Werewolf of Washington

Director: Milton Moses Ginsberg

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Run off the road by gypsies in an Iron Curtain country, Jack Whittier (Dean Stockwell) & his Hungarian girlfriend Giselle (Katalin Kallay) are stuck in the middle of nowhere, threatened by a vicious dog.

Werewolf of WashingtonAfter Jack manages to beat the dog to death with his silver-handled walking stick, he finds that he has actually killed a man. When he tries to turn himself over to the local constable, the law officer & the dead man's mother do some shuck & jiving & let him go.

Jack returns to Washington, D.C., as a White House reporter turned press secretary, & where he becomes the titular Werewolf of Washington (1973). Everyone in the White House from the President (Biff McGuire) on down are sleezebags. Jack is so strongly supportive of the President's needs that any hint of someone threatening to the administration's agenda is soon werewolf kibble, though Jack never retains memories of his wolfy activities.

No character except Jack breathes any life & all the dialogue just jabbers on & on. Usually it's all just very boring, but occasionally it does get funny, though so pokerfaced it can take a while to realize the humor is intentional & the lack of suspense is due to the intent of comedy.

Not until Jack got his transforming hand stuck in a bowling ball in the presidential bowling alley, & starts crying, was I for sure certain that campiness was the primary purpose. If you look real, real hard you can divine that it's a Watergate satire, released a few months before Nixon finally caved in & resigned the presidency. It was hastily written & produced as a timely comedy & probably a great surprise to everyone involved that the film is still in circulation.

Werewolf of WashingtonIt is amusing how Stockwell begins Jack's transformation scenes just making faces, squinting cross-eyed while pretending to have an underbite. Then he gets the full Ewok mask & crawls around on his knees panting like a dog. The "best" scene is when he knocks over a phone booth & runs around it licking the glass at a woman screaming inside.

Eventually he starts warning various people around the White House that he's a werewolf, being the nice honest decent sap that he is, but nobody pays any attention & keeps treating him like he's as normal as anyone else. When his condition can no longer be overlooked, the President gets the best line in the whole film: "Sit, Jack! Heel boy!"

While crawling about being doglike, he's befriended by a three-foot tall guy in a lab suit. This is Dr Kiss, played by the wonderful character actor Michael Dunn (arch villain Dr Miguelito Loveless in the fantasy western series The Wild Wild West).

Dunn's character is so poorly written that his presence can't entirely save the jibberishy script, but certainly helps. And you gotta love a guy who wants to capture a werewolf alive so that he can breed a race of superwarriors. Poor Jack has other ideas, having one silver bullet made so he can do himself in.

Continue to:
Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (1962)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

[ Film Home ] - [ Film Reviews Index ]
[ Where to Send DVDs for Review ] - [ Paghat's Giftshop ]