Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Monster speaks! But not with Bela's voice!

The year was 1943. Bela Lugosi was in the middle of a series of low budget nightmares produced by Monogram Studios. As always, Bela gave each movie role he was in 110% of his acting ability. Abilities that the low budget studios certainly did not deserve. Over at Universal there was a new Monster Movie resurgence. The public tired of the real scares of world war 2, wanted some make believe frights. Bela returned to Universal to portray a movie monster that he originally turned down. That monster was of course Frankenstein's monster. He played Igor in both SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. At the end of Ghost, Igor's brain was placed in the Monster's body! So it would follow that the monster would now speak in Igor's voice. And at the end of Ghost, he did! But, because the Evil Doctor did not match up blood types, the Igor-enstein was blind! We last saw the monster stumbling about a fire engulfed house and perishing in the flames. Flash ahead to FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. Lon Chaney as the moon cursed Wolf Man is looking for a cure. He travels to Bavaria and seeks the information inside the book written by Dr. Frankenstein, The Secrets of Life and Death. He comes across the burn scarred Monster while in the middle of his search. Although still blind, the monster also cannot speak. Reason? Because the execs at Univ. thought the monster looked too silly to have the voice of Bela coming from it! So, in the film you will see Bela's lips moving very slightly and no sound coming out. WHAT A TRAVISTY! The reason this makes no sense for Univ. to have done this tampering, is that Bela's voice coming from the Monster in Ghost was creepy and amusing at the same time. A great dis-service to cinema and monster history. Here is a great still from this very under-rated film in the Frankenstein series.


Ken Mitchroney said...

I wonder if he did record and the Mag tracks are sitting in a spool somewhere in the vaults at Universal.
Now that would be a find , huh?

Jeff Adcock said...

The way I understand it, the original cut shown to preview audiences had Bela's voice audible in some scenes but the howls of unintended laughter led to editing some monster/Talbot dialog scenes out of the picture(and at least one, mentioned by John, kept in but with Bela's voice muted.) So if they could find those deleted scenes and the mag tracks, what a great restored version this would be!