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|Lon Chaney Jr.||The Wolf Man / Larry Talbot|
|Claude Rains||Sir John Talbot|
|Warren William||Dr. Lloyd|
|Ralph Bellamy||Col. Montford|
|Patric Knowles||Frank Andrews|
|Evelyn Ankers||Gwen Conliffe|
|Fay Helm||Jenny Williams|
|J.M. Kerrigan||Charles Conliffe|
After learning of the death of his brother, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) returns to his ancestral home in Llanwelly, Wales to reconcile with his estranged father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Rains). While there, Larry becomes romantically interested in a local girl named Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers), who runs an antique shop. As a pretext to converse with her, he purchases a silver-headed walking stick decorated with a wolf. Gwen tells him that it represents a werewolf (which she defines as a man who changes into a wolf "at certain times of the year.")
Throughout the film, various villagers recite a poem, whenever the subject of werewolves comes up:
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.
That night, Larry attempts to rescue Gwen's friend Jenny from what he believes to be a sudden wolf attack. He kills the beast with his new walking stick, but is bitten on the chest in the process. A gypsy fortuneteller named Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) reveals to Larry that the animal which bit him was actually her son Bela (Béla Lugosi) in the form of a wolf. She also reveals that Larry will transform into a wolf as well since anyone who is bitten by a werewolf and lives will turn into one themselves.
Talbot transforms into a wolf-like creature and stalks the village, first killing the local gravedigger. Talbot retains vague memories of being a werewolf and wanting to kill, and continually struggles to overcome his condition. He is finally bludgeoned to death by his father with his own silver walking stick after attacking Gwen. Sir John Talbot watches in horror as the werewolf transforms into his son's human form as the local police arrive on the scene.