Wednesday, October 22, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 22 Movie 1
In a nice coincidence, both movies I watched today updated old standards and grafted them onto technology rather than the supernatural, and both with great results.
"The Werewolf" (1956) is a movie that seemed to be on tv all the time when I was a kid. I liked it a lot then, and was a bit concerned that my revist as an adult was going to be a let down, but no, I was very pleased with what I saw.
Duncan Marsh (Steven Rich) shows up in a remote town looking shell shocked and hunted. He has no idea who he is, if he's a stranger to that town, nothing. All he remembers is a car accident and two doctors who treated him afterwards. Marsh gets into an altercation with a local trying to mug him. The mugger ends up dead, looking like his throat was torn out by an animal. The deputy (Harry Lauter) gathers men to try and hunt down whoever, or what ever committed the murder. He in turn is attacked, but can't describe what by. Slowly the pieces start coming together. We discover that Marsh was the visctim of a scientific experiment that turned him into a wolfman. The sheriff (Don Megowan), some of the locals, and Marsh's family all try to bring Marsh in alive, but tragic circumstances brought on by the experimenting doctors lead to Marsh being hunted down instead.
Steven Rich is excellent as the anguished Duncan Marsh and he makes a pretty cool looking wererwolf who can change at will, night or day, maintains most, if not all of his intelligence, and wears his suit and tie the whole time. The rest of the cast is fine with no real standout performances. The cinematography in this is very nice, with some beautiful compositions occassionally appearing throughout. The script was very well done. It was nice to see a movie, particularly from this era in which there was no long exposition about lycanthropy with people dismissing it as superstitious nonsense. The characters have some complexity to them, and are sympathetic to Marsh's plight, making every effort to take him alive and unharmed, even knowing what he is.