The Wolf Man (1941) [review]

Some will say that a film like this has charm, partly due to the horror element which are very much of the decade it was released. I think it is the style of which the horror is dealt with in this film is something to be marvelled at. It is not a blood and gore film which tries to horrify the audience. Any moments of horror are semi out of sight and therefore we imagine the terror as we care for the characters.

This deals with the characters and their fears of the moments, themselves and what they can’t understand, what can’t be explained or what they refuse to believe… Because, of course a Wolf Man cannot exist, there must be some other explanation in a town such as this. People in their special fields of expertise trying to justify what is happening while others gossip and presume, not willing to listen to those who were involved with the situations.

This film is short by today’s standards, at an hour and ten minutes and fills every minute of screen time perfectly, with characters of all kinds, from the wealthier who look after the village, to the travelling types who believe in more than can be explained, to those who live in the town and must work for their money, a little resentful of those who are more than comfortable in their lifestyle.

While this may not delve too deeply into any of these subjects, it brings them up, giving us the perfect amount of information to keep us interested in the story. One which is a joy to watch as we see a man go through what he cannot truly comprehend or control, being an outsider due to the fact he’s been away from his own village for many years. In fact, he is probably just as trusted as the travellers who seem more down to earth and knowledgeable than town folk who judge without consideration.

This is a perfect way to spend your time… this really is a classic of not only the horror genre, but of film in general. It is a delight to watch a black and white film like this; it is certainly a film which tells the story of a werewolf in a way that many have tried and failed in matching the atmosphere and beauty of what we have here. This really is one of Universal Pictures greats.


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