Descendant of mad scientist (a rather limp-wristed Sir Cedric Hardwicke) attempts to correct his family's mistakes by fixing the brain of the
Monster (Lon Chaney Jr., disappointing as an unsympathetic monster, a sign
of what was to come). The untrustworthy, broken-necked Ygor (Bela Lugosi,
in his best role, but not as good in it as he was in 'Son of
Frankenstein') attempts to stop him (Despite the fact that he should've
died in the previous film...never mind). Lionel Atwill is also back, but
in a different, less interesting role.
A dull, talky Erle Kenton film for Universal, the cinematography is
superlative but that's about it. Hardwicke is even more of a fop than
Ernst Thesiger was in 'Bride of Frankenstein' and nowhere near as much
fun. Charles Previn score is pretty awful, and despite not even clocking
in at 90 minutes, it seems nearly twice as long.
Only slightly ahead of 'House of Frankenstein', it's a real
disappointment. The main grievance is that the monster is no longer the
pathetic yet not quite detestable creature Karloff so brilliantly played.
Chaney, in his debut as the character, just lurches about like the drunken wreck he apparently was on occasion in real life. Chaney was always good
at projecting pathos, just look at his turns as 'The Wolf Man', but he's
not at all like that here. There's really nothing going on inside the
character's head, and thus much of the interest is lost.
For Lugosi fans only, this is one of the Universal horror films that you
can probably pass up for something more worthy.