Skip to content

The Gorilla (1939)

GorillaLC

For today’s audiences it is practically impossible to watch this film and not compare the Ritz Brothers to the enormously popular The Three Stooges. The Ritz Brothers (Jimmy, Harry and Al) don’t stand a chance. Having said that there is nothing to dislike about this familiar old dark house thriller with a giant killer on the loose in the form of a gorilla.

To get the plot moving along we have the traditional newspaper clippings splashed across the screen which was a very popular prop in storytelling back in the thirties and forties. Next up we have a screaming Patsy Kelly as a house maid trying to be calmed down by butler Bela Lugosi and the soon to be threatened Lionel Atwill. Atwill has been marked for death at the stroke of midnight which has prompted him to hire a trio of private investigators. Yup. The Ritz Brothers. It’s Jimmy Ritz that does most of the on camera mugging where his two brothers get the odd line but nowhere near the screen time of their sibling. The trio made a handful of films in the late thirties but by the mid forties their careers in films had died out. With plenty of red herrings and secret passages the film follows the genre’s usual path of plot twists and turns.

For today’s viewer it’s Lugosi that is the reason for watching as the Lugosi Cult still attracts followers and Bela gets a decent amount of screen time in a rather cheerful role. Bela was fairly busy from this point in 1939 up until about 1945 when things began to dry up for him. Our director Allan Dwan gives him the customary eerie close ups that his fans expect. Atwill along for the ride is always good at playing in these spooky thrillers so he fits right in as well.

atwill

Rounding out the cast we have Anita Louise and Joseph Calleia in this quickly paced 66 minute comedy thriller from Darryl F. Zanuck Productions. The film was actually produced by Harry Joe Brown who western buffs will recognize as the man who teamed with Randolph Scott for many fine oaters. As for our director Allan Dwan, he is another Canadian export who directed an overwhelming number of films from the silent era including Fairbanks’ Robin Hood in 1922 to the Duke’s Sands of Iwo Jima 1949.

The Gorilla should be an easy film to see if you feel the urge as it passed into public domain years ago and was one of the first VHS tapes I recall actually owning way back when. Some of the humor may have worn off over the years but if you like old movies……..

2 Comments »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: