Tonight’s a full moon and there’s no better film to watch than Universal Horror’s The Wolf Man 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr. Here are 13 things you didn’t know about this werewolf classic!
The Wolf Man 1941 Facts
- The original script left it ambiguous whether Lawrence Talbot actually transformed physically into a werewolf or if it was all in his mind.
- Bela Lugosi campaigned for the lead role but ended up playing a minor supporting role, the gypsy who turned Larry Talbot into a werewolf. Maria Ouspenskaya, who played his mother, was only six years older than him at the time of filming.
- The quote “Even a man who is pure at heart…” was made up by writer Curt Siodmak. And the film popularised many modern myths about werewolves, such as their vulnerability to silver and their transformation via a bite.
- Lon Chaney Jr’s own German Shepherd played the “wolf” who attacks him in the film.
- The village church in the film was originally part of the set for the 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which starred the original Lon Chaney! And the foggy forest set was one of the largest indoor sets Universal had ever built at the time.
- Larry’s silver wolf-headed cane, used by his father (Claude Rains) to kill him, is the only known surviving prop from the movie. The silver top of was made of vulcanized rubber to prevent injury to actors.
- The Wolf Man’s iconic makeup was achieved by makeup maestro Jack Pierce with a rubber nose and yak hair.
- Lon Chaney Jr’s character is never referred to as “The Wolf Man” in the film.
- The film came out two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite Universal’s apprehensions that people wouldn’t want to see a horror film in the time of war, the film was a top grosser in 1942.
- The film doesn’t contain a single shot of the full moon, a later staple in werewolf movies.
Tell us your memories of The Wolf Man 1941 in the comments section below!