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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein
Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 17, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Abott and Costello's most popular film, "A&C Meet Frankenstein" is also one of the biggest genre hits of that era. A spoof of the horror films of the era, the movie offers plenty of laughs, decent effects and a few moderate old-school scares.

Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) are baggage handlers who, on their latest job, need to transport a couple of corpses. Unfortunately, these corpses belong to the Count Dracula and the ever-popular Frankenstein. The two monsters break lose and are joined by the wolfman(Lon Chaney) as they run throughout a house to save themselves.

The film's effects are pretty good for a 52-year old film, and if you listen to the commentary track on this disc, you'll find out exactly how much many of them cost to achieve. Performances are quite good, especially our two heroes Bud and Lou. The mix of comedy and horror are quite nicely balanced, and the two never overshadow one another or ruin the joy of each other. This DVD is part of Universal's classics collection, and they've given the movie fine treatment.


The DVD

VIDEO: Universal has done their best with the film, which is now about 52 years old. Presented in the film's original full-frame aspect ratio, it does have some noticable wear, but not quite as much as I would have expected from a film of its age. Sharpness is not perfect or always consistent, but the general presentation looks crisp and pleasing. Detail is solid as well, and clarity is never a problem, even in the darker scenes.

Where the problems arise, as expected, is from print flaws. Some scenes remain free of such problems, but some scenes display marks and scratches that range from tiny to mild and moderate. Some scenes look grainy, but I didn't find this to be much of a distraction. As for colors...well, there aren't any. It's a black and white movie.

The main problem with the image is age, but considering it's age, it looks pretty good. Universal has obviously shown care in its presentation of this film on DVD, and the film's fans will be pleased with what they offer here. Considering the age of the film, the image quality deserves a B-.

SOUND: "A&C Meet Frankenstein" is presented in 2.0 mono and again, the only problem that plagues the sound is age. The sound is fairly solid for an older mono soundtrack, but things like the music and dialogue are somewhat thin and dialogue is sometimes a little bit harsh. Generally fine and clear, but again, sounding a bit aged. Considering the age of the film, the sound deserves a C+.

MENUS:: The menus start with some very entertaining animation of A&C, but the music that plays in the background over and over again may prove tiring for some very quickly..

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from film historian Gregory Mank. It's almost amazing the amount of detail that Mank is able to go through, leading the viewer through every detail of the production. If I have any complaint, it sounds a bit like Mank is reading from a prepared speech during the track, but the amount of information he provides makes this a minor flaw. He even mentions dates, times and even more specific details about the effects and shooting.

It seems as if the historian has an endless amount to talk about, rarely stopping for a pause. Every aspect, from the effects to the actors and even the history of Universal are all talked about at some point of the commentary. Although again, it sounds as if he's reading, it's amazing that Mank keeps the discussion very well organized. I learned quite a lot about the history of both the early days of the genre as well as the actors involved. Hopefully, the commentaries offered on the other Universal horror titles will prove to be this informative and interesting.

Abott and Costello Meet The Monsters: This is a lengthy documentary that gives the viewer a visual look at many of the subjects touched upon in the commentary track. We are given a look at the history of the team of Abbott and Costello, as well as the history of Universal's early works and their horror films. Many interviews are offered, and most contain additional insight about the actors involved in these films as well as the highs and lows of the production. A very good documentary that takes the audience on a tour of just what happened when "A&C met Frankenstein". The documentary lasts about 32 minutes and was produced by David J. Skal.

Also A moderately large gallery of production photos, production notes, cast/crew bios and theatrical trailer.

Final Thoughts: Funny classic that gets good treatment from Universal. Worth a look if you're into older horror films or if you're a fan of Abott and Costello.
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