Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

SHE-WOLF OF LONDON


SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946). Director: Jean Yarbrough.

In turn of the century London, Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart), is excitedly planning her wedding with fiance Barry Lanfield (Don Porter). But her hopeful plans for the future take a backseat to fear and terror when she believes she's become a victim of the Allenby lycanthropic curse, as she wakes up covered in dirt and blood only to learn that there's been another terrible murder in the park outside the estate. Her Aunt Martha (Sara Haden) tries to calm her fears to no avail, and Phyllis tries to break off her engagement with Lanfield. Meanwhile Scotland Yard goes on the hunt for the wild animal or psychotic human who's been savaging children and adults in the park. Taking place some time earlier, this appears to have no connection to Werewolf of London. While the picture is well-acted and well-produced, and keeps you guessing as to who exactly the "she-wolf" might be -- Phyllis, her cousin Carol (Jan Wiley), Aunt Martha, housekeeper Hannah (Eily Malyon)? -- the ending is a notorious cheat. Still, this is fast-moving and entertaining. Martin Kosleck has a small role -- a romantic part for a change -- as Carol's mystery lover, Dwight Severn. June Lockhart makes a very appealing heroine, and Sara Haden is quite effective (if a little obvious) in a role very different from Mickey Rooney's Aunt Milly in the Andy Hardy films.

Verdict: Fun, if you get past the disappointing ending.**1/2.

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