She-Wolf of London ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

She-Wolf of London has some worthwhile components, chief among them its focus on a woman for a change, but at the end of its 61 minutes, it just feels half-baked. Its payoff is reliant on a plot twist that's tipped way too early, for one thing. This is ultimately a romantic melodrama caught up in a crime story. Sometimes, genre-blending works well (From Dusk Till Dawn, Shaun of the Dead), but here it just feels that no one cared enough to completely push for the marriage.

The thing is, with more effort, She-Wolf of London could have been captivating. It's shot so languidly, though, that we're discouraged from getting very worked up ourselves about what's going on in the film. There's a pervasive sense that someone is saying to us, "Don't worry, folks; this'll all be over in an hour." Sara Haden tries to carry the film as the manipulative Aunt Martha, but clumsy scene placement lets the cat out of the bag in the first ten minutes. That would be fine, except the story doesn't then shift focus to her so that we're in on it. Instead, Haden is trying to keep us on our toes, unaware that the film has already told us what's going on and why.

All-American June Lockhart is laughably miscast as the Scottish Phyllis Allenby. It's hard to even root for Phyllis at all, since she's so detached and passive within her own conflict. She won't talk with anyone, or do much of anything except stay in bed. Hey, lady, if you don't care enough to get out of bed or even just talk with someone, I'm not sure I care, either.

Perhaps the lone bright spot is Dennis Hoey as Inspector Pierce. Hoey is recognizable as having played a similar role in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and as Inspector Lestrade in several of Universal's then-contemporary Sherlock Holmes films. His presence at least legitimizes the scenes of Scotland Yard and the police. It's a shame that it's such a peripheral role.

She-Wolf of London Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#1474/1584)

She-Wolf of London < Selena --> #1474
Selena is a loving biopic with a terrific performance by J.Lo. The best I can say about She-Wolf of London is that it ends at 61 minutes.

She-Wolf of London < Look, up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman --> #1474
Truthfully, I've never been much in love with any of the Superman movies, but somehow Look, up in the Sky! is actually engaging. That's more than can be said of the forgettable She-Wolf of London.

She-Wolf of London > What Planet Are You From? --> #1386
As unimpressed as I was by She-Wolf of London, I can at least say I remember it. I recall virtually nothing from What Planet Are You From?

She-Wolf of London < The Great Train Robbery --> #1386
Watching The Great Train Robbery, I was impressed by the storytelling ambition of the short. Watching She-Wolf of London, I was just glad it didn't reach a 62nd minute.

She-Wolf of London > Meshes of the Afternoon --> #1336
Somewhere between these two is a narrative that's worth following, told in a film that bothers to create a specific mood and setting. Unfortunately, neither of these is that film. I guess She-Wolf of London wins.

She-Wolf of London < Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? --> #1336
I saw Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? on VHS more than 20 years ago, and what little I do recall of it is still more engaging than any of She-Wolf of London, which I just finished an hour ago.

She-Wolf of London < Muppet Classic Theater --> #1336
"The Elvises and the Shoemaker" segment alone shows more creativity and effort than anything in She-Wolf of London.

She-Wolf of London < Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) --> #1336
How bland is She-Wolf of London? So bland I'm picking a cliched remake of a movie that celebrates privilege and the annoyances of a large group of children. At least it has Steve Martin.

She-Wolf of London < The Lucky Break --> #1336
The Lucky Break was shot in my hometown, and I like its Shirley Jackson-esque ideas. She-Wolf of London is, frankly, boring. It loses.

She-Wolf of London < The Battle of Midway --> #1336
To have started with such spectacular footage of such an historic event, John Ford's coverage of The Battle of Midway isn't all that thrilling, but it's still more interesting than She-Wolf of London.

She-Wolf of London was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #1336/1584