Friday, March 9, 2012

The Ape

The Ape (1940)

I apologize for this review in advance. I have had a bit to drink tonight so my wit is not at it's sharpest. Also I just finished watching BloodRayne: The Third Reich which left me feeling sort of addled and confused and will definitely be getting a review next week.

This movie is about a kindly but kinda loopy old doctor (Boris Karloff) is doing some well-meaning but slightly immoral experiments to help a young woman (Maris Wrixon) who has polio or some shit walk again. Meanwhile, the circus comes to town and during a fire, a giant killer ape gets loose!!!!!

Those two things don't really seem to have anything to do with one another until the very end of the movie. In fact it was confusing enough that in my little book of notes I wrote, several times, "what the fuck is this movie about?"

Anyways, this movie is actually pretty good. Once the plot sort of falls in to place, it's sort of satisfying, and the plot twist such as it is isn't so cliched and overdone that it just makes you tired and sad (i.e., they're all ghosts! Woooooaaaaaaaaaoh god). So that's good. It took me, like, up until the last ten minutes to call it.

The characters are pretty well done, from the sheriff who abuses his powers slightly, to the townsman (not entirely sure what his job was) who's having an affair on his wife, to Boris Karloff's good performance as the misguided doctor who looks eerily like my grandfather did forty years ago. Also the ape costume was fuckin sweeeeeet.

The Ape did all it's own stunts in this movie.

That being said, the plot could have been handled a lot better. The filmmakers seemed so concerned with hiding the astonishing twist that the very inclusion of the ape subplot was maddeningly mysterious. Plus the editing and cinematography weren't what I would call superb which didn't really help with the coherance of the movie.

Overall, this movie is watchable but not great. A better movie in the same vein would be, say, The Body Snatcher, also featuring Karloff but, unfortunately, no ape.


Directed by: William Nigh.  Written by: Kurt Siodmak and Richard Carroll, based on the play by Adam Shirk.  Starring: Boris Karloff, Maris Wrixon, Gene O'Donnell, Dorothy Vaughan, Gertrude Hoffman, Henry Hall, Ray Corrigan.

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