Anthony's Film Review
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
There are plenty of laughs in this mashup of comedy and horror...
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are two very funny men. The members of this comic duo base their acts on a simple yet effective formula, whereby one guy is taller and thinner with a serious persona (in this case, Abbott) and the other guy is shorter and fatter with a sillier persona (in this case, Costello). It allows them to play off each other, which guarantees endless opportunity for jokes and gags. Naturally, a great comedy team like Abbott and Costello deserves to star in comedy movies. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948 is a notable example.
I should point out that, contrary to what the title suggests, the movie features not just the Frankenstein Monster (played by Glenn Strange), but also two other famous movie monsters: Count Dracula (played by Bela Lugosi) and the Wolfman (played by Lori Chaney, Jr.). What the title really implies is that the movie mashes the genres of comedy and horror into one movie. And it's a good mashup. When you have two silly guys like Abbott and Costello encounter scary situations, how can it NOT be funny?
In this movie, Abbott and Costello play two freight handlers named Chick and Wilbur, respectively. They are asked to carefully transport crates containing the bodies of Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster to a museum called the House of Horrors. Separately, they are asked to not deliver a shipment to its destination until Larry Talbot, the man who is in fact the Wolfman, arrives. Chick and Wilbur proceed to handle these tasks, just as strange things are happening with the three monster characters.
The plot of the movie basically involves Chick and Wilbur going about their lives while having encounters with the monsters. I should clarify that it's Wilbur who is truly involved in the encounters, because Chick is not aware of the monsters' presence and doesn't believe any of Wilbur's claims about seeing monsters. For example, in the museum, Wilbur hears Dracula's coffin opening, but when he tells Chick and pulls him to the coffin, Chick sees nothing out of the ordinary. The same is true for a later scene where the two men notice a laboratory on the other side of a rotating wall section, but Chick doesn't see the monsters that Wilbur sees. Every time the two men go through the rotating wall, the monsters get rotated as well, so the men and the monsters still don't end up in the same room.
From beginning to end, I found myself laughing and smiling at the antics of Abbott and Costello during scary situations. Sometimes, it's the dialogue of the two men bantering that got me giggling. Other times, it's the physical comedy and slapstick that got me rolling. Whatever it was, the movie frequently provided something for me to laugh about. Really, it didn't matter what kind of movie Abbott and Costello are in. As long as they're funny, like in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, that's good enough for me.
For more information about Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, visit the Internet Movie Database.