I was watching the 1941 horror classic The Wolf Man the other evening. This is a screwy movie. It's about a guy named Larry Talbot who returns home to his native village and gets all messed up. The village looks very European but is inhabited by people with very American accents. His family is somewhat of a big deal there and has their own castle (Talbot Castle).
Larry isn't too bright. You can tell this at the start of the movie when the family chauffeur is driving him to the castle in a little roadster convertible and Larry is smoking a cigarette with the car's windshield down.
Well, Larry isn't back long before he gets bitten by a werewolf and soon becomes one himself. This is where I started noticing something mighty peculiar. Trivial, maybe, but kind of strange once you started noticing it.
It was this thing about the Wolf Man's clothes.
Every time Larry changed into the Wolf Man, he would also change into the same outfit, time after time. It was weird. During the first transformation, he is wearing a suit and tie. He starts getting the twitches, and strips to the waist, down to his undershirt. Feeling odd, he then sits down takes off his shoes and socks. The camera stays focused on his feet as they grow hairier and hairier until the transformation is complete. He then wiggles his toes and tiptoes across the room (probably to the closet). The next thing you see, he's in a foggy forest in this outfit that looks like a UPS delivery man's uniform.
Apparently, a werewolf has the presence of mind to change into work clothes.
You'd think that a Wolf Man would be a fairly loose and carefree dresser, but this one has his shirt buttoned up to the top button and the sleeves' cuffs buttoned. And, his shirt is always tucked neatly in his pants. Plus, to top it off, the wolf man even takes the time to put on a belt. I've never heard of a werewolf concerned that his pants might come down. He probably even has his wallet in his back pocket, one of those with a chain running from it to a belt loop.
If you transformed into a Wolf Man, changing clothes would be the last thing on your mind. I'd wear what I had on at the time, in a hurry to hit the moors looking for some meaty jugulars. Also, it must be very hard to button a shirt and thread a belt through belt loops with wolf paws for hands. What we have here is not just a man changing into a werewolf, but a man changing into a fussy, uptight, and also selfish werewolf. Larry wakes up in bed after a night of wolfing still dressed in the UPS suit. It seems the Wolf Man doesn't care enough about the Larry half to change into some comfortable pajamas. I guess it's all about what the Wolf Man wants and the hell with Larry's feelings.
Later on in the movie, some villager deaths occur thanks to Larry/Wolf Man, and realizing what he has become, Larry begs his father to strap him to a chair to stop him from killing again. When Larry is shown restrained in the chair, you can see that his top shirt button is undone. Minutes later, Wolf Man Larry is back in the forest with top button buttoned, by god.
At the end, the Wolf Man is killed and we see his face gradually change back to poor, stupid Larry. I would've like to have seen the shirt button come undone as the very last phase of the final transformation.
The moral of the story?
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