The ABC's of Film Noir
The ABC's of Film Noir

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) Classic Movie Review 21

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

It should have been perfect. I made it to be perfect. If the brain hadn't been damaged, my work would have been hailed as the greatest scientific achievement of all time.

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) is a Hammer Production is a sequel to the Curse of Frankenstein (1957). Peter Cushing is good in the low horror horror-flick.

Rough Script

Welcome to Episode 21 The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958). This movie puts us on the Lionel Jeffries line for a bit. Well, I have to tell you this movie wasn’t about much. It lagged and dragged from the beginning and seems to have never had the power to scare. But I will endeavor to preserver. Did you get that Josie Wales reference?

This movie is a sequel to The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) which was a reboot of the original story by Mary Shelley. The film was shot in a studio following Dracula (1958). This movie also starred Peter Cushing and had the same director. The scenes and props were repurposed for both movies.

Sir Peter Cushing played Dr. Victor Frankenstein in three different incarnations. Given the caliber of this actor, I expected more. Cushing is an English actor that was interested in the craft from an early age. He was inspired by his aunt who was a stage actress. He dabbled with acting during school and eventually made it to the London stage. In 1939, Cushing traveled to Hollywood.

He made his film debut in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939). With a few movies under his belt, World War II caused him to return to England. He helped the war effort by joining the Entertainment National Services Association. After the war, he went back to the stage where he worked with Laurence Olivier and Christopher Lee. He began making movies and became a familiar face on British TV.

In the 50s he became associated with Hammer Film Productions where he started starring in remakes of the 30s Universal horror films. His Hammer roles include Dr. Frankenstein in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dr. Van Helsing in Horror of Dracula (1958), and Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). He contInued in these roles for the next 20 years.

One of his more recent roles was as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). Or as we know it Star Wars. Cushing died in 1994.

Francis Matthews played the role of Dr. Fs assistant Doctor Hans Kleve. Although Matthews was in around 100 films and shows, there is very little of note.

Lionel Jeffries had a very minor role as Fritz one of the patients but his billing seemed to imply a bigger role. Read more about Lionel Jeffries in his short bio.


Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) was sentenced to death by guillotine for the death and havoc that his monster created during the first movie. The guillotine was invented by Antoine Louis
and Tobias Schmidt. It was named after Joseph Guillotin who was an advocate for more humane killing.

When they take Dr. F out there are some nods between the jailer, the executioner, and Dr. Fs assistant Karl (Michael Gwynn). A priest walks on the platform and off screen there is a scuffle and the blade falls.

The scene switches to a couple of nar do wells drinking and planning a crime. Fritz (Lionel Jeffries) says his heart is bad and he needs help with the task. Their crime turns out to be robbing the grave of the freshly executed Dr. F. Fritz and his partner dig the grave and find out it’s a priest. The helper runs away about the time Dr. F and Karl step up and speak. Fritz dies of a heart attack and it seems Karl and Dr. F take Fritz’s body and leave the murdered priest in the grave.

Three years later Dr. F is living in Carlsbruck, Germany and has a very successful medical practice under the name Dr. Stein. Very clever. He has a private practice and runs a hospital for the poor. The local medical cabal does like how much business Dr. F is taking from them so they send a delegation over to set him straight. The delegation goes to the poverty ward and Dr. F just blows them off. The youngest of the delegation Doctor Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews) recognizes Dr. Frankenstein. He comes back later and demands Dr. F take him on as an apprentice. This is a bold plan that could land you on a slab.

Dr. F agrees to take on Dr. K as an assistant. Dr. F starts out by giving a tour of the lab. He shows a hand, a brain, and a set of eyes all floating in separate tanks. When he heats the hand the brain and eyes react. The eyes remind me of the alien eyes in Mars Attacks (1996) because of the way they move. He also has a caged chimp in the lab that has received the brain of an Orangutan and seems to be doing fine. Finally, he shows him a perfect body in a tank

Dr. F explains that he will be placing the brain of his assistant Karl into the good body. Karl has a hunchback and bad legs. Dr. F explains the brain will be repaired during the surgery to cure these problems.

Margaret (Eunice Gayson) comes to do charity work in the clinic. Dr. F is not happy but can’t get rid of her. The Dr is shown removing limbs from poor patients that may or may not be necessary.

The two Drs go to work on Karl and the body. Dr. K is very impressed with his new mentor. Dr. K becomes a little concerned when he finds out that the transplant of an Orangutan brain into a chimp resulted in the chimp eating his mate. Dr. F is not concerned with these minor problems.

They move Karl to a special room but the janitor (George Woodbridge) sees the move and becomes curious. He tells Margaret about the hidden man.

Dr. K goes to Karl and tells him it is really important that he doesn’t take any hard blows until his head has healed. He also tells the shy Karl that people will be coming from all over the world to see him and learn about the surgery. Dr. K straps down the now freaking out Karl for his own safety. Once he is gone Margaret goes up to check on the patient. Karl gives Margaret a tale so she will loosen his straps. After she is gone he escapes.

Karl like a wounded animal returns to Dr. Fs laboratory. Karl destroys his old body so he won’t be part of a show for the scientific community. Karl is attacked by the night watchman who thinks he is a burglar. Karl is beaten to within an inch of his life before he manages to strangle the guard. It appears that cerebral fluid is leaking through Karl’s nose as he escapes. When the two Drs find out that Karl is missing they start searching the town for him.

In the morning, Margaret finds Karl hiding in a stable. Because of the head trauma, Karl is already reverting back to his crippled state. Margaret goes to get Dr. K but Karl is gone when they return. That night Karl attacks and strangles a girl from the town.

The next night the Drs are whooping it up at a fancy part when Karl staggers in asking for help and calls Dr. Frankenstein by his real name.

Dr. K advises Dr. F to leave town but he appears at a hearing before the local medical group. Using a Johnny Cochran defense he says, of course, I’m Dr. Frankenstein but I’m not that Dr. Frankenstein. Open any directory in Germany and you’ll find lots of Frankensteins. Really.

The Council goes to the grave and finds the priest’s collar among the bones and they now know that Baron Frankenstein is alive. It’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive.

Back at the poverty ward the patients turn on Dr. F and start attacking him by throwing their whiskey bottles at him. I find this scene very unrealistic as I don’t think the people in this ward would waste good whiskey. They beat to a bloody pulp and leave thinking he is dead. Dr. K finds Dr. F and takes him to perform surgery.

Dr. K removes Dr. Fs brain just before the police arrive. Dr. K shows them the lifeless body and says he tried to save him but failed. The police say okay and leave immediately. Dr. K. takes the brain and places it in a spare body that Dr. F has prepared from pieces parts of the poor people.

In the future, Dr. K and Dr. F are seen working in London and starting the practice over again and presumably the body part harvesting. This time he uses the name, Dr. Franck. Very clever.

World-Famous Short Summary – Man has trouble keeping a job and moves from place to place.

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