SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!
In 19th Century France, a young boy is born in the woods at Midnight on Christmas Eve (which automatically gives him the curse of Lycanthropy). Shortly after his birth his parents are killed by a pack of wolves. The boy is then brought up by the wolves, until one day when a circus comes across him in the woods and decide to use him in their act as “The Wolf Boy”. They then bring him up into adulthood, but he then experiences his first change before the full moon. Whilst he's a werewolf he kills the one man band and flees the circus, where he moves to a city and becomes a zoo keeper. Here he falls in love with a prostitute and driven by his love for her and his anger at her clients his animal instincts kick in and he attacks them. But in the presence of the full moon with his full werewolf ability he goes about killing her clients. All the while Professor Paul who works for the police is on his trail.
Legend of the Werewolf is a 1975 Tyburn Film production. It stars Peter Cushing, Ron Moody and Hugh Griffith. It was directed by Freddie Francis. It is the second adaptation of Guy Endore's novel The Werewolf in Paris. The other adaptation being The Curse of the Werewolf, both Curse and Legend were written by Anthony Hinds under the pseudonym of John Elder.
The first thing that hit me (especially seen as it was within the first few minutes) was the WOLF VISION! It's pretty much the same as any other vision only it's BLOOD RED!
Legend seems faster paced than Curse mainly because we get our first werewolf change and attack at only 15 minutes in. Whereas in Curse we don't even see Oliver Reed until (if I remember rightly) nearly an hour in, let alone him change into the werewolf.
Peter Cushing's Professor Paul delivers the best response to seeing a man who's throat has been bitten by a werewolf. He's in the middle of his supper when another body arrives for him to perform an autopsy on, so bare in mind he is still having his food when he gives the body a look and then in a calm relaxed tone of voice says “Oh dear, that's very nasty.”
What can I say? I found it very difficult to write about Legend of the Werewolf. Nothing really seemed to stand out. Obviously Peter Cushing as ever gave a good performance and provided a huge support for this film, he is essentially the film's lifeline and if he hadn't have been in it I daren't even imagine how boring it would have been. As it is, it's still not that interesting of a film even with Peter Cushing, his scenes are enjoyable to watch but there's just so much of the film that doesn't feature him. Even Roy Castle who adds to the positives only features in TWO scenes. On a lighter note, the overall look and feel was pretty decent, presumably a lot of work had gone into making it look very Hammer-y. The make up for the werewolf was pretty good too, even if it was pretty much the same as how Oliver Reed looked in The Curse of the Werewolf 14 years earlier. It was good that they got right into the action of him becoming the werewolf early on, as it would have been even more dull and boring if they had created a slow build up to it. As I mentioned earlier this was Anthony Hinds' second stab at Guy Endore's novel and he probably should have just had the one go. Hammer's The Curse of the Werewolf is far superior to this, it may well be a bit of a slow burner but the quality is much better. It's just such a better film, it's more enjoyable and more entertaining. Whereas Legend is unfortunately just dull and at times boring. I'd been really looking forward to seeing this for years, as I'm a big fan of werewolf films and seen as there aren't many British horror werewolf films. The only ones I know of are The Curse of the Werewolf, The Beast Must Die and this. So my recommendation; watch the other two.
Legend of the Werewolf 2/5