Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy (1948/2012)
Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange
Studio: Universal 61122182 [8/28/12]
Video: 4:3 B&W 1080p HD restored
Audio: English PCM mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: “Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters,” Commentary track by film historian Gregory W. Mank, “100 Years of Universal: The Lot,” “100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters,” Theatrical trailer
Length: 82 minutes
This is considered Abbott and Costello’s most popular film for Universal and one of the all-time great horror comedies. The first of the bonus features is an interesting documentary on the careers of Abbott and Costello and how Universal decided to team them up with some of their popular movie monsters. A daughter of Costello is one of the prime talking heads and has some interesting stories. They went on to make other movies teaming them up with such characters; in fact the very next one (which is alluded to in the closing moments of this one) was The Invisible Man (with the voice of Vincent Price). The studio was lucky to be able to get the original Dracula (Lugosi) and Wolfman (Chaney), although Boris Karloff didn’t want to do Frankenstein’s monster anymore so they had to use Glenn Strange, who had the advantage of being taller than Karloff.
The two comedy stars play a pair of baggage handlers who receive packages containing the so-called remains of Dracula and Frankenstein. They are to deliver them to the House of Horrors museum, but Costello ends up having to deal with both monsters. Of course Abbott doesn’t believe any of the things Costello experiences, and keeps putting him down. Lon Chaney Jr. also gets into the mix as the man who turns into Wolfman whenever the full moon comes up. The plot revolves around Dracula and his assistant wanting to switch Costello’s brain (which is supposedly so dumb it will follow any orders of The Master) with the present ill-functioning brain of the ailing Frankenstein’s monster. In the big finale, the funny pair have to deal with all three monsters at once. The Wolfman’s conversion process is pretty primitive visually and Dracula’s changing into a bat and back is done only with sketchy animation. Still, the Blu-ray transfer is highly detailed and the film looks like it was shot just recently.
This limited edition Record Store Day vinyl release transcends movie scores.