Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Blu-ray) (1948)
Audio Commentary-Film historian Gregory W Mank
Featurette-Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters (33:18)
Featurette-100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)
Featurette-100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)
|Year Of Production||1948|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Charles Barton|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Lon Cheney Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Chick (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur (Lou Costello), who for some reason incomprehensible to Chick has the sophisticated and beautiful Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert) madly in love with him, are storemen in New York who deliver a shipment of two crates, sent from Europe, to McDougal’s House of Horror. Unknown to the pair, inside the two crates are Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange). The two monsters revive and leave; Wilbur sees them but Chick doesn’t and of course does not believe Wilbur! A few days later Larry Talbot / The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) arrives from London, seeking to locate and destroy Dracula and the Monster; he finds Chick and Wilbur and tries to enlist their help although he is hampered because it is the time of the full moon and he cannot help transforming into a werewolf. Attractive insurance investigator Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph) is also trying the find the missing contents of the crates; thinking that Wilbur may know she also expresses her love for him. So now Wilbur has two attractive women competing for his affection.
In reality, Sandra is in league with Dracula. She intends to lure Wilbur to the castle on the lake and there operate to remove his brain and graft it into the Monster’s body for, as Dracula notes, he wants in the Monster a simple and pliable brain that is easily controlled, and Wilbur fits the prescription perfectly! On a night of the full moon Talbot, Wilbur, Chick and Joan arrive at the castle for a night of monster mayhem.
It was the fate of many of the famous Universal monsters, including Frankenstein, Dracula, the Invisible Man and the Wolf Man, to go from objects of fear to objects of fun when they were paired with Universal’s ace comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The first, wildly successful, crossover was this film, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, in 1948.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was the second highest grossing film that year for Universal, it still has an 88% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes and, of course, it spawned a number of Abbott and Costello Meet . . . films. The film does not feature any of the more usual Abbott and Costello verbal routines but most other things are in place: sight gags, pratfalls, disappearing monsters, hidden passageways, revolving walls and pure confusion. The monster cast are fabulous; Lon Cheney Jr. is the Wolf Man, playing the character here for the fifth, and last time in this original series, while Glenn Strange is the Monster for the third time, after House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), and at least in this one gets to speak. Bela Lugosi will always be associated with Dracula, although, surprisingly, he only played the character twice, in the original Dracula (1931) and in this film, seventeen years later.
Quite simply, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is still tremendous fun.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
The film looks pretty good. Backgrounds can be occasionally soft but faces and close-ups are firm. There is controlled grain but otherwise this is a clean print without obvious marks or artefacts. Blacks are strong, greyscale and shadow detail are good.
Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.
The only audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (mono).
Dialogue was always easy to understand. The effects, including the electrical buzz to revive the monster, slaps and the music are nice and crisp. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use. The music supervisor is Joseph Gershenson but there is no credit for the score as such.
I did not notice any hiss or distortion.
Lip synchronisation was occasionally out but nothing serious.
|Surround Channel Use|
The film commences without a menu, but you can access the extras using the pop up menu on the remote.
Made in 2000 and hosted by David J. Skal this is an excellent featurette. Using stills, film footage and rare outtakes, plus comments by Ron Palumbo, co-author of Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, collector Bob Burns, film historian Bob Madison plus Chris Costello (daughter of Lou) and Bela G. Lugosi (son of Bela), the featurette concentrates on the making of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, including the casting, script, the director, the firing of make-up artist Jack Pierce and shenanigans on set but it also looks at the early career of Bub and Lou as well as the subsequent “meet the monster” films they made.
This is an excellent commentary by film historian Gregory W Mank. It is well researched and Mank is amusing and knowledgeable as he discusses production details, on-set antics and conflicts, anecdotes, the career of all the main cast and the director, the budget of the film, cast salaries, the cost of sets and effects and the reactions to the film.
This extra was also included on The Wolf Man Blu-ray in the The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection. The featurette is a look at the Universal back lot where sets for films such as Psycho and Spartacus still stand as well as the sound stages and some of the films that were made there. Additional comments from some of the people who have filmed on the lot including directors Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Peter Berg, John Landis, Ron Howard and John Carpenter and actors including Dan Aykroyd and Meryl Streep.
A quick flick through some of Universal’s characters with monsters including Dracula, non-human characters from Jaws to ET, humans bad, such as Norman Bates and Tony Montana, “good”, Spartacus to Jason Bourne, the Blues Brothers and Back to the Future. Pure promo!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Blu-ray release of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. There is a US Region A/B release of the film which includes the same extras as this release. However, there does not seem to be a release of the film in Australia except as part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below).
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, horror icons Lon Cheney Jr. and Bela Lugosi, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man (here completing his transformation to one of the good guys) conniving women, jokes and scares are a recipe for entertainment and fun that has not dimmed. Fans, or anyone who likes a laugh, will not be disappointed.
The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. The extras are very good.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) on one Blu-ray, Werewolf of London (1935) and She-Wolf of London (1946) on another and The Wolf Man (1941) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein by themselves on a Blu-ray, a collection that is great value for fans of Universal horror.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|