Review of “She-Wolf of London” (1946)

trailer from YouTube

This is the latest Saturday night pizza selection. Both the pizza and the wine were enjoyable. As we often do, we watched this with Svengoolie.

Plot:

In London, near the turn of the 20th century, Scotland Yard is investigating reports of a man attacked and seriously injured in a park. The victim says it was a woman, not a man, who attacked him. Given the savage nature of the attack, Detective Latham (Lloyd Corrigan) jumps to the conclusion that a werewolf is about. Perfectly logical assumption. His boss, Inspector Pierce (Dennis Hoey), remarks that it’s a little early to be visiting “grog shops.” Together, they go inspect the site of the attack.

In the park at the same time, orphaned heiress Phyllis Allenby (a really young June Lockhart) is riding horses with her intended, Barry Lanfield (Don Porter), a barrister. Phyllis lives near the park in her ancestral home with “aunt” Martha Winthrop (Sara Haden) and her “cousin” Carol Winthrop (Jan Wiley).

Phyllis and Barry stop their smooching when they hear Pierce and Latham discuss finding a woman’s footprints at the crime scene. Phyllis admits seeing the police makes her upset. Barry says having an audience has broken the spell, and they return to the Allenby house. There, Aunt Martha wrangles two temperamental German shepherds. The dogs dislike Phyllis.

When Phyllis retires that evening, the dogs are barking and howling their heads off. She lights and hangs a lantern outside her window. Aunt Martha walks in (doesn’t anybody knock anymore?) and expresses dismay that Phyllis would believe that old superstition about hanging a lantern outside when the dogs are barking to keep evil spirits away.

Phyllis says the dogs barking and the goings-on in the park are getting on her mind.

“You really are upset,” Aunt Martha tells her. “I’ll fetch you some warm milk from downstairs. You’ll sleep so soundly, you won’t even hear the dogs.”

The next morning, Phyllis wakes up to find blood on her hands. Her slippers are muddy, and the hem of her rob is wet. Aunt Martha assures her she’s done nothing wrong. However, the morning paper has an account of the horrible murder of a child in the park. Phyllis is convinced this is the Allenby curse coming home to roost.

Thoughts:

The movie some negative reviews when it first came out. Reviewers called it too long. (Really? It’s only an hour.) and a story they’d heard before.

Current horror fans often don’t care for it either. The movie opens with horror-ish sounding music. The viewer should see a castle someplace of an ancient family estate. No, we get opening lines mentioning the Allenby curse, which has almost been forgotten. Where’s the castle or grand family estate nestled by the seashore?

This flick falls several pegs short of what one might call a masterpiece. For starters, no one ever explains what the curse of the Allenbys is. Are they really all werewolves? Are they bad dancers? Or is it that they just can’t hold their liquor?

The solution to the story was obvious to me about fifteen in. Just the same, I did not feel cheated. The main character was in the dark until nearly the end. One could feel a little sympathy for the villain’s situation, but not their actions.

The fun came from watching the main character’s enlightenment, gradual as it may be. (In the immortal words of Bug Bunny, “Now wait a minute. Could it be that I been tricked?”). It also came from watching the villain scheme and toying with their prey.

The movie further offered some comic relief with dialogue between police officers, both those walking a beat and those in offices. Inspector Pierce was moonlighting from his day job as Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes movies.

Given most reviewers’ reactions to it, I suspect many people will dislike the movie more than I did. Again, I can’t call this a great movie, but I found it entertaining.

The movie can be watched here: She Wolf of London 1946 – YouTube  It is a free download and comes with subtitles for a language I can’t read.

Title: She-Wolf of London (1946)

Director
Jean Yarbrough

Writers
George Bricker (screenplay)
Dwight V. Babcock (original story)

Cast:
Don Porter as Barry Lanfield
June Lockhart as Phyllis Allenby
Sara Haden as Martha Winthrop
Jan Wiley as Carol Winthrop
Lloyd Corrigan as Detective Latham
Dennis Hoey as Inspector Pierce

Released: 1946
Length: 1 hour, 1 minute

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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