Movie Review: The Wolf Man (1941)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1941 classic monster film starring Lon Chaney, Jr.

Synopsis: Following his older brother's untimely death, Larry Talbot returns to his ancestral home to take his place as the next heir. While visiting some Gypsy fortune tellers with a local woman he is romantically interested in, Larry is attacked and bitten by a wolf. He kills the creature but learns it was really a werewolf and, since he has been bitten, he will become one too.


Since my wife had to work last night, I once again ended up having a movie night with my oldest daughter. I wasn't really in the mood for something new, however, so I ended up picking a classic we've seen a couple times before. This, as it turns out, was actually a good choice.

Even though I've seen this particular movie more times than I could count, I realized it had been a while since I last watched it and, because of that, there were some parts of the film I had forgotten about. As a result, the movie turned out to be pretty enjoyable for us.

I think the thing I like about this film is the way Larry Talbot (Chaney) is such a likable person. He's friendly, he's charming and, while he does cross a few lines, such as spying on his love interest (Ankers) using a telescope and pursuing her even though he knows she is engaged, is a pretty nice person.

The fact he gets bitten while trying to save someone (as opposed to being out hunting or just walking through the woods) also is a nice touch. It really is a good deed that gets punished.

One of the unsung characters in this film is the Gypsy Maleva (Ouspenskaya), who makes several appearances throughout the movie trying to help Larry. I found I really liked her, both because she was so mysterious and because she was willing to help the man who killed her own inflicted son (Lugosi). Lon Chaney, Jr. may have been the star of this film, but I don't think it would have been anywhere near as good without her.

Final Opinion

There are a lot of reasons why this film is considered a classic and, because of that, it is a movie we enjoy every time we watch it. If you have not seen this film or haven't seen it in a while, I recommend taking the time to do so.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 02/20/2016, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/10/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here has The Wolf Man among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. It also lists a 2010 remake as The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro. I plan to check them both out for back-to-back viewing and comparing.

Would you all happen to have seen the remake?

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