The Monster and the Girl (1941)

Article #210 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 10-12-2001
Posting date: 2-25-2002

A woman marries a man involved with gangsters who disappears after their wedding night. When her brother tries to locate him, he is framed for murder. A scientist puts his brain in the body of a gorilla.

The first half of this movie is a mess; it’s a complicated, confusing story about a woman who marries a gangster, and trying to sort out the characters is a pain; you really start wondering why it’s considered a horror movie. Had I seen only this part, I would have hated it. However, something very strange happens in the second half; once the brother’s brain is in the body of the gorilla, it becomes almost another movie and a memorable one at that. Part of the reason for the improvement is Charles Gemora, who gives what may well be the best performance ever by a man in a gorilla suit; his eyes actually express real emotion; you can see that the gorilla has a human brain. And the haunting shots of the gorilla hunting down his enemies by following his faithful dog through the streets of the city is a sight to behold. George Zucco (as the scientist who performs the brain transplant) is on only briefly and not given much to do; the emphasis is very much on the man in the gorilla suit in this one.

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