With his wife Elsa (Josephine Hutchinson) & son Peter (Donnie Dunagan),
Baron Wolf Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) returns to the village of Frankenstein
to take up his inheritance. But the townfiolks are suspicious about the baron
after all the grief Wolf's father caused them (see Frankenstein
& Bride of Frankenstein),
only police inspector Krogh (Lionel Atwill) is righteous enough to even
offering them his support, even though Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff)
ripped his right arm off when he was a child.
& then there's Igor, a
hunchbacked graverobber who has been hanged but somehow survived it with a
broken neck, & he somehow got hold of the monster, & has it do his
bidding - which is at the present moment, killing off all those who convicted
him to the gallows. But now the monster is fatally injured & he needs
Wolf's help to heal it again ... & Wolf shows little hesitation to comply,
as he wants to clear his family name (?).
At first though, all of the
experiments Wolf conducts on the monster with the help of Igor & his butler
Benson (Edgar Norton) seem to be in vain & only arouse the suspicion of the
townfolks, until one night, rather out of the blue, the monster starts walking
again, & Igor immediately starts to use it for his revenge-plot again,
leading to more murders in the village & to the townfolks forming an angry
mob & going to castle Frankenstein once more wioth torches &
pitchforks, & it's only thanks to the inspector's best efforts that they
remain relatively calm.
But due to some stories of little Peter, who had some
- friendly - run-ins with the monster, the inspector soon grows suspicious
about the goings-on in the castle as well, & soon places Wolf under arrest.
Wolf though is attacked by Igor & shoots him in self-defense, which in turn
makes the monster go wild, having lost his closest friend, & for some
reason it abducts little Peter.
But thanks to the combined efforts of the
inspector - who distracts the monster by shooting at it - & Wolf - who
pushes the monster into the nearest sulfur pit - Frankenstein's evil creation
is destroyed once & for all (or is it ?).
Wolf & family leave the
town forever with a cheering crowd bidding them farewell.
some marvellous acting by Karloff, Lugosi, Atwill & to a point also
Rathbone, & some great sets that at some points border expressionism, Son
of Frankenstein is a rather dull entry into the Frankenstein series -
especially when compared to its 2 outstanding predecessors (Frankenstein
& Bride of Frankenstein).
The faults lie mainly in the story that has very little to tell, does so in the
most unimaginative way, takes itself way too seriously, takes increbibly long
for very little relevant plot (the film is about 100 minutes long - in
comparison, Frankenstein from 1931
was hardly 70 minutes long), & despite all that contains plotholes &
leaps of reason aplenty (examples - how does Wolf Frankenstein want to clear
his family's name by reviving the monster that brought all the grief in the
first place? Why does the monster abduct the little kid in the end?). Ah
yeah, & the child actor Donnie Dunagan is terrible.