Tonight on MeTV, we bring back Universal Studio's very first Wolf Man- as Henry Hull becomes the victim of a tragic curse that transforms him into the "Werewolf of London"!
Botanist Wilfred Glendon treks to Tibet in search of a rare flower which only blooms in the light of the full moon- but- just as he discovers it- he is attacked by a strange creature! Though bitten in the attack, he procures one specimen of the flower- the mariphasa- and brings it back to his botanic laboratory in England.
His lovely wife Lisa is trying to get Wilfred to leave his studies of the plant (amazing how Wilfred is always more preoccupied with the hothouse rather than this hottie) and mingle with visitors to their home- and one visitor, a Professor Yogami, seems intent on getting Wilfred's attention. He claims he met Wilfred in Tibet- though Wilfred doesn't recall their meeting- and relates a bizarre tale about the supernatural-warning that the bite the botanist received could cause him to become a werewolf- and that the mariphasa plant is the only antidote to such a transformation! Wilfred dismisses that as utter nonsense- but, during his experimentation, using a lamp that simulates moonlight- his hand is exposed to the light- and becomes furry! Things get even worse as the full moon rises, and he undergoes a complete transformation into a werewolf- and, thinking he can use the rare flower to stop the fearful change- finds that someone has stolen the only remaining blossoms that have bloomed!
This sets Wilfred out on the hunt in the streets of London-and , once he has returned to normal, has him feverishly attempting to get a new blossom blooming before he changes again; his strong focus on the cure making his strained relationship with his wife deteriorate further, as she turns to an old childhood sweetheart for comfort. With the flower taking its time to produce another blossom, Wilfred must try various ways to keep himself from causing harm to others, like renting a room in a ramshackle inn to lock himself in- but his savage nature still finds ways to break loose- and the city is gripped by the horror of more attacks. Will Wilfred prove right the old legend- that a werewolf will instinctively kill the one he loves the most?
This 1935 film is indeed the first werewolf film in the Universal horror catalog- preceding Lon Chaney Jr. making the role of the Wolf Man his own in 1941. We'll tell you about cast members like Henry Hull, Valerie Hobson, and Spring Byington- who went on to fame in early TV- as well as Warner Oland, who would find fame in the movies as a beloved character. We'll talk a little bit about the make-up- which brings us to something we have just gotten wind of- Courtland Hull, whose great uncle was the star of tonight's film, Henry Hull- has contacted me about some misinformation that has been passed around as fact for years- regarding the reason for Hull's make-up in the film. Though Courtland contacted me too late for us to make changes- please be watching when we present a DIFFERENT werewolf movie next month- in which I'll discuss the information. (So, blog commenters who might know the real facts- PLEASE keep them to yourself until after that future show airs).
"Werewolf of London" airs on MeTV tonight at10 pm eastern/pacific, 9 central, and, if unsure when or where we are on in your area, check your local TV listings or go to www.metv.com and click on "where to watch". In Chicago, local viewers can get another squinting look at "Dr. Cyclops" at 11 am on our sister station, the U - WCIU.
Her Majesty might not swap her Corgis for a different furry beast- but we hope you'll opt for a spot of tea and some full moon fright tonight!