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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein combines black and white '40s comedy with classic screen monsters, but may not translate well for children used to eye-dazzling special effects. It also might not appeal to younger children, who may become frightened of these classic screen monsters menacing lovable Costello. Older kids will identify with frightened Costello and enjoy the monster hijinx. Teens may laugh with (or at) the comedians and the monsters.
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What's the story?
In ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) are just two guys who deliver baggage. That is, until they transport the crates of Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein to MacDougal's House of Horrors. Dracula has a fiendish plan to reanimate Frankenstein and thus rule the world. His evil cohort Sandra lures Wilbur to their castle so she can implant his brain in Frankenstein (Glenn Strange). The Werewolf (Lon Chaney) tries to stop Dracula but not before Wilbur and Chick's hijinks almost lead them into real trouble.
Is it any good?
Shot in black and white, without the slick special effects and the fast pace of more recent horror-comedy films, this Abbott and Costello classic may not please every child. Still, many will have fun watching the actors who first created the archetypal screen roles of Dracula, the Werewolf, and Frankenstein. The movie was the last serious role for each of the great actors, and the best of the Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters series. The vaudeville gags that launched Abbott and Costello into the limelight don't always weather well, but some of the routines adapted for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein are still funny.
While Abbott laughs at the idea of Dracula, Costello shakes in fear when he hears Dracula's coffin lid creak open and sees a hand emerge. Throughout the movie, Costello continually sights Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf, each of whom conveniently disappears whenever Abbott turns to look. The duo's chemistry (stern Abbott versus shaky Costello) can be seen mimicked in children's programming today, from Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie to Shaggy and Velma in Scooby Doo. In fact, after a string of successful Abbott and Costello hits, director Charles Barton went on to direct popular children's TV series such as The Munsters and Family Affair. As a special bonus, this video opens with the pair's famous "Who's on first?" routine.
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