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

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Oliver Reed
THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961). Director: Terence Fisher.

In a prologue, we meet a miserable landowner, the Marques Siniestro (Anthony Dawson), who wrongly imprisons a mute servant girl (Yvonne Romain), simply because she won't respond to his repulsive advances. In her cell the poor woman is raped by another prisoner (Richard Wadsworth), and then dies in child birth. Her son, Leon (Oliver Reed), is raised by the gentlemanly and compassionate Alfredo (Clifford Evans). Leon goes off to work for a wine merchant, and falls for the man's daughter, Christina (Catherine Feller). Christina's father objects to their romance, but Leon has a more serious problem -- when the moon is full the cursed man turns into a werewolf, running home to commit flesh-tearing murders. Director Fisher has done some excellent Hammer horror pictures, but somehow this misses, a victim of awkward continuity and Reed's overwrought performance, although the other cast members are good, especially Feller, and Hira Talfrey as the servant Teresa. Benjamin Frankel's musical score is a decided plus. This was based on Guy Endore's "Werewolf of Paris."

Verdict: A lesser Hammer despite the talent involved. **. 

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