Friday, June 25, 2010

The Ape Man (1943), William Beaudine.

Pretty thin gruel.  Lugosi plays a scientist who has, through the course of his experiments, taken on ape-like characteristics (a stooped walk and excess facial hair).  From the first moment we see him, sleeping on a bed of straw in a cage he is sharing with a gorilla, Lugosi looks like he has given up.  His character is neither very menacing nor very sympathetic.  What was he working on anyway?  We don't know!  We just know his half-assed experiments gave him some uninspiring side-effects.  While testing a cure, we witness a shabby performance of stretching and exclaimations that his back is straightening up.  Jeesh, someone should have just gone to the drugstore for some Robaxacet!   Story ambles on with the help of a newspaper man and girl photographer (played by Louise Currie, the "Katherine Hepburn" of Monogram).  Also features requisite guy in plastic ape costume, Emil Van Horn, who apparently lived off the proceeds of said costume but was evicted from his apartment and lost his general livelihood when it was stolen in Pensacola, Florida! This may be a good a time as any to point out that there are websites devoted to "Gorilla Men," actors that played apes for a living!

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