Sunday, November 17, 2013
The Ghost of the House of Frankenstein
Trashing “Frankenstein” flicks I’m not bent on.
There are many worse films I could vent on.
But “The Ghost of...” and “House”
Were the work of a louse-
Y director whose name's Erle C Kenton.
Boris Karloff, director Erle C Kenton, Lon Chaney, Elena Verdugo and unknown, clowning around on the set of House of Frankenstein (1944), not exactly a step up from the director's previous monster pic, The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). Please welcome author Martin Pasko to LimerWrecks. We're pleased to have him, even though it's more than likely his appearance here is career suicide.
Text by Chuck Stephens for The Criterion Collection:
Erle Cauthorn Kenton (1896–1980) was the kind of Hollywood director Preston Sturges was born to lampoon. A Keystone Kop promoted to two-reeler director by Keystone Studios boss Mack Sennett,
Kenton—who directed, on average, three features a year from 1930 to 1950—had been working in movies, at every conceivable job, for a decade before they had sound. During Island of Lost Souls’ production, he occasionally dressed in Moreau’s white suit and cracked a little whip. Seen here, Kenton looks rather dashing; in full-face portraits, he resembles a cherubic Teddy Roosevelt. He even played Roosevelt, under his own direction, in 1936’s End of the Trail. His pre-Code career is legendary and stylish, from 1929’s Barbara Stanwyck sex-sation Mexicali Rose to 1934’s body-berserk Search for Beauty. And he made a few films in the thirties and forties that you’ve probably seen, if you’re of a certain generation and were weaned on late-night TV (W. C. Fields’s You’re Telling Me!, Abbott and Costello’s Pardon My Sarong, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula), plus many more you’ve never heard of but with titles too good to be true—as when 1937’s She Asked For It is followed by 1938’s The Lady Objects.