At the appointed hour Gwen closes up the shop. She closes the door, locks it, and stands on the sidewalk. Just then Larry comes out the fog. After exchanging pleasantries they decide to go to the gypsy camp to have their fortunes told. Before they go anywhere Gwen tells Larry that she shouldn’t be going anywhere with him at all, that she’s engaged to be married. And that she’s asked a good friend, Jenny Williams, to come along. Larry says that’s alright with him, but from the look on his face it’s clearly not (Sorry…no screen capture of his face. The blasted pseudo-fog hid his face for a screen capture). He was hoping that Gwen and he would be alone. But now that a chaperone has been tossed into the mixture Larry's plans for a romantic evening with Gwen go right out the window. Given his off camera behavior with Ankers, which is juvenile in the extreme, he should consider himself lucky just to be in the same time zone with her.
Jenny comes out of the fog
Jenny laughs at Larry's discomfort, knowing full well she’s the cause of it. On the way to the gypsy campground she spots some wolf bane and almost immediately starts reciting a poem that everyone, with the exception of Larry, seems to know.
Even a man who is pure in heart,
and says his prayers by night,
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
and the autumn moon is bright.
This poem is repeated in every subsequent Talbot-The Wolf Man film, however the last line is altered slightly to read “And the moon is full and bright”. This film does not make any effort to show a full moon, or anything else of an astronomical nature.
Larry is surprised Jenny recited the poem, but by now, less than half way through the film the poem has been recited three different times ! As they approach the campground they encounter the gypsy known as Bela. They want their fortunes told. Bela obliges.
Bela Lugosi as Bela…now that’s casting
Bela just starting down the slippery slid down the cinematic slope. He has only seven lines in the entire film ! He will read the fortunes with Jenny being first. She sits down in a chair that looks like it has seen better days, and extends her hands palms up. Apparently one palm shows the past while the other shows the future. Maleva, Bela's mother observes, just to make sure her son (who has probably done this hundreds of times) adds just the right amount of hocus pocus to the proceedings. Maria Ouspenkaya is perfect as the old gypsy woman. For some reason some characters are never referred to by their name. Maleva is never called Maleva. She usually referred to as “that old gypsy woman”, or variations of those words. Bela is about to begin the ritual mumbo jumbo when he sees the sign of the pentagram in Jenny's palm.
Maleva watches her son just in case
While Jenny has her fortune read Larry and Gwen move a discreet distance away to talk quietly. Gwen demands (very politely) to know just how Larry knew about her crescent shaped ear rings. Larry tries to be suave and sophisticated, but there’s no getting around the fact that he’s a peeping Tom. He starts to explain…mumbles a bit…that he has a telescope…that really belongs to his father…mumbles a bit more…that the telescope picked her very bedroom…and “there you were”. Gwen accepts this excuse, has to bite the insides of her mouth to keep from laughing, while watching Larry squirm like a worm on a hook, as he gets a severe case of hoof in mouth. Only in his case he’s got both feet in his mouth. Gwen decides that from now on she’ll draw the curtains. Larry tries to say she has nothing to worry about with regards to him but he becomes royally tongue tied and only makes matters worse. Gwen decides to accept his apology, and the poor guy stops sweating like a horse.
Bela sees the sign of the pentagram in Jenny's palm. He holds his head like he has the mother of all migraines, tosses the wolf bane bouquet Jenny made away, and pleads with her to leave as fast as she can. He’s just seconds away from sprouting fur, fangs, really nasty looking teeth, and paws. Jenny runs away, forsaking her friends, and charges into the fog shrouded forest. Now according to the research I’ve for this particular blog she screams, and Larry, comes to her aid. When he first arrives he battles with something that has only two feet, then suddenly it has four feet. The camera does a close up of Larry battling something with a long snout which bites him, that he swiftly kills with the head of his cane. Now remember, I watched this 11 times in preparation of this series of blogs. I never saw this two legged critter he supposedly battled, but I did see the four legged version. The “wolf” he fought with was not a wolf at all. It was his dog – a German Shepard. Now back to the film.
Larry is really sad shape, and Gwen goes his aid. With the assistance of Maleva who appears with a horse drawn cart (talk about timing - gee whiz, what will they think of next) the two take Larry home. Sir John and Capt. Montford (everybody calls him captain even though the credits call him Col. Montford) are shooting the breeze and sharing a drink when Larry stumbles in the door. (Now I don’t know if this is a continuity error or a goof nobody at Universal cared about correcting so lets call it a contigoof. At first this is a long short, Sir John and Capt. Montford are in the foreground, and Gwen and Larry are about to enter in the background in the center of the shot.
The up shot of this is that we see Gwen and Larry stumble in twice. What I think happened is they wanted to shoot the scene starting with a long shot then going to a close up. Either the camera persons were unsure how to do this or it was just bad editing. Either way it’s sort of entertaining and educational at the same time.
Like any mother Maleva makes sure Larry gets home safe and sound. She stays just long enough to make sure he’ll be cared for, than beats a hasty retreat. Capt. Montford wants to go after her (he’s an ex-cop with an inherent mistrust of gypsies) but the task at hand is to put Larry to bed, and they’re going to need all the strong backs they can muster to accomplish that task.