I just finished my annual viewing of The Wolf Man. It's my Dad's birthday today and this is his favorite horror film. I love The Wolf Man. I love Lon Chaney Jr. It is perhaps the saddest performance I have ever seen in a horror film. Look at the man:
Such pathos! Such despair! Seriously, it is a great performance. But I am not here to talk about Chaney. I am here to talk about the other tragic figure in The Wolf Man: Sir John Talbot.
Perhaps it's because it was my Father's birthday so Dad is on the mind, but during this viewing I couldn't help but concentrate on the sad figure of Sir John Talbot (played by one of my favorite actors, Claude Rains.) Let's look at the facts: Sir John is a widow: no wife to be seen. His eldest son, his favorite and heir, was killed in a tragic hunting accident. His other son, Larry, he doesn't know at all. Larry left the family to go America and never kept in touch. Larry has returned to the family estate but it is clear that father and son have nothing in common. As if this all isn't depressing enough, a series of grisly murders have taken place near the estate and Larry may be going mad. His one chance to reconnect with his only son ends in tragedy:
Sir John is convinced that Larry is having a breakdown. He can't believe that he is responsible for the murders. To protect him, Sir John ties Larry up and goes to join the hunt for the real culprit, the wolf. Of course, Larry escapes and father is forced to take the life of his only remaining child. That, my friends, is tragic. Poor Sir John. Join me next year when I try to figure out what is going on with Gwen (Evelyn Ankers). I mean really! Why is she so nonchalant about Jenny getting killed and why is she so willing to cheat on her Fiance with Larry? What is with her?