Werewolf of London is Universal’s forgotten first attempt at werewolves. Making it the first werewolf movie ever made in Hollywood. Although it predates The Wolf Man by 6 years, Werewolf of London is something I never knew existed. Not until I saw it featured in a Universal monsters box set. An American Werewolf in London isn’t a remake, but it was inspired by the 1935 film. Unlike The Wolf Man, Werewolf of London feels too complicated by a large cast and less tragic with an unlikeable werewolf victim as the lead.
Henry Hull plays the stiff aristocratic botanist Wilfred Glendon. He finds a special flower in Tibet where a werewolf bites him. Glendon is mostly unlikeable for mistreating his wife Lisa played by Valerie Hobson in her second role as a scientist’s love interest. Lester Matthews more often keeps her company as a former lover named Paul. Asian passing Swedish actor Warner Oland plays Dr. Yogami. A mysterious fellow botanist who tells Glendon the flower is the only known antidote for Lycanthropy.
Glendon’s werewolf transformation is well shot, but his simplistic wolf makeup isn’t enough to create an icon. London attacks sound gruesome even though the movie retains a sense of humor. It’s only after those attacks that Glendon feels a bit more sympathetic. He’s most remorseful when a bullet puts an end to his uncontrollable reign of terror. Werewolf of London is an acceptable early werewolf movie that walked so that The Wolf Man could run.