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Two Frankensteins In One Film Together


TomJH
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A piece of minutia for those who care:

 

For those who watched The Guilty Generation, a minor Columbia gangster drama produced in 1931 that TCM played today. Boris Karloff has a small part as a gang leader in this drama which was released before he became a star that same year as the Frankenstein Monster.

 

In one of the film's earliest scenes Karloff first appears at the door of his son (played by Robert Young), with three henchmen behind him. Did anyone else notice that one of those henchmen was Glenn Strange, 13 years before he would inherit the role of the Monster in House of Frankenstein?

 

 

Strange who later, of course, played Sam the Bartender in Gunsmoke for years, towered over Karloff. I found it amusing to notice Karloff and Strange share the same frame on screen, one on the cusp of stardom as the Monster, the other never achieving the same celebrity status but having a bit of film immortality himself in the same role, even if not as many are familiar with his name today. Strange's best outing, by far, as the Monster would be in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

 

That's Strange to the left of Karlof in the picture below:

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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Robert Young almost quit the business during the making of THE GUILTY GENERATION. He showed up for his first day's shooting and was spotted by Harry Cohn who gave him a verbal beating.

 

"Here I am, paying you good money to play a gangster's son and you come dressed to work like a forking bum! You think that's how a gangster's son would dress?"

 

Apparently Cohn had a few more words before he finished. Robert Young wasn't aware that at Columbia, he was expected to supply his own wardrobe for what was a contemporary film.

 

The aforementioned HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN as well as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN both feature three actors who had played the monster in the series. Chaney and Karloff in the former and Chaney and Lugosi in the latter.

 

The director of THE GUILTY GENERATION would go on to direct SON OF FRANKENSTEIN at the end of the decade.

 

Just one big happy family. ;)

 

I saw Strange not long ago on an episode of THE RIFLEMAN, where as on GUNSMOKE, he was one of the few to come close to the leading man's height.

 

 

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Thanks for the info, clore.

 

Since Robert Young's character in The Guilty Generation doesn't want the world to know that he is the son of a gangster, I don't quite understand the logic of Harry Cohn's complaint.

 

However, since Young was a newcomer and Cohn was king of the lot, perhaps he didn't need to have logic. There are those who just enjoy being bullies, as well as the feeling that they haven't had a good day if they haven't had an argument.

 

As far as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN is concerned, somewhere I read (I can't recall the source, unfortunately) that Lon Chaney Jr. actually does one or two shots as the Frankenstein Monster in that film. I don't know if Glenn Strange had injured his back or what the problem was, but it apparently is Chaney (not Strange) that throws Lenore Aubert through the window in the film's climax in the operating room.

 

Strange was great in that film, far and away the most frightening of the four men who played the Frankenstein Monster in the Universal series. Karloff, as we know, brought a sense of pathos and humanity to the role, which would have been totally inappropriate in an Abbott and Costello comedy. Part of the reason that film holds up so well is because all the actors playing the monsters are in peak form in their parts, and all are quite frightening.

 

Strange had more screen time playing the Monster, ironically, in this film that kidded the Universal monsters than he did in his two previous "straight" outings as the Monster combined.

 

So who was the bigger monster . . .

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSAyN6LmeidjIjsNl7-u5G

 

Glenn Strange or . . .

 

HarryCohn.jpg

 

Harry Cohn

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willbe, I assume that you're refering to the Guilty Generation when you say that you think Karloff was miscast.

 

Actually I don't think he's half bad in the film (after all, he was playing gangsters in a number of films at that time, including Behind the Mask and, most famous of all, Scarface). Those who remember smiling Leo Carrillo as Pancho in The Cisco Kid series or any of a number of comedy roles might be a little taken aback at seeing him play a gangster in the film.

 

Constance Cummings, as Carrillo's daughter, always gave interesting, intelligent performances, I feel. It's a shame her film career ended as early as it did.

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As far as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN is concerned, somewhere I read (I can't recall the source, unfortunately) that Lon Chaney Jr. actually does one or two shots as the Frankenstein Monster in that film. I don't know if Glenn Strange had injured his back or what the problem was, but it apparently is Chaney (not Strange) that throws Lenore Aubert through the window in the film's climax in the operating room.

 

What happened was that Strange injured his ankle while stomping around in the boots and making a misstep. After he tosses Aubert out the window, you can see a definite Chaney gesture as the monster wrings his hands together. Chaney can be seen doing a similar movement in OF MICE AN MEN, HIGH NOON and THE DEFIANT ONES, usually at points where is character is indecisive.

 

Strange gave credit to both Chaney and Karloff for their favors. He said that Karloff would remain on the set of HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN to coach him in how to walk with the boots and other movements. A shame then that Strange didn't get much chance to show off what he had learned.

 

Strange also claimed that while laying in the cold mud for a whole day while shooting the cave scene in HOUSE OF DRACULA, Chaney came over to him with a flask with some booze in in to warm him up.

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> Since Robert Young's character in The Guilty Generation doesn't want the world to know that he is the son of a gangster, I don't quite understand the logic of Harry Cohn's complaint.

 

To be fair, Young's character is supposed to be a successful architect. At least, successful enough to get a contract to design multiple hotels; besides, he's already won an award for his designs. I'd think that calls for being well-dressed.

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As I recall, there's a shot of the monster in the background, from the POV of looking from the hall to the lab, and that's where you see the hand wringing. It happens right after the window bit.

 

I don't have a copy of the film to check. I will when it airs again. I have all of the other Universal films in the series from the various Legacy sets - in fact, it was the first release of them, the one with the bonus busts of Frankie, Drac and the Wolf Man.

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