(La Figlia di Frankenstein)
Lady Frankenstein holds some surprises. These include names like the normally respectable Joseph Cotten who was slumming in a number of continental films during this period, as well as Jayne Mansfields husband, bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, who makes for a wooden investigating police captain. The surprise is also Mel Welles in the directors seat. Mel Welles is better known as an actor usually in the Roger Corman stables, having appeared in films such as Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), The Undead (1957) and most notably as the original Gravis Mushnik in The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). Welles ventured into directors chair upon three other occasions with the crime thriller Code of Silence (1957), the Spanish/German killer tree film Island of the Doomed/Man-Eater of Hydra (1966) and the exploitation film Joyride to Nowhere (1977).
To Mel Welless credit, he tries hard to compete with the Hammer films on a clearly diminished budget. The sets are okay, with some threadbare corners occasionally showing. However, the standard Frankenstein lightning storm sequences are completely lame. The worst part about the film is the monster itself, which is given a ludicrous makeup job that makes it look as though it has a giant watermelon planted on top of its head. Mostly, Lady Frankenstein passes routinely. The plot Lady Frankenstein wants to transplant her middle-aging paramours brain into the body of the handsome but imbecilic stable boy is passable if somewhat far-fetched. It does at least give the story a certain dynamic. It is possible to imagine it having been conducted as a Hammer film, which did some fairly similar plots Frankenstein gives a dwarf a normal-sized body in The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958); Frankenstein transplants a mans soul to share a womans body in Frankenstein Created Woman (1967); and Frankenstein transplants a psychiatrists brain into another body to get at the secrets in his head in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969).
One fine aspect of the film is Sara Bey (in actuality Italian actress Rosalba Neri, who appeared in a number of Jesus Franco exploitation pictures, usually unclothed) in the title role. Bey/Neri gives the role far more than it deserves in a fierily passionate and seductive performance.
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