February 21, 2004

Movie Review Time

Boy Howdy, do I have some off-the-wall fun for you this time around. Y'all know that I enjoy the lesser-known classics (translation: crappy movies), but some of what I watch falls more literally into the actual classic category. These movies are perfect examples.

The Gorilla (1939) – This is a true Hollywood production, and the quality shows. Featuring great sets, real actors, a plot and special effects, this early spoof of horror movies has plenty of slapstick comedy to go along with the thrills and chills. Bela Lugosi makes a fine butler, and the Ritz Brothers play a trio of private eyes hired to protect a millionaire targeted for murder. The high point of the movie is the funniest maid (Patsy Kelly) ever to steal a scene, but it’s pretty obvious why the Ritz Brothers never made it as big as Abbot and Costello or any of the other great comedy teams. Nevertheless, this zany movie is an ok way to escape for a little while. My favorite line: “Did you see that face? I’ll bet when snakes get drunk they see him.”

The Ape Man (1943) – More Bela Lugosi and more monkey business! In this film, he plays a mad doctor who ends up the victim of his own experiments. To recover, he must kill. Overall, the mood is darker than in The Gorilla, but this flick still has some humorous moments and a rich plot full of details and minor storylines. The ending has a twist that you’d never guess in a million years.

When The Ape Man was originally released, World War II was in full swing and there are frequent mentions of it. In fact, in one scene a female character makes fun of a guy for being a “4-F reject”, and he proudly let’s her know that in 30 days he goes into the Navy. She apologizes immediately.

Something else I noticed, in both movies, was that guns were common and unremarkable. Many of the characters (male and female) were armed, and casually pulling a pistol out for protection caused no great reaction from other characters. At the same time, the guns were always handled safely and nobody was trigger-happy, in fact they were never used at all in The Gorilla and not until the very end of The Ape Man – and it wasn’t a hail of gunfire either.

Both of these movies get two opposable thumbs up.

Posted by Ted at February 21, 2004 09:02 PM
Category: Cult Flicks
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Site Meter