Joseph Cotten and Rosalba Neri star in this suprisingly good European horror film. St. Clair Vision Canada R0 DVD - public domain.
in Gothic Europe, Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotten) and his assistant
Dr. Marshall (Paul Muller) are taking receipt of a freshly dug up human
corpse from the local graverobber Lynch (Herbert Fux) - the Baron
then requests that Lynch obtain him a fresh human corpse - dead no more
than 6 hours. The next morning, the Baron's daughter Tania (Rosalba
Neri) arrives home after completing her University course in medicine,
and she is eager to join in her father's work, but he is unwilling to
let her. Eventually the Baron and Dr. Marshall complete their work and
sucessfully re-animate their self-constructed man, but with the brain
of a criminal in his head, he turns on, and kills the Baron before
escaping the castle. Trying to save her father's name, and stop the
creature's rampage of death across the countryside, Tania insists on
continuing the experimentation to design a second creature who will be
able to fight the first...
Inspired by the Universal horror
films, looking like the Hammer films, and containing a fair dose of
European style blood and nudity, Lady Frankenstein
works surprisingly well. Taking only a very loose inspiration from
Mary Shelley, the script is a simple gothic horror story, with
a hint of romance. Generally well written, with enough
characterisation to make it interesting, the film builds up to a good
climax. The American cut of the film (reviewed here) was substanually altered, and is missing about
15 minutes of plot, hence there are some random jumps in the storylines
that don't seem to make much sense, certainly the viewer should not
expect any clever twists or
moral messages. Relatively slow paced the story is interspersed with random
sequences of the creature attacking villagers, obviously used to notch up the
death and gore count.
Director Mel Welles
does a decent job here with some relatively plain direction that lets
the story tell itself. More impressive are the gothic sets for
Frankenstein's castle with look very nice, with a rather understated
lab more akin to the Hammer films than the massive, elaborate
get-ups that the Universal Frankenstein's were able to use. An all star
euro-cult cast is present including Jess Franco's favourite Paul Muller
giving a very good performance as Dr. Marshall, the always attractive
Rosalba Neri as the Lady and character actor Herbert Fux in top sleazy
form as the graverobber. American actor Joseph Cotten, as Frankenstein
himself, seems to be slumming it here compared to his better known Hollywood roles, but
still manages to give a good performance.
Lady Frankenstein could never really be called a good
film, but it works very well as an exploitation horror picture and
never tries to over-reach itself. Boosted by a good cast and some solid
production values it comes partly recommended to euro-horror fans.
Anyone famous in it?
Joseph Cotten - best known for his lead roles in The Third Man (1949) and Citizen Kane (1941). Rosalba Neri - the belle of Italian cult cinema who also starred in Jess Franco's 99 Women (1969).
Directed by anyone interesting?
Welles - an American actor who moved to Europe in the 1960s to shoot
and produce a variety of films, most of them now forgotten.
Some violence and blood.
Several female topless scenes.
Who is it for?
Partly recommended to euro-exploitation fans and a good one for fans of Rosalba Neri.
1.33:1 Fullscreen (there is some noticable cropping from the 1.85:1 OAR, the title sequence is letterboxed). Colour The
print is of an acceptable quality, very grainy with minor print damage
throughout and a general softness akin to a VHS. The digital transfer
is strong though with no noticable artifacting.
English stereo - the audio is generally good although there is some crackling and hiss throughout.
Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
Other versions available?
are various other releases of this public domain print. DVD Drive-in
have released a "special edition" in the US, but this is heavily
cropped at the top and bottom of the print as well as the sides. A
German edition is believed to be forthcoming at this time with the
original European cut of the film (although this has been on the cards
for several years already).
None known on this print - this is the American version of the film, the original European cut runs 15 minutes longer.
An effective piece of euro-exploitation horror with a good cast and decent production values. Partly recommended.
An acceptable DVD release, available very cheaply. Worth getting until the long awaited German DVD emerges.