My husband and I watched a couple of Abbott and Costello movies last night. There are few things any better than kicking back with Bud and Lou! One of the movies was Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (click the link to order the dvd).
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is one of my favorite Abbott and Costello movies – it always has been. However, I must say, is this one of the most inappropriately named movies of all time or what? Of all the “monsters,” Frankenstein is onscreen the least. And he certainly doesn’t have much to say when he is. I can only assume that Frankie was big at the time, so they went with Frankenstein over Dracula or the Wolf Man, both of whom are onscreen a lot more.
Title aside, I love everything about this movie. When you sit down to watch an Abbott and Costello movie, you do so with the intentions of leaving everything behind – work, chores, headaches, news, politics, crazy drivers, and so on. You have to just let yourself have fun and enjoy the laughs – you also have to remember that this particular movie was made in 1948, so the effects are going to be…. well, there’ve been more realistic effects on Scooby Doo.
But, I’ll be honest with you, they’re part of what makes this movie (and all classic movies, as far as I’m concerned) so special. I wouldn’t change a thing about this movie – not even the title, because in its own way it’s part of what makes Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein stand out.
Monster movies were HUGE for Universal Pictures in the 1930s. Then the ’40s rolled in with one of the greatest duos of all time, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was the first of several movies that combined the “monster hits” (literally) and the much loved Abbott and Costello films. The success of this particular movie led to Abbott and Costello teaming up with the Invisible Man, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Mummy.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein features a wonderful cast. Count Dracula is deliciously played by Béla Lugosi. The Wolfman is brought to furry life by Lon Chaney Jr., and Frankenstein is played by veteran monster Glenn Strange.
At the end of the movie, watch (and listen) for an appearance by the Invisible Man. You’ll recognize the voice as that of Vincent Price. This was actually before he went on to superstardom.
Count Dracula’s beloved monster, Frankenstein, needs a new brain. The Count is adamant that the new brain has to belong to a simpleton – someone without a drop of malice. Guess what simpleton is hand-picked for the job: Lou Costello’s Wilbur, of course! Bud Abbot’s Chick, along with the Wolfman, have to save Wilbur and keep his brain where it belongs – in his own head.
Lou Costello is at his best in this movie. He’s absolutely hilarious and offers countless laugh out loud moments.
- The movie was originally titled, “The Brain of Frankenstein” (apparently they were adamant that Frankenstein appear in the title somewhere!)
- The director was Charles Barton, a close friend of both Abbott and Costello’s. Most people consider him to the the duo’s best director.
- One of the funniest scenes in the movie involves Wilbur (Costello) unknowingly sitting on Frankenstein’s lap. The scene required multiple shots because Costello was allowed to improvise, which caused Glen Strange (Frankenstein) to constantly break out laughing!
- Charles Barton also directed 1959’s classic The Shaggy Dog .
- Lenore Aubert (Sandra) was born in present-day Slovenia. She teamed up with the duo again 1949’s Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.
Chick: I don’t get it. Out of all the guys around here that classy dish has to pick out a guy like you.
Wilbur: What’s wrong with that?
Chick: Go look at yourself in the mirror sometime.
Wilbur: Why should I hurt my own feelings?
Larry Talbot (Wolfman): You don’t understand. Every night when the moon is full, I turn into a wolf.
Wilbur: You and twenty million other guys.
Chick Young: You’re making enough noise to wake up the dead!
Wilbur Grey: I don’t have to wake him up. He’s up.
Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection
Get ready to laugh out loud with the most popular comedy duo of all time in Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection! Now, for the first time ever, all 28 films produced during the height of their popularity at Universal Pictures are available in one collection. Featuring their most popular movies such as Buck Privates, Who Done It? and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, this collection is filled with some of the most hilarious routines of all-time including “Who’s on First?” Loaded with hours of bonus features and an exclusive collectible book, this is the ultimate tribute to two of the funniest, and most enduring, comedians of all time!
One Night in the Tropics (1940)
Buck Privates (1941)
In the Navy (1941)
Hold That Ghost (1941)
Keep ‘Em Flying (1941)
Ride ‘Em Cowboy (1942)
Pardon My Sarong (1942)
Who Done It? (1942)
It Ain’t Hay (1943)
Hit the Ice (1943)
In Society (1944)
Here Come the Co-Eds (1945)
The Naughty Nineties (1945)
Little Giant (1946)
The Time of Their Lives (1946)
Buck Privates Come Home (1947)
The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Mexican Hayride (1948)
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)
Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)
Comin’ Round the Mountain (1951)
Lost in Alaska (1952)
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953)
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)
Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955)
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
Abbott & Costello: The Universal Story – 44-page book detailing the legacy of Bud and Lou plus an overview of their films at Universal including rare photos, trivia and exclusive introductions from their families.