If you ignore the final 20 to 25 minutes, the finest werewolf film ever made is Mike Nichols‘ Wolf (’94). An adult, Manhattan-flavored, A-grade enterprise. Enjoyable performances by Jack Nicholson Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plummer, James Spader. A first-rate script by Jim Harrison. Wesley Strick, an uncredited Elaine May. Who wrote the peanut butter scene?
But steer clear of the original The Wolf Man (’41). Produced and directed by George Waggner, it runs 70 minutes but feels like 110. Generally tedious, often boring, sluggishly paced, clunky dialogue. It’s obvious that Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) has something to do with the gruesome mutilations as they only begin when he arrives at his father’s (Claude Rains) mansion. Plus he acts guilty and shifty when the murders are discussed. Plus he has the jowly face of a drinker. Plus he’s a foot and a half taller than Rains — how’d that happen?
And it makes no sense that Evelyn Ankers would be “interested” in Talbot, as he’s clearly unstable with erratic, hair-trigger mood swings. (Ankers and Chaney didn’t get along off-camera.)
The best character is Maria Ouspenskaya‘s gypsy lady…she wants Larry to fulfill his wolf destiny…she’s in his corner, supports him, cares for him.