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

Werewolf of London (1935) Classic Movie Review 69

Werewolf of London (1935) Henry Hull

Werewolf of London (1935) Henry Hull

I gave up my belief in goblins, witches, personal devils, and werewolves, at the age of six.


Today’s movie is Werewolf of London (1935). I believe it is the first sound werewolf movie.


Henry Hull played the role of Dr. Glendon and one of the werewolves, the werewolf of London. We recently covered the great actor Henry Hull in Episode 67 – The Buccaneer (1958). Hull refused to use the heavy werewolf makeup in Werewolf of London (1935) that became the standard for later werewolf films.

Warner Oland played the role of Dr. Yogami and was the other werewolf. Born is Sweden in 1879, he moved to the US in 1892. In his 20s he worked on Broadway. In the 1910s he moved to Hollywood and began working his way into movies. He co-starred in one of the early talkies – The Jazz Singer (1927).

Werewolf of London (1935) Warner Oland

Werewolf of London (1935) Warner Oland

Oland had large epicanthic folds and could easily pass off as being of Asian ancestry. He was cast as a Chinese-American in Charlie Chan Carries On (1931) and its sequel, The Black Camel (1931). He was in 16 Charlie Chan films between 1931 and 1937. During this period he was the biggest earner at Fox but descended into heavy alcohol use. Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) is considered to be the best of these films as it featured Boris Karloff as the villain.

While filming in 1937 Oland had a breakdown. His wife of 30 years left and went to Sweden. The 57-year-old Oland traveled to Sweden and was able to reconcile by he caught bronchial pneumonia and quickly died.


This Universal horror film begins with Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull), a well-respected English botanist in the Tibetan mountains looking for the rare, very rare, extremely rare Mariphasa Lupino Lumino (Wolf Flower). As near as I can translate that it means sea phase wolf glow. Since these plants only glow in the night they are of course hunting for it at night on a full moon. The Tibetan guides are arguing and don’t want to go. About this time a man on a camel being led by another man comes down the path. The Tibetan’s take this as their cue to run away. The man is a priest and he asks why they are in the mountains. They tell him they are looking for the flower and the priest advises them to leave some things alone. He also tells them that he is never seen a man return from the demon filled valley where the flower grows. Much like the Black Lagoon.

Glendon and his assistant push on into the valley. They hear the children of the night making their beautiful music. Both men are facing mythical forces trying to hold them back. Glendon spots the glowing flower in the distance. As he carefully digs the flower a werewolf sneaks up and the two begin to fight. The werewolf bites Glendon on the army but he stabs the creature and drives it away.

Now back in London, the scarred Glendon, tries to use lights to make the rare flowers he has obtained glow. His wife, Lisa (Valerie Hobson) fetches him for a party. She complains that he has been working too hard on his plants. At the party, Aunt Ettie (Spring Byington) quizzes him about his artificial moonlight. Aunt Ettie brings Paul Ames (Lester Matthews) an old bow of Lisa. Glendon is not happy with the meeting.

A man that appears to be of Asian descent, botanist, Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland), speaks to Glendon. He says they met once in Tibet in the dark. Dr. Yogami asks if Glendon recovered the wolf flower and mentioned that his plants died on the way to England.

Lisa admits to Paul she still has the hots for him. Dr. Yogami tells Glendon that the plant cures lycanthropy from the Greek lukos for wolf and anthros for a man or in simple terms cures werewolfism. Of course werewolf is just old English for man wolf. Dr. Yogami explains that the beast is neither a wolf or man but a satanic creature.

Dr. Yogami says there are two cases in England right now and as he explains you get it from the bite of a werewolf he touches Glendon’s sleeve where the scar of the bite is located. Glendon returns to work in the laboratory. Glendon’s hand begins to hair up. This is the first part of the body to grow hair in the Lon Chaney Jr’s The Wolf Man (1941) and other werewolf movies.

Glendon cuts away a flower from the plant and lets the sap drain into his blood stopping the condition. Aunt Ettie is encouraging the romance between Lisa and Paul. She is having a party and invites the two while Glendon works. Dr. Yogami comes in and the dog reacts badly to him and Ettie invites him to her party and calls him Dr. Yokohama.

When Dr. Yogami talks to Glendon he says the flower is not a cure, only a temporary antidote and would save two souls. He also warns about werewolves killing what they love best.

Dr. Yogami sneaks into the laboratory and steals the two blooms as Glendon reads about lycanthropy in the study. Glendon’s readings reveal that the werewolf must kill one person per full moon night. When his wife and her date come by Glendon is light sensitive. When he alone the cat goes crazy and freaks out. His hands start to turn and he heads for the laboratory to get a flower. As he walks he slowly transforms into a werewolf. It is skillfully done as he passes columns in the garden. With no blooms in the laboratory, he goes full wolf. He sees the vision of Lisa. As a werewolf, he puts on his hat, coat, and scarf. Odd don’t they normally rip their shirts off.

Dr. Yogami and Ettie talk and hear the calls of the werewolf. Ettie freaks a little and they put her to bed upstairs. The howling is really putting a damper on the party. The werewolf climbs to Ettie’ window but her screams drive it away. Since he missed his first target he kills what appears to be a street walker.

Dr. Yogami is upset by the killing and we see that one of the flowers has been used. Scotland Yard begins investigating the crime. Paul says it may be a werewolf. He says he has seen something similar in the Yucatan. Paul invites Lisa for a moonlight ride but Glendon refuses to go. But wait, isn’t Paul that thinks it’s a werewolf? Glendon finally agrees to go on the ride.

Glendon tells his assistant he has to go away for a bit. He tells Paul and Lisa that he is not going. He forbids Lisa to go for the ride. But she throws down and storms off. Glendon goes to a bar and rents a room for the night from Mrs. Moncaster (Zeffie Tilbury) and her friend.

The room he takes is several stories up. Glendon prays that he does not become a werewolf but he transforms and leaps out the window.

Now I have to do a little aside here. Most of these werewolf guys are wealthy. So why don’t they just install a cage in the house and stay in the cage for three days a month? Anyway.

The two ladies go upstairs and check out the room but he is gone. A drunk strumpet is waiting outside the gates of the zoo as the wolves howl crazily. She is meeting the married zoo guard. Werewolf Glendon lets one of the wolves out. When the guard goes to investigate, the werewolf makes a snack of the strumpet. He then returns to his room and the two ladies investigate again. They see the werewolf through the keyhole.

Dr. Yogami goes to Scotland Yard. He is introduced as being from the University of Carpathia. Who is the dean, Count Dracula? He tells Paul’s uncle, Col. Sir Thomas Forsythe (Lawrence Grant) that there is a werewolf in London and that they can only stop the killing by seizing and growing the wolf flower.

Glendon returns to his lab and the flower has not bloomed yet so he leaves. He goes to Lisa’s family manor and says he will stay in the Monks Rest, which is almost a cell. He asks the keeper to lock him in the room. That is what I was talking about earlier. Lisa just happens to drive Paul back to the old house that night as well.

Glendon turns into a werewolf. When he sees Lisa and Paul he pulls the bars out of the window and escapes. The werewolf attacks Lisa but Paul comes and fights him off and knocks him out with a stick. In the morning Paul reports to his Uncle Thomas that the werewolf is Glendon.

Scotland Yard gets a report of another murder. When they get there it is Dr. Yogami’s room. Paul finds the dead flower in trash. Lisa and Ettie are locked in the room and they can’t find any trace of Glendon. Glendon comes through the secret trap door in his lab. The flower is about to bloom and Dr. Yogami comes sneak down the stairs. He cuts the flower and injects himself. This is the first time Glendon realizes that Dr. Yogami is the werewolf that bit him. They two take to fighting as Glendon turns into a werewolf, so he wins the fight and kills Dr. Yogami.

The werewolf climbs to the windows and chases the fleeing woman. Paul drives up and the werewolf jumps on him knocking him out. He then breaks into the house intent on killing Lisa. Uncle Thomas from Scotland Yard shows up and shoots the werewolf in the back. No silver bullets or anything special needed.

While werewolf Glendon dies he thanks Thomas for the bullet and tells Lisa he is sorry he could not make her happier. When he dies he reverts to human form. Uncle Thomas says he will cover-up that he was a werewolf.

Note Dec. 30, 2016 – I was watching an original Star Trek marathon and got to wondering where that rock formation they always used was located. A quick Wikipedia search let me find out that formation, located in northern Los Angeles County, is named Vasquez Rocks after a bandit.  I was pretty excited when I read that the first time it was used in a film was Werewolf of London (1935) as a substitute for the mountains in Tibet. [1]

Werewolf of London (1935)

Werewolf of London (1935)

I will cover all of the stuff they stole for An American Werewolf in London (1981) when I do that review.

World-Famous Short Summary – Woman rekindles flame with old lover as her husband struggles with werewolfery

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Beware the moors


1. Vasquez Rocks

Werewolf of London (1935)

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