Friday, August 3, 2012

The Ape 1940

The Spanish Herald mini poster promoting The Ape in Spain !

The Ape 1940 

I thought it might be nice to revisit one of the classics in simian cinema, Monogram Pictures, The Ape, starring Boris Karloff.
This is a really touching film..Boris Karloff stars as a lonely country doctor, who has lost his wife and daughter to polio.
Doctor Adrian ( Karloff), is on a  guilt ridden search to find the cure, the result of a broken heart at having lost those he loved to this vile disease.
A young girl in town, (Maris Wrixon) also suffers from the dread disease, and Doctor Adrian is
  damned and determined not to let the disease take another innocent life. the key to the cure, he hypothesise, is the introduction of human spinal fluid into the spine of the patient.

The only drawback is the spinal fluid must be extracted from a live donor.
As luck would have it, this causes the donor to die, thereby cutting down the list of potential volunteers.
In a series of fortunate events, a traveling circus happens into the little town the good doctor lives in.
One of the exhibits is a huge gorilla,( Ray Corrigan).
The poor beast is horribly abused by his trainer.
Then one evening, after viciously flogging the crap out of the poor gorilla, the A-hole trainer makes the mistake of getting to close to the vengeful behemoths cage.
Then the gorilla does a little flogging of his own. (YAY !) 
One dropped cigar later, and the circus is now on fire, with part of the cage burned through, the ape
escapes into the night
The circus folk find the mangled body of the trainer, still somehow alive !
The trainer is taken to old Doc Adrian (Karloff) to try to save him.
The monkey did a thorough job of whipping his ass so the trainer's well on his way to a dirt nap.
Old Doc figures since the guy's on the way out, a donation to the spinal fluid bank won't hurt him any way.(since to extract it is always fatal.)
After getting the secret sauce, old Doc injects the young girl he's trying to cure and sees a glimmer of hope in the treatment.
Meanwhile, as Doc's returning to his office, the mean old gorilla has come sniffing for the trainer's scent.
As luck would have it, the trainers blood stained jacket is still in the office and old Magilla can smell it !
It breaks through the window scaring the hell out of the Doc!
But rather than run away, the old Doc busts a bottle of chloroform over the enraged critters snot locker !
Then when the monkey was two sheets to the wind, Doc jumps the monkey with a knife and stabs the hairy intruder though the heart, from behind.
Then , in a moment of mad inspiration, he skins it, and makes a costume out of it, and set out to get as much spinal fluid as he needs to cure that poor girl.
I do want to point out, that for the most part, Doc was taking it from local scumbags.( who probably deserved it)
I also want to say, that Docs motives were to help the girl, and by virtue, mankind as a whole through finding the polio cure.
This is polar opposite to Lugosi (in the Ape Man) killing for spinal fluid to cure his own selfish butt! ( after having messed him self up in the first place !)
But, back to the Karloff flick.
The Ape costarred Ray "Crash" Corrigan as both the real gorilla, and Doc Adrian in disguise.

This was necessary as Kaloff could barely stand in the heavy costume, much less move in it.
Karloff wore the suit for one scene only, as a reveal of the culprit.
This film marked the last time Ray's original gorilla costume ( Bonga) was ever used, as it was falling apart.
When the gorilla is looking through the windows of Docs office,
you can see the monkeys teeth through horizontal rips in the upper lip.

You can also see a steel wire sticking out from the lower lip that was part of the mechanism to make the mouth move.
After the Ape, Crash retired the old suit, and had a new suit constructed, that was even more menacing.
But at any rate, I like this little film, because it truly shows old Boris giving a heck of a performance as the painfully conflicted Dr. having to kill, to save lives.

See it here my, Mighty Monkey Movie Minions !
Have fun ! Have popcorn !


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