Halloween Review – “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”

One more comedic entry, before we go back to the
traditional Halloween fare.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Bud Abbott as Chick Young

Lou Costello as Wilbur Grey

Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s monster

Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man

Lenore Aubert as Sandra Mornay

Written by Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, and John

Directed by Charles T. Barton

Complete information is available from the

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca
I should mention that those links aren’t just to
this movie. There
was an individual release a few years ago, but it’s
hard to find, and
it’s the same price as The Best of Abbott and
Vol. 3
, which is what I linked to. You’ll get
this movie if you
buy that set, along with six other non-genre
entries, and Abbott
and Costello meet the Invisible Man
isn’t the same
Invisible Man as in the horror movies. He’ll be on
DVD on October

Past movie reviews can be found here.


Abbott and Costello meet all sorts of characters, but
Frankenstein. They meet Frankenstein’s monster,
Dracula, and the Wolf
Man, but not the scientist. (I find this amusing,
given the title.)
They’re trying to help the Wolf Man prevent Dracula
from restoring
Frankenstein’s monster to his full strength.

High Point

The attempts to escape the castle in the midst of the

Low Point

The older comedy conventions of obvious set-ups for
punchlines. For
example, at one point, Costello tells Abbott to do
something “with no
back talk!” There hasn’t been any back talk to lead
up to that task;
it’s purely there to set up a gag.

The Scores

This was an original idea. They had
successfully combined
monster movies, it’s true, but I give a lot of credit
to the person
who took a great comedy team, partnered it with three
horror icons, and actually made it work. It’s a
genre blending that
rarely works, even fifty years later with that much
time to learn and
model on this movie. It’s almost enough to convince
me to shell out
$25 for the Abbott and Costello Meet the
DVD at the
local Best Buy, even though I’m pretty sure Universal
will announce
The Best of Abbott and Costello Vol. 4 with
that included for
November. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are poor, but not too bad when
compared to the
movie’s contemporaries. They weren’t convincing, but
they didn’t have
the technology to do anything else. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The story must have been extremely
challenging to write. On
one hand, it’s pretty simple, and depends a fair
amount on
coincidence. On the other hand, the coincidences
aren’t all that
unlikely, and the difficulties in blending the genres
so thouroughly
would have been significant. The fact that it’s not
a complete bomb
says a lot about the time and effort spent to get it
right. Both
sources are treated with respect and dignity. The
monsters are still
monsters; it’s Abbott and Costello who provide the
humour. It even
has some truly subtle moments to it, particularly
with foreshadowing
at the scene where the luggage is offloaded for the
first time. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is drastically overdone. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent. It’s a
comedy that made
me laugh from start to finish, even while watching it
for the second
time in a month. I’m very impressed. I give it 5
out of 6.

The production is decent. Comic editing is
excellent. The
lighting is perfect for the mood, but in no way
natural. (Candles
cast shadows, for instance.) I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an amusing, if dated movie.
Anyone who is
willing to sit through black and white movies should
give it a
chance. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Abbott and Costello Meet
receives 30
out of 42.

Halloween Countdown to date

One reply

  1. continuity

    As you say, it respects both genres. It’s a funny, old-school comedy, which manages to be as much in continuity with Universal’s Monster Cycle as any of the others in the series. It’s also the only other feature-length film, after Dracula, with Lugosi as the Count.

    I recall my high point being Lou’s interaction with Larry Talbot (“You and a million other guys”), but I haven’t seen this in years. I’m going to watch it again this weekend.

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