Son of Frankenstein (1939)

35mm, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Rowland V. Lee. It's the third in Universal's series and the last one to feature Boris Karloff as the monster. It helped to revitalise the studio's flagging horror series in the wake of hugely successful re-issues of Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931).

Plot Summary

Wolf von Frankenstein, the son of the late Henry Frankenstein and his wife return to the family estate to a hostile reception from the locals. He finds the hunchbacked shepherd Ygor hiding in the castle and he shows Wolf where the monster is, lying comatose in the lab. Wolf tries to revive the monster and at first thinks he has failed – but who, or what, is killing the members of the jury that sent Ygor to the gallows, a failed hanging that led to his ?


Directed by: Rowland V. Lee
Copyright MCMXXXIX [1939] by Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
A Universal picture. Universal presents. A Rowland V. Lee production
Original Screen Play: Willis Cooper
Suggested by the story written in 1816 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Director of Photography: George Robinson
Film Editor: Ted Kent
Musical Score: Frank Skinner
Sound Supervisor: Bernard B. Brown
[Sound] Technician: William Hedgcock
Gowns: Vera West
Art Director: Jack Otterson

Basil Rathbone (Baron Wolf von Frankenstein)
Boris Karloff (the monster)
Bela Lugosi (Ygor)
Lionel Atwill (Inspector Krogh)
Josephine Hutchinson (Elsa von Frankenstein)
Donnie Dunagan (Peter von Frankenstein)
Emma Dunn (Amelia)
Edgar Norton (Thomas Benson)
Perry Ivins (Fritz)
Lawrence Grant (burgomaster)
Lionel Belmore [Emil Lang – uncredited]
Michael Mark [Ewald Neumuller – uncredited]
Caroline Frances Cooke [Mrs Neumuller – uncredited]
Gustav von Seyffertitz, Lorimer Johnston, Tom Ricketts [burghers – uncredited]
Harry Cording [gendarme – uncredited]
Clarence Wilson [Dr Berger – uncredited]
Ward Bond [gendarme at gate – uncredited]
Dwight Frye [scene deleted – uncredited]

Alternative Titles

Il figlio di Frankenstein – Italian title
Frankensteins Sohn – German title

Sequel to
Frankenstein (1931)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
House of Dracula (1945)

See also
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Bride of the Monster (1956)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

Extracts included in
100 Years of Horror (1996)
The American Nightmare (2000)
Coming Soon (1982)
A History of Horror: Part One: Frankenstein Goes to Hollywood (2010)
The Horror Hall of Fame (1990)
Universal Horror (1998)



  • American Cinematographer vol.66 no.1 (January 1985) pp.33-41 – illustrated article (Jack Pierce – Forgotten make-up genius by Frank Taylor)
  • Classic Images no.212 (February 1993) pp.46-54, 61 – illustrated article (Pentagram Revues: Son of Frankenstein part II by Blackie Seymour)
  • Classic Images no.213 (March 1993) pp.40, 42 – illustrated article (Pentagram Revues: Son of Frankenstein part III by Blackie Seymour)
  • Classic Images no.214 (April 1993) pp.36-37, 63 – illustrated article (Pentagram Revues: Son of Frankenstein part IV by Blackie Seymour)
  • Empire no.229 (July 2008) p.170 – illustrated DVD review (At home/DVD reissues: Universal monster sequels by Kim Newman)
  • Film Weekly vol.21 no.541 (25 February 1939) p.31
  • Filmfax no.68 (August/September 1998) pp.58-64 – illustrated article (Snap, crackle, scream! Screams of reason: Part two: Mad science & modern culture by David J. Skal)
  • Filmfax no.72 (April/May 1999) p.80 – illustrated article (Son of Frankenstein (1939) by Anthony Slide)
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.1662 (23 February 1939)
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.2090 (22 May 1947)
  • Metro no.120 (1999) pp.103-104 – illustrated review (CTEQ annotations on film by Michael Koller)
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.134 no.3 (21 January 1939)
  • Shivers no.43 (July 1997) pp.22-25 – illustrated article (by James Abery)
  • Starburst no.34 (1981) pp.38-41 – illustrated article (The Frankenstein chronicles part III: Son of Frankenstein by Phil Edwards)
  • Today's Cinema vol.68 no.5495 (21 May 1947)


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror (2nd edition) pp.70-71 – credits, illustrated review
  • Earth vs the Sci-fi Filmmakers: Twenty Interviews by Tom Weaver pp.86-113 – illustrated interview with Donnie Dunagan
  • The Horror Factory by Bruce Dettman and Michael Bedford pp.68-73 – article
  • The Monster Movies of Universal Studios by James L. Neibaur pp.58-64 – illustrated credits, article
  • Of Gods and Monsters by John T. Soister pp.340-349 – illustrated credits, article
  • by Walt Lee p.450; 451 – illustrated credits
  • Universal Horrors by Michael Brunas, John Brunas and Tom Weaver – credits, article
  • Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory pp.73-78 – illustrated article