Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” Held Over; “The Tree of Life” Opens June 24; Summer Classics Double Feature: “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” & “House of Frankenstein”

From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life. trailer

From the glory years of classic horror films comes our special double feature. In “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”, Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), in league with a beautiful but diabolical lady scientist (Lenore Aubert), needs a “simple, pliable” brain with which to reactivate Frankenstein’s creature (Glenn Strange). The “ideal” brain belongs to the hapless Lou Costello, whom the lady doctor woos to gain his confidence and lure him to the operating table. Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.),  arrives on the scene to warn Costello and his pal Bud Abbott of Dracula’s  schemes. Throughout the film, Costello witnesses the nocturnal rituals of Dracula and the Monster, but can’t convince the ever-doubting Abbott–until the wild climax in Dracula’s castle. As a bonus, the Invisible Man (voiced by an unbilled Vincent Price) shows up for “all the excitement.” trailer

By 1944, the Universal monsters had become too familiar to be truly frightening. Universal’s solution was to treat their gaggle of ghouls as old friends. The Frankenstein series evolved into an elaborate excuse to paste as many recognizable faces into a single film as possible. The trend really blossomed into a cornucopia of creatures with House of Frankenstein.

Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff), a devotee of Frankenstein’s work, escapes from prison with his hunchbacked assistant, Daniel. The two hijack a traveling spook show and use the cover to resuscitate Dracula (John Carradine), the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.) and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange). trailer

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