What do you get when you make a movie with Peter Cushing, a werewolf and Paris, France as the main location? You get a Hammer knock off made by Tyburn films.
The action takes place in 19th century France but it’s inhabitants are clearly British actors, some with extreme “cockney” accents. A traveling side show comes across a feral boy in the woods. His family was attacked and killed by wolves when he was an infant. He was raised by the wolves until the gypsies who own the traveling side show take him in as an added attraction. The boy, Etoile, grows into adulthood (played by David Rintoul) and begins to transform into a wolf during the full moon, a side effect of being weaned on wolf milk perhaps?
Etoile takes up work at the Paris zoo, which seems to be an alley way with a couple cages, one with wolves no less. At each full moon Etoile transforms into a “Curse of the Werewolf” (Hammer 1961) inspired wolfman. He is befriended by one of the local prostitutes, Christine (Lynn Dalby) but is enraged when he finds out what she does for a living. This truly triggers the beast within and thus sets up the “beauty and the beast” aspect of the tale……although not really that well done. Peter Cushing finally makes an appearance in the film as Prof. Paul, the city’s coroner. He knows the current string of murders is being committed by an animal and finds the truth. In the end Etoile is finally killed by the traditional silver bullet…..at least I think so, at this point my eyes were getting pretty hazy and I was finding it hard to stay awake. This production didn’t exactly grab me by the throat and keep my attention.
|Ahh Dr. Frankenstein.....er Prof. Paul.....paycheck whatever.|
Based on Guy Endore’s novel, The Werewolf of Paris, Tyburn films fell flat on what could have been a very entertaining lycanthropy film. Freddie Francis’ direction was typical “workman-like” which I come to expect from his films. The sets are believable, except the zoo, the acting is pretty good, Cushing being the brightest light and the werewolf makeup was well done for the time.
There could have been more action in the attacks though. We get some “wolf vision” sequences but too many close ups of werewolf eyes and bloody werewolf teeth. I would have to say that the most distracting aspect of the whole film was the lack of any French accent! I would have thought maybe Cushing would have taken his character in with some appropriate accent but since no one else was playing “frenchie” I guess he said screw it, it’s a paycheck. Track down the Interglobal VHS release, it’s pretty cheap on ebay. As far as a DVD release goes, I believe there are some bootlegs out there to be had. There was a UK DVD release however but I believe it is out of print.