Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Lady Frankenstein

Lady Frankenstein - poster finalCinema Monolith: 2/10
IMDb: 4.7/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: BOMB

Released in Italy on October 22, 1971 and in the US in October, 1973
Rated R
99 minutes

Directed by Mel Welles

Written by Edward Di Lorenzo

Cast: Joseph Cotten, Rosalba Neri, Mickey Hargitay, Paul Muller, Peter Whiteman, Herbert Fux, Renate Kasché, Lorenzo Terzon, Joshua Sinclair, Herb Andress, Mel Welles (voice)

Please, pay no attention to this movie’s funky poster artwork, which depicts a lumpy humanoid creature—sporting a commendable codpiece—being injected with an unspecified fluid by a buxom, seductively evil woman in a form-fitting nightgown, with what looks like a torture chamber behind them: sadly, the actual product wasn’t quite as cool. With Lady Frankenstein, we had just another twisted take on the Frankenstein legend, this time starring Joseph Cotten as Baron Frankenstein and hot Italian actress Rosalba Neri (here credited as Sara Bay) as the Baron’s daughter Tania, recently graduated from medical school and wanting to join her father in his work.

From there, a few requisite Frankenstein plot developments played out, some typical ’70s horror conventions were present, and we had the novelty of father and daughter creating their own monsters…but mostly it was slow-going and cheap, with Neri’s Emily Blunt-like beauty and the short-lived presence of Cotten the only reasons to tune-in. That, and the fact that an actor playing a grave robber was named Herbert Fux.

Poor Joseph Cotten. A very good actor who did some solid work in such films as Citizen Kane and the film noir classic The Third Man, now reduced to slumming in foreign drive-in fare; at times he resembled a shopworn Forrest Tucker, and a tired one at that. As for the Frankenstein monster, he looked nothing at all like the classic image made famous by Boris Karloff; if anything, this version bore an uncanny resemblance to the tall, bald-headed alien played by Richard Kiel in an old Twilight Zone episode.

I can’t say the technical side of things were all that wonderful, either, what with the poor Italian-to-English dubbing, the awful sound effects track, and the overbearing, foghorn-like music that too often drowned out lines of dialogue. And just when the anticipated creation-vs-creation showdown was wrapping up, and some quality floor time between Tania and her monster was kicking into high-gear, the damn torch-bearing villagers showed up and put the kibosh on everything.

This is mostly for fans of schlock horror and those who can supply their own MST3K-like commentary; otherwise, I’m guessing you probably have something better to waste one hundred long minutes on. Actually, now that I think about it, what this film really needed was a good dose of Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy; unfortunately, he was busy on the set of The Werewolf vs Vampire Woman.  (2/10)

Lady Frankenstein - photo final 2

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Movies Reviewed: 159

From the Monolith: 87

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