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Tales of Frankenstein

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Made-for-tv film (1958). Hammer Film Productions/Columbia Pictures Corporation for Columbia Pictures Television. Directed by Curt Siodmak. Produced by Michael Carreras. Screenplay by Henry Kuttner, C L Moore (credited as Catherine Kuttner) and Jerome Bixby (uncredited) from a story treatment by Siodmak based on Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818; rev 1831) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Cast includes Richard Bull, Anton Diffring, Don Megowan and Helen Westcott. 28 minutes. Black and white.

In the nineteenth century, Baron Frankenstein (Diffring) has completed the recreation of the traditional Frankenstein Monster (Megowan), but cannot bring the creature fully to life owing to problems with the substandard brains from executed murderers which he has so far used. This difficulty is conveniently solved when Christine Halpert (Westcott) and her terminally ill sculptor husband Paul (Bull) arrive seeking his help. Paul agrees to a "treatment" from the Baron without realizing exactly what is involved, and shortly thereafter awakens in the body of the Monster. After an all too predictable though mercifully brief rampage, the creature is destroyed and the Baron arrested for grave robbery and other offences.

This was a pilot for an unmade Television series with a narrative introduction using stock footage from Universal horror films. It is unclear what format was intended for later segments had the series been approved. Some sources suggest that it would have followed Baron Frankenstein through assorted further adventures; others, that it would have comprised unrelated tales of horror in sf in a weekly anthology format. Whether the pilot film was ever actually broadcast in the US is uncertain; it has since fallen into the public domain, and is available in home DVD releases as well as online. [GSt/DRL]


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