She-Wolf of London

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A series of murders befalls a London public park after dark which sends the city on high alert.  Scotland Yard is most interested, determined to find the culprit as the victims are mauled in a rather beastly, grisly fashion.  Soon, there’s talk of werewolves, but the seasoned Inspector Pierce doesn’t believe in such sensationalist talk.

The subject of werewolves has a peculiar interest to young Phyllis Allenby.  It seems her family history is littered with talk and tales of the Allenby Curse.  Poor Phyllis is guilt ridden as she wakes with muddy feet and hands night after night.  Her aunt, Martha, tries to put the woman at ease, but even she has her own suspicions that something is amiss.

As does Inspector Pierce.  It seems a Werewolf Woman has been spotted prowling the grounds of not just the killing fields of the park, but also the Allenby Mansion.  Phyllis becomes convinced she is the killer, and Aunt Martha can’t deny the truth of the clues.

She-Wolf of London is one more of the Universal Monster Classics I had not seen, at least not that I could remember.  I may have seen it in the past, late at night, possibly on Turner Classic Movies, I don’t know.  That’s the movie’s most glaring fault, it’s not that memorable.  It does set itself apart from the rest of the Classics, but not very memorably.  In fact, I don’t really see why it has been included in the Monster canon.

With all of that said, it’s not a terrible film.  A lot of movies have copied its twist since 1946, and the film itself wasn’t original in the day as it pretty much copied the “shock” ending from a couple of earlier films (one is an Ingrid Bergman film, and you’ll know it when you watch She-Wolf).

I did enjoy the film, and it’s proof that the conditions of watching certain movies improve certain movies.  She-Wolf of London is a total programmer to take up space, but if you watch it with the lights out, a darkened room buffers the entertainment value. Another helpful hint, don’t expect anything in line with The Wolf Man, or even Werewolf of London— the three films are distinct from each other.

As it is, She-Wolf of London is what it is:  enjoyable for completists, unchallenging and a so-so pleasantry which doesn’t take up too much of your time.  With a little more oomf this could have been something more substantial.  Maybe in an alternate universe Val Lewton got his hands on it.