[size=4][color=Wheat][b]Review of Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Barton, 1948)[/b][/color][/size]
[color=Wheat][b]Overview:[/b][/color] Abbot and Costello are truly one of the funniest pair of comedians to ever grace the silver screen. They were among Vaudville's finest, and got an opportunity to do their old routines in a tun of great movies. But this movie is easily their best. It is said that you knew when your monster career was over at Universal - its when they ask you to star in an Abbot and Costello movie. Reprising their classic roles one last time are Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein (Strange starred in the House of Frankenstein).
[b][color=Wheat]The Story:[/color] [/b]Chick Young (Abbot) and Wilbur Grey (Costello) are two lowly shipping clerks who unfortunately get charged with taking shipment of two "very valuable" crates from Europe. It is said that these crates contain the remains of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. As they are soon to discover, neither Dracula nor Frankenstein's monster are dead.
After a hilarious, updated reprise of their famous "Moving Candle" routine (also in [i]Hold that Ghost[/i]), and some brief terrorizing, Dracula takes the monster and heads to his castle, leaving Abbot and Costello to take the blame for the missing shipment. On top of this, it turns out their next door neighbor is Lawrence Talbot - A guy prone to turning furry during the full moon.
But things are just starting to get bad in this truly enjoyable monster pack romp. It turns out that Dracula's master plan involves taking Wilbur's brain (a very malleable brain it is) and putting it inside Frankenstein's Monster. This will give Dracula complete control over the monster. Wilbur is lured in by Dracula's able and beautiful accomplice, Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert, who also stars in A&C Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff).
Things go from bad to worse as can only happen in an Abbot and Costello movie. Chick, dressing up as a werewolf for a Halloween party (where Dr. Mornay has lured Wilbur) is accused of attacking party members and has to flee in the woods. Only later does he find out that it was actually Lawrence Talbot - and at that point, Wilbur has been abducted.
The mad-capped ending involves chick and Lawrence Talbot trying to stop the brain transfer surgery and escape with their lives. Truly, it's far better seen than explained. Suffice to say, it's an exciting and completely riotous affair. There's also a nice side story love interest between a handsome doctor's assistant and a cute insurance claims woman, but truly, they are minor compared to Abbot and Costello meeting the Monster Pack.
[color=Wheat][b]The Monster Pack:[/b] [/color]The truly terrific thing about this movie is even though this famous trio is in an Abbot and Costello movie, they still stay true to their characters. They are not belittled or stupefied, nor does Barton violate their tradition in any way. We get the same spine tingling monsters we know and love, only they are placed beside this pair of comedic geniuses. Truly this is a terrific combination.
[color=Wheat][b] Score:[/b] [/color]On top of all this, we get maybe the best score ever in an Abbot and Costello movie. It is simply terrific and increasing suspense while maintaining a funny, but action packed atmosphere.
[color=Wheat]Bottom Line:[/color] [/b]If you've never seen an Abbot and Costello movie, you have truly missed out on one of the best comedic teams of all time. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein is one of their absolute greatest, and easily ranks in my top 5 comedies of all time. If you love the old monster movies, you will love this too. Truly, I like this better than any of them save maybe the original Wolfman. Whatever your feelings, do yourself a favor and see this movie.