Inexplicably, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein was not nominated for any Academy Awards in 1957…go figure. Nor was it made into a musical, though if it had, perhaps we wouldn’t have needed Young Frankenstein…no-o-o-o, strike that…we still would have needed “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and Frau Brucker.
Interestingly enough (or not), this flick had a companion film; I Was a Teenage Werewolf. I assume they were shown as a double-feature. Werewolf was no better or worse than Frankenstein, but Werewolf did feature a young Michael Landon (James Dean, I assume, not being available). I find myself speculating on the potential effect of Mr. Landon’s work in this film on his later TV work. Imagine the change in viewer demographics had the title been; “Little House of the Hairy”.
But tonight’s film is I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. It features a classic cast with Phyllis Coates (Tiger Girl of Saturday serial fame), Gary Conway (TV – “Land of the Giants”), and the always spot-on Whit Bissell (weasely, trouble-making boyfriend in The Day the Earth Stood Still and whiny scientist nerd in The Creature of the Black Lagoon).
One of the special delights in this film is a basement scientific laboratory (complete with alligators!) that rivals anything that Ed Wood ever put on the screen.
It also features the usually mild Mr. Bissell goin’ all postal on his fiance, Ms. Coates – a sudden and disturbing reminder that domestic violence has been with us for a long time.
To sum up; the flick is just…poor.
As my great friend; teacher and philosopher Paul Thomas frames the question when confronted with such jaw-dropping drivel; “What kind of mind…?”