The Wolf Man
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"Even a man who is pure at heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms/And the moon is full and bright." Upon first hearing these words, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) dismisses them as childish folderol. After all, this is the 20th Century; how can a human being turn into a werewolf? Talbot soon learns how when he attempts to rescue Jenny Williams (Fay Helm) from a nocturnal attack by a wolf. Collapsing, Talbot discovers upon reviving that Jenny is dead-and, lying by her side, is not the body of a beast, but of a gypsy named Bela (Bela Lugosi). The son… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Wolf Man is a compactly-knit tale of its kind, with good direction and performances by an above par assemblage of players, but dubious entertainment."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"There's undeniable magic within the staid format."
‑ Don Macpherson, Time Out
"This Universal classic not only established Lon Chaney Jr as a horror star but also instigated most of the cinematic werewolf lore concerning pentagrams, the Moon and the fatality of silver."
‑ Alan Jones, Radio Times
"Chaney may appear to have had a bad run-in with a hair dryer, but he's still the definitive villain as tragic hero."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"A feast of horror, for animals of all kinds."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A stodgy Universal thriller from 1941, redeemed by a name-heavy cast and by Lon Chaney Jr.'s lumbering, affable performance in the title role."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The original and only entry in the Wolf Man series that I truly like. Lon Chaney, Jr. was born to play the troubled Larry Talbot, a guy who gets bitten by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi) and openly laments his future as the hairiest man in Europe. Nicely done."
‑ Paul Chambers, Movie Chambers
"Even with a canon that includes the definitive versions of (among others) Frankenstein, Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera, this 1941 classic has always remained my favorite of the studio's prolific output."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"A film of sometimes uncertain greatness that is nonetheless the most entertaining and effective Universal monster movie since Bride of Frankenstein."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"A classic despite its flaws."
‑ Steve Biodrowski, ESplatter
"Without any build-up either by the scriptwriter or director, he is sent onstage, where he, looks a lot less terrifying and not nearly as funny as Mr. Disney's big, bad wolf."
‑ Theodore Strauss, New York Times
"Horror movies today rely on gore and as many jump out of your seat moments as they can throw at you. This one relies on old fashioned atmosphere and acting ability and that's all it really needs."
‑ Scott Nash, Three Movie Buffs
"Most horrifying is the potential inability to sway our own innately darker tendencies."
‑ Rob Humanick, Projection Booth
"The Wolf Man's tantamount pleasures are its economy and speed, its silvery manipulations of light and shadow, and the panache with which the lighting, the story, and the rich cast navigate [its] tone."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"In spite of its age, the emotional impact, and sheer terror hasn't lost its punch with great performances, and a tragic ending."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Film Threat
More reviews for The Wolf Man on Rotten Tomatoes

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