werewolf of london

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