Well, I mentioned on Monday that this week is the Boris Karloff Blogathon over at the awesome blog, Frankensteinia. There are over 100 blogs participating in this event to celebrate Boris Karloff’s 122nd birthday.
This past October, for my Halloween celebration called AWESOME-tober-fest, my theme was Frankenstein and I reviewed the three original Boris Karloff Universal Frankenstein movies; Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein. In each of these, Karloff played the role that he made famous, the Frankenstein monster. All were fantastic movies and, to me, earned their status as classics.
However, after Son of Frankenstein, Karloff did not return to the role of the monster in any Universal motion picture. The fourth Frankenstein movie, Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) featured The Wolf Man’s Lon Chaney Jr as the monster. The fifth movie, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1944) had Dracula’s Bela Lugosi in the monster role. Interestingly, Lugosi was originally offered the Frankenstein monster role in Universal’s 1931 movie but turned it down thinking it was beneath him to play a mindless brute. This rebuttal lead the way for Karloff to take over the role. Glenn Strange would then assume the monster role in this movie, House of Frankenstein (1944) as well as Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and House of Dracula (1945).
So, House would be the third Universal Frankenstein movie to not feature Karloff in the role of the monster, but Karloff did return to star in this movie. And this is the movie I decided to review for the Boris Karloff Blogathon.
So, yes, Universal was able to get Karloff to return to the Frankenstein franchise, but not as the monster. Karloff instead plays the mad scientist, Dr Gustav Niemann. It’s also interesting to note that Universal tried to get Bela Lugosi to reprise the role of Dracula for this movie, but the actor had a last minute scheduling conflict and John Carradine was hired as Dracula instead.