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The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Approved | | Horror | 7 June 1961 (USA)
In 18th Century Spain, an adopted boy becomes a werewolf and terrorizes the inhabitants of his town.

Director:

Terence Fisher

Writers:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder), Guy Endore (novel)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clifford Evans ... Alfredo
Oliver Reed ... Leon
Yvonne Romain ... Servant Girl
Catherine Feller ... Cristina
Anthony Dawson ... The Marques Siniestro
Josephine Llewellyn Josephine Llewellyn ... The Marquesa
Richard Wordsworth ... The Beggar
Hira Talfrey ... Teresa
Justin Walters Justin Walters ... Young Leon
John Gabriel John Gabriel ... The Priest
Warren Mitchell ... Pepe Valiente
Anne Blake ... Rosa Valiente
George Woodbridge ... Dominique
Michael Ripper ... Old Soak
Ewen Solon ... Don Fernando
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Storyline

In the Eighteenth Century, in Spain, a beggar comes to the castle of a cruel marquee on his wedding day to beg for food, and the marque locks him in his dungeon, where he is forgotten. The mute daughter of the gaoler feeds him along the years. When she grows-up, the widower marquee unsuccessfully tries to shag her and locks the servant in the dungeons with the beggar that rapes her. When she is released, she kills the marquee and flees to the forest. She is found living like an animal in the woods by Don Alfredo and he brings her home. Soon his servant Teresa finds that she is pregnant. When she gives birth to a boy on Christmas, she dies and the boy Leon is raised by Don Alfredo and Teresa. A few years later they learn the curse that the boy carries with him, and the local priest advises that he must be raised with love. What will happen to Leon? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Half-man... Half-wolf See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Curse of the Werewolf See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The interiors of the inn where Leon is staying is the same interior from Dracula's castle in Horror of Dracula (1958). You can notice the same pillars. The basement he runs into is also the same vault where Dracula kept his coffin. See more »

Goofs

During the film's opening titles, the camera zooms in on the werewolf's eyes which are clearly hazel. When Leon transforms in the jail cell, his eyes are initially Oliver Reed's natural color: pale blue. When he turns at stares at the old man in the cell with him while in mid-transformation, he is clearly wearing hazel-colored contact lenses like the ones shown over the opening titles. However, when he has fully transformed into the werewolf and moves towards the old man, his eyes are again clearly pale blue and remain that color for the rest of the film. See more »

Quotes

Leon: Cristina, do you love me? Will you marry me Cristina? You say you love me, will you marry me?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original video releases blot out the Technicolor credit line with a black bar. The credit is visible on the DVD version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A superb addition to the cinematic annals of lycanthrope
19 May 2006 | by fertilecelluloidSee all my reviews

A modest werewolf "epic" that never feels formulaic in the hands of director Terence Fisher and writer Anthony Hinds. The film is one of Hammer's most accomplished and deals with the subject of lycanthrope with some imagination. Young Leon (Justin Walters), the consequence of a rape, is born with what appears to be a dormant werewolf gene that is awakened when he tastes the warm, "sweet" blood of a bird. Unable to resist his true nature, he starts killing livestock in a small rural community. His juvenile rampage doesn't last long because the local priest (John Gabriel) identifies his condition and encourages his adopted parents to shower him with love and affection, convinced that it is love that will keep the boy's desires at bay. Clearly, the priest's faith in love is not misplaced, because, ten year's later, the adult Leon (nicely played by Oliver Reed), who has just left home, is only a wolf with the women. He falls hard for the daughter of his employer, but when he is deprived of her love, his lycanthrope surfaces and the killings begin again, only this time he leaves the livestock alone.

The film is a character drama in werewolf clothing, and, though it references genre classics such as "The Wolfman", "The Werewolf of London", and even "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in its climax, it is still very much its own animal. There is a welcome depth to the performances and Reed's acceptance of his condition and desire to be destroyed gives the piece a fine sense of tragedy.

Unlke the genre films of today, which make this feel like something made on another planet, "The Curse of the Werewolf" really takes its time to establish a solid foundation for its horror and is a refreshing product of far less cynical times in which human warmth was seen as essential, not "uncool".

The last shot, in my opinion, is flawed. When the dead werewolf is flipped onto his side by his adopted father, he is not shown, in death, as having returned to his former state as represented by Oliver Reed.

A fine achievement.


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