I watched the 1941 Universal Pictures movie The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. on Svengoolie. It was his first appearance as, Larry Talbot, The Wolf Man, but he would reprise his role in four sequels. He is also the only actor to play all four of the classic monsters; Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolf Man, and Dracula. This was the second Universal werewolf film, the first being the 1935 Werewolf of London.
Bela the gypsy fortuneteller was played by Bela Lugosi (Dracula, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Death Kiss, Night of Terror, Son of Frankenstein), Evelyn Ankers plays Gwen Conliffe (The Ghost of Frankenstein, Captive Wild Woman, Son of Dracula, The Mad Ghoul, Jungle Woman, Weird Woman, The Invisible Man’s Revenge, and The Frozen Ghost), Claude Rains plays Sir John Talbot (The Invisible Man, The Prince and the Pauper, Phantom of the Opera),
and Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva, the Romani Fortune Teller (a Russian actress and acting teacher. She achieved success as a stage actress as a young woman in Russia, and as an elderly woman in Hollywood films). The movie starts with a definition of Lycanthropy and Wolf’s-bane and the famous poem are legendary from this movie. Originally, the movie was titled Destiny, but this was changed to The Wolf Man by the time it premiered.
In one deleted scene, Talbot wrestles a 600-pound ursine. The sequence was shot on a sound stage, wherein the bear spent most of its time chained to a pole. At one point, it broke free—and immediately charged towards Ankers! “I never ran so fast in all my life,” she said in retrospect. Fueled by adrenaline, Ankers bolted up a ladder and into the studio rafters. An electrician who happened to be up there hauled her onto a platform. Down below, the bear was eventually brought under control by its trainer. I will give this classic film 3.75 out of 5 stars.
- Lycanthropy is a mental illness that is classified as a type of psychosis. It is characterized by the belief that the person has been transformed into a wolf or other animal. People with lycanthropy may experience delusions and hallucinations that are related to their belief that they have been transformed into an animal. People with lycanthropy may also feel persecuted by others and believe that they are being hunted or chased by animals. They may become very agitated and paranoid and may exhibit violent behavior. Lycanthropy can be a very debilitating condition and can significantly impair the person’s ability to function normally in everyday life.