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The Monster Walks (1932)

Passed | | Horror | 10 February 1932 (USA)
People in an old dark house on a stormy night are menaced by a killer ape.

Director:

(as Frank Strayer)

Writers:

(story), (adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Herbert Wilkes (as Sidney Bracy)
Willie Best ...
Exodus (as Sleep n' Eat)
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Storyline

A doctor, who keeps an ape for medical studies, dies and his daughter inherits his estate. Her uncle, a paralytic, working through his natural son by the housekeeper, plans her death, and the ape may or may not be involved. However, the plan does have a problem or two in its execution. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El monstruo asesino  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally refused a UK cinema certificate in 1932, and released uncut and PG rated in 2010. See more »

Quotes

[upon being informed that he'll sleep in the basement next to the ape's cage]
Exodus: Get me an umbrella and I'll sleep on the roof!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Kingdom of Shadows (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullaby
(uncredited)
Written by Johannes Brahms
Played on the violin as part of the plot
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User Reviews

 
A Racist Darwinian Tale Disguised as a Horror Mystery
13 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A wealthy man dies, causing his family and lawyer to reunite in his home and have his will be read. Who will get the money? While the natural answer would be his only child, daughter Ruth (Vera Reynolds), two factors make this a bit more complicated. First, a chimpanzee that has a violent streak and a dislike for Ruth. Second, the possibility that an illegitimate child may exist and be living in the house.

The actual plot of this film is not very exciting and you may have to work to keep your interest. Stories of an inheritance being fought over by family members is nothing unique, and for some reason stories with chimps and apes weren't particular rare in the first half of the 20th century. I'm not sure why -- there's nothing menacing about the ape in this picture. Nothing. There are a few plot devices I found clever (such as secret panels in the house), but overall this is child's play.

The acting is also, to put it politely, subpar. The lawyer, Herbert Wilkes (Sidney Bracey), was very hackneyed. Worst of all was Hanns, the maid's son. His mannerisms were exaggerated and he had a broken speech that didn't seem natural. Another reviewer commented that he may have been reading from cue cards, and I wouldn't be shocked. Sure, this was 1932 and America was going through a depression... but couldn't we afford better talent than this? (Believe it or not, just a few years after this film, the actor who played Hanns -- Mischa Auer -- was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He didn't win.) The only thing about this film that makes it maybe worth watching -- and I stress maybe -- is Willie Best, the actor who plays Exodus the manservant. There is a strong undercurrent of racism in this film that I cannot tell if it was meant to be intentional or not. Best (credited as "Sleep N Eat") talks and acts like a white supremacist's vision of the stereotypical black man. He mumbles, waves a gun around (even pointing it at himself) and generally seems highly unintelligent. The most memorable part of the film is when Exodus asks about the ape and the resident doctor explains that Darwin's theory states the ape is related to Exodus (said in such a way as to imply blacks are more closely related than whites). Rather than defend himself, Exodus says something to the effect of, "I had a grandpa that looked like that... but he wasn't as active." Wow.

Anyone into the classic black and white films might give this one a chance. It's alright once you get into it. But unless you have a really strong attention span (and this film is only an hour) I'd suggest you try something a little more lively. It's safe to say that if this film wasn't being distributed in copyright-free box sets, it would have faded into obscurity decades ago.


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