Directed By: Allan Dwan
Written By: Ralph James and Sid Silvers, based on a play by Ralph Spence
Starring: The Ritz Brothers, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill
The Gorilla is a comedy/horror film made by the comedy duo the Ritz Brothers, it costars horror icons Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill. Now just to put it out there this is the only Ritz Brothers movie i`ve seen, unless you count Harry Ritz`s cameo in Mel Brooks Silent Movie. But i`m not sure now if this was a good place to start because the film is neither very funny, spooky, or even memorable. To be fair i`ve heard that this is far from there best movie and the production and making of this film were plagued with difficulty's.
The Gorilla is about a serial killer called The Gorilla who warns people via paper message when hes going to kill them. When he threatens the wealthy man Walter Stevens (played by Lionel Atwill) he hires private investigators (the Ritz Brothers) to protect and investigate for him.. When suddenly a real gorilla gets loose in the house, Walter Stevens goes missing, secret passages and rooms pop up, and real conspiracy's begin to surface in the plot. Unfortunately this whole thing feels quickly and hap haphazardly thrown together and just results in a mess of a movie.
Though to the films benefit it has some really good actors in it; two of my favorite in fact Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill.; Lugosi plays the butler who is who your supposed to think the Gorilla is but obviously he`s not and Lionel Atwill plays the target of the Gorilla Walter Stevens who the Ritz Brothers are supposed to be protecting.Now I know that the Ritz Brothers are supposed to have better material (hopefully) but all I have to say after seeing this is they are no Abbott and Costello or There Stooges in this. and this is why; For one the humor they use in this movie is really dated, two unlike the Three Stooges you had three different distinguishable characters with the Ritz Brothers I couldn't tell one from the other they all look and acted the same, and then they used the same gags through the whole movie at first they were worth a chuckle but than it just got really boring and old. One of the funniest moments is actually when Lugosi`s character tells the maid Kitty to shut up, because she screamed the whole movie and then talked in a high pitched voice when she wasn't screaming her lungs out, its the way Lugosi said it its almost like he genuinely wanted her to shut up.
There were things I did like about this movie though, other than Lugosi and Atwill. I really liked the set design in this movie. It was your classic spooky old fashioned mansion set with your constant rain, thunder, and lightening going on outside the whole time. Which looked especially good in its Black and White Photography.
Sadly though I feel this movie feel short. Its not funny or scary and as far as it could be from a horror comedy like Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. Its also a very forgettable movie on top of it all and I really wouldn't recommend to anybody unless they are a Bela Lugosi fan maybe. There are just so many better horror/comedy's from the era like as i`ve mentioned already Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorres The Boogie Man Will Get You, and the super underrated Bela Lugosi movie One Body Too Many. So unless your really curious to see this movie and hey you might watch it and like it more than I did, otherwise go ahead and skip this one you wont be missing a thing.