ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN || 1948, USA || Comedy || Directed by – Charles Barton / Written by – Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, John Grant (based on characters by Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker) / Produced by – Robert Arthur / Editing by – Frank Gross / Cinematography by – Charles Van Enger / Art Direction by – Hilyard M. Brown, Bernard Herzbrun / Music by – Frank Skinner / Starring – Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Béla Lugosi, Glenn Strange / Running time: 83 mins.
Regarded by many as the best of features by Abbott and Costello, who back then were dishing them out three per year on average and were arguably the most popular big screen comedians. In Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the two don’t just come across the titular creature in the way it was brought to life by Boris Karloff, but also the Wolf Man and Dracula. And while Karloff did not show up to the party, Lon Cheney and Bela Lugosi did – a factor that adds important appeal to the film as a whole.
The result is hilarious, with an upbeat tempo that never wears out in the whole little over seventy minute duration. Gags upon gags, with time for some genuine tension, ensure that this film be one of the ultimate blends of the comedy genre with the horror genre.
Today, it has even picked up a type of nostalgia appeal, an endearing take on the popularity and inventiveness of the horror genre that was ever so popular in those days – not to mention that it was made long before Young Frankenstein. But perhaps most distinctively, it defines the cinematic comedic style of Abbott and Costello themselves, with their glorious back and forths, their exaggerated personalities and the way in which they define the pacing of the film which in Abbott and Costello never suffers from one single moment of dullness from start to finish. – 5/5